Delia Smith inspires Man Utd fans
Peter WalshManchester United fans unhappy with the financial situation the American business tycoon has left the club in have launched a green and gold protest at games which is based on the colours of United's predecessors Newton Heath.Peter Walsh
Manchester United fans unhappy with the financial situation the American business tycoon has left the club in have launched a green and gold protest at games which is based on the colours of United's predecessors Newton Heath.
The campaign has been gathering momentum over the past few weeks with thousands of supporters sporting the colours - which are not too dissimilar to Norwich City's green and yellow - in increasing numbers.
Beckham, who returned to Old Trafford as a player for the first time this week since leaving the club, picked up a scarf at the end of AC Milan's 7-2 aggregate defeat in the UEFA Champion's League match in what has been described as an 'iconic' moment for the protest.
But it is another iconic figure, who lives a little closer to home, that has been used as a 'recruiting agent' in the weeks prior to Beckham's intervention.
Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), which has organised the protests, has revealed that Delia Smith, celebrity chef and Norwich City joint majority shareholder has been used to rouse United fans into joining the protests.
Delia famously took to the Carrow Road pitch at half time during a Premiership clash with Manchester City in 2005 to issue an impassioned 'Let's Be Avin You' rallying cry to supporters' in the club's bid to beat the drop.
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And Mr Drasdo said it is that image which has adorned a number of internet sites used by fans of United to galvanise support for the protest movement.
He said: 'One of the things we've seen on sites is that image of Delia shouting Let's Be Having You. They've been using her as a recruiting agent for the campaign. It's a fantastic image.'
But it is not only Delia who has been helping the campaign. The green and gold scarves are being produced up in the North west, but protesters had considered turning to the Canaries' club shop for traditional-type scarves when they were struggling to meet demand.
Mr Drasdo said: 'People suggested going down to Norwich to see if we could buy any scarves up in bulk. The colours are slightly different but a lot of people have made the connection.
'When we started people thought what are all these Norwich City fans doing at Old Trafford. But it gets people talking and gets it spreading like a virus on the internet.'
It is believed fans wearing the green and gold scarves at Wembley where United met Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final last month, were taunted by supporters' of the Birmingham-based club with chants of 'Are you Norwich in disguise'.
Mr Drasdo said the green and gold protest, which was up to about 134,000 members, was growing by about 5,000 a day.
For more details about the campaign log onto www.joinmust.org
Has a Norwich celebrity come to your aid? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org