LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) - Manchester United fans on Wednesday paid muted respect to owner Malcolm Glazer, who has died aged 85, as deep resentment still lingers over his debt-ladened takeover.
United fans staged mass protests and burnt season ticket forms when the American finally took over the club in 2005. Disgruntled supporters even set up a new club, called F.C. United of Manchester.
A popular chant heard at F.C. United games looked forward to Mr Glazer's passing, and although attitudes softened as the Premier League giant enjoyed one of its most succesful spells, supporters remain angry about the club's finances.
Manchester United Supporters' Trust vice-chair Sean Bones said: "It would be inappropriate for me to make any comment about the death of Malcolm Glazer as I didn't know him or his family personally.
"However, as a supporter, I am aware of the detrimental effect the Glazers have had on the football club and the huge debt that has been placed on Manchester United.
"Malcolm Glazer wasn't a board member and his children are on the board, so I don't think that situation changes much." Fans took to club forums to call for a respectful reaction.
One user on fan site RedCafe wrote: "say what you will... but he presided over the most successful period in the clubs history", while another urged fellow supporters to "keep it sensible", saying the death was "bound to be a flashpoint for some fans." "I would hope most of our fans will be able to retain some level of civility, in spite of the general feeling towards what he and his family have done with regards to the clubs' finances," wrote one supporter, while another reflected on "a very strange year for our club."
Others highlighted to Mr Glazer's succesful partnership with legendary coach Alex Ferguson, who was able to carry out his job with little boardroom interference.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner had largely handed control of the club to his two sons, Joel and Avram, as his health deteriorated.
Despite winning five Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy during his reign, the club currently finds itself in desperate need of an overhaul after finishing seventh last season, the first without Ferguson.
Dutchman Louis van Gaal has been charged with reawakening the giant, and is expected to make sweeping changes to the playing staff.