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Monday, September 14, 1998 Published at 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK

Sport: Football

United fans drum up rock star support

Roger Taylor - backs supporters vowing to beat the BSkyB bid

Roger Taylor of Queen is the rock star behind attempts by Manchester United fans to mobilise opposition to Sky TV's proposed takeover plan.

He has donated £10,000 to the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, who hope to see the BSkyB deal bite the dust.

The money will help them find a headquarters for their campaign and pay for a rally at Bridgewater Hall in the city on Tuesday.

It is hoped up to 2,000 supporters will attend the meeting.

The United board has accepted a £623.4m bid from BSkyB, who are owned by Rupert Murdoch.

But Taylor is urging others to come forward to help "the grass-roots fans hold onto the club they love".

He said: "I heard on the news that IMUSA desperately needed the means to mobilise its opposition to the mighty Goliath. As I was in a position to help I felt compelled to do so."

Taylor, whose son Rufus is a United fan, is also planning to include a song called 'Dear Mr Murdoch' on a forthcoming solo single.

IMUSA spokesman Lee Hodgkiss said the donation had given them a huge lift.

He added: "We didn't know Roger Taylor was a United fan and to be honest, we're not sure if he is. But he is obviously concerned for the ordinary football supporter.

"We have always made the point that this is not just an issue that affects Manchester United, but all fans, regardless of who they support."

Whether IMUSA can attract enough backing to drive BSkyB bosses ga-ga remains to be seen.

But the club has many wealthy supporters, including celebrities like Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and BBC Radio One breakfast show host Zoe Ball.

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