Man Utd Supporters Trust ready to ramp up campaigning

The Manchester United Supporters Trust, the voluntary organisation looking to force a change of ownership at the Premier League club, is considering taking out press ads to support its direct marketing drive as it looks to increase membership and donations.

The trust has already launched a digital campaign created by Blue State Digital, the agency behind President Obama’s 2008 digital election drive, and is behind a direct mail campaign to build support among fans.

Its members are angry about the way current owners the Glazer family have managed the club and the £700m debt with which it has been saddled.

Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust, says that it could ask members for donations and consider full-page press ads to make “a big statement” and attract more free media exposure for the campaign.

The trust is currently co-ordinating efforts to send out letters signed by thousands of group members to former Manchester United stars such as Eric Cantona asking them to back its campaign.

The fans’ organisation is working closely with the Red Knights, the group of City financers looking to take control of the club.

The group, which is thought to include Richard Hytner, deputy chairman worldwide at Saatchi & Saatchi, last week confirmed that investment bank Nomura would act as an advisor.

The Japanese finance house will work with the Red Knights, the supporters trust and other potential investors to “co-ordinate and formulate the proposal” to be put to the Glazer family.

Manchester United has dropped from second to third place in Deloitte’s Football Money League with earnings of £278.5m. It was leapfrogged by Barcelona, while top-placed Real Madrid has become the first club in any sport to generate revenues in excess of £362m (€400m) a year.

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