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Chickens, beach balls & an invasion of Camp Nou - 10 memorable fan protests

2:28 AM EDT 8/11/22
Man Utd fan protests 2021
Manchester United fans are planning to stay away from Old Trafford as their Glazer frustrations boil over

'We want Glazers out!'

#EmptyOldTrafford has been gathering momentum as frustrated Manchester United fans plan to boycott the Liverpool game in the latest show of anger at the club's American owners.

Only last season the club's supporters made headlines as they stormed Old Trafford prior to their Premier League clash with Jurgen Klopp's side.

That game was postponed as fans poured onto the pitch and even attempted to gain access to the dressing rooms, furious at their owners' attempts to join the breakaway European Super League project.

So, from chickens to beach balls and a bag full of manure, here's some of the most memorable fan protests we've ever seen...

  • Liverpool fan protest, 2016

    Protests at Anfield

    On February 6, 2016, during a Premier League between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield, the Reds fans staged a mass walkout in the 77th minute over the management’s plans to charge up to £77 ($112) for a ticket for the following season.

    Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) later issued an apology to the club’s supporters the ticket-pricing plan.

  • Borussia Dortmund Fans

    'Football must be affordable'

    Similar to the Liverpool fans’ protest, on February 9, 2016, during a DFB Pokal tie at Stuttgart, a section of Borussia Dortmund fans intentionally missed the first 20 minutes of the match in protest against increased ticket prices.

    The supporters staged the boycott after 25 per cent of tickets allocated to Dortmund for the quarter-final clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena were priced at €70 (£59/$72m), while the cheapest seats available cost €38.50 (£32.50/$39.80).

    Before the game a banner was placed in the section boycotted by fans, reading "fussball muss bezahlbarsein," which translates as "football must be affordable."

    Shortly after ending the boycott, Dortmund fans threw tennis balls onto the pitch, forcing the referee to briefly stop proceedings while the players cleared them off the field

  • David Moyes Manchester United

    Moyes Out!

    In 2014, a set of Manchester United fans came up with a bizarre idea for expressing their disapproval of then-manager David Moyes, who was struggling terribly to fill the void left by his predecessor, the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Before a Premier League clash with Aston Villa at Old Trafford, a banner reading 'Wrong One - Moyes Out' was flown over the stadium just as fans were settling into their seats.

    Minutes later, a second plane, chartered by a betting firm, also flew over Old Trafford carrying a banner which read: 'FERGIE BACK IN - 6/1'.

  • 2019-10-20 Ed Woodward

    Woodward Out!

    Similar to what was done during the Moyes era, disgruntled United fans arranged for a plane to fly a banner attacking the club's then-executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over Old Trafford ahead of the club's game against Liverpool in 2019.

    The United Way were behind the stunt, believing that the club had gone backwards under Woodward and prioritised commercial gains over sporting success.

  • Blackburn Rovers, protest

    Who let the chicken out?

    During Blackburn's must-win Premier League clash against Wigan Athletic, play was halted in the seventh minute after a chicken draped in club colours was seen on the pitch.

    The gesture was a protest against Blackburn’s owners, the India-based chicken meat processors Venky’s Group, and then-manager Steve Kean.

    The man responsible for the chicken run was later revealed as Anthony Taylor, who, like other Rovers faithful, had been calling for Venky's and Kean to walk away from the club since the season before.

  • Blackpool fans

    Pitch encroachment

    Blackpool fans staged a pitch invasion during the club’s final Championship game of the 2014-15 season against Huddersfield to demonstrate their frustration with the way in which chairman Karl Oyston’s running of the club.

    With the game still scoreless, they raced onto the field at Bloomfield Road and settle in the centre circle. The fans also set off flares and attempts to persuade the disgruntled fans to end their protest fells on deaf ears, meaning referee Mick Russell had little option but to abandon the fixture after a delay of well over an hour.

  • Lazio fans Lotito

    Bags full of manure!

    Perhaps the most unique form of fan protest came courtesy of Lazio loyalists during the 2015-16 season, when some of their fans dumped 10 bags of manure outside the club’s training ground with a message, “You want to make us drown in sh*t. But first we want to make you eat it.”

    Club president Claudio Lotito was the target of the supporters' ire, as they believed him responsible for a winless run of six games featuring five defeats.

  • Everton fan, Louis McKechnie

    Tied to a post!

    Play was brought to a halt during Everton and Newcastle's Premier League match in March 2022 after a protester named Louis McKechnie tied himself to a goalpost.

    The 21-year-old Everton fan entered the field shortly after the half-time interval at Goodison Park and fastened himself to the woodwork.

    He was sporting a shirt emblazoned with the slogan 'Just Stop Oil', a protest group he had posted a pre-prepared statement in support of on social media.

    It took eight minutes before ground staff and security managed to remove McKechnie from the field so that the game could continue.

  • Charlton Athletic The Valley

    Beach balls on a football pitch!

    Charlton Athletic supporters briefly disrupted their club’s Championship tie against Middlesbrough in 2016 by throwing black-and-white beach balls into the pitch as a mark of protest against the owners.

    Before the game, the fans had also conducted a mock funeral to lament the death of their beloved club.

  • Bartomeu, Catalan Barcelona fans

    Invasion of Camp Nou!

    In August 2020, Barcelona fans stormed Camp Nou in protest against then-club president Josep Bartomeu and his board. The fans demanded that the entire administration step down.

    There were several reasons for the fans’ outrage, one of which was on-field results, with the Blaugrana having suffered a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the previous season's Champions League.

    However, the main reason they were outraged was the news that club legend Lionel Messi wanted to leave the club after falling out with Bartomeu.

    Bartomeu did resign later that year as the president of the club but Messi departed at the end of the 2020-21 season to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as the scale of the club's financial problems became painfully clear.