Manchester United have ordered a couple to stop selling their “terrible” football stickers in a copyright row.
Alex and Sian Pratchett sell “wonky drawings” of footballers as Panini Cheapskates and have raised around £12,000 for charity in the process.
The “artistically challenged” couple went viral for their homemade stickers during the 2014 World Cup and described their business as a “cost-saving exercise gone wrong”.
Designs currently sell on Etsy for £11 each, but the Manchester United collection has been withdrawn immediately following a complaint over infringement of “intellectual property rights”.
Former star players such as Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic were featured as purported characters in the collection.
They have now issued a hilarious response by launching a new “Man Red” print featuring player names such as “Ray Wooney”, “Daffyd Peckham” and “Crust Arnold Ratnaldo”.
They wrote on Twitter: “Hi Man Utd is this okay?
“Our *new* MAN RED print is now available, featuring 36 entirely fictitious footballers from an unnamed northern club who play in red. We’ve made 50 of these.
“ALL profits from this first 50 go to Cancer Research UK.”
They have since revealed the items quickly sold out and they plan on making more soon.
On Saturday they revealed: “Sad times. Man Utd got in touch and made us stop selling our wonky drawings of their ex-players. If you’ve ordered one, we’ll be in touch.
“Though on the plus side, learned a lot about EU trademark directives this morning.”
United have been branded as “killjoys” on social media, with one fan saying they are “making it hard to be a fan of the club”.
Another follower stated that they “now dislike the people that run Man Utd a little more than I already did”, with others branding them a “joke” for their response.
A Manchester United spokesperson, however, said: “Permission to use Manchester United’s intellectual property is only granted to official licensees, partners and sponsors of the club.
“Because Panini Cheapskate’s items featured the Manchester United word mark, they unfortunately infringed those intellectual property rights.”
The Pratchetts have produced items for numerous club sides and are now hoping to branch into international teams in the future.