May 16, 2021

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A “landmark moment in the game” – How the media saw protests at Man United vs. Liverpool – Liverpool FC


Violence by Man United supporters has been condemned but Sunday’s protests have been described as a ‘milestone’, with a warning sent to Liverpool owners.

As the afternoon progressed, it became increasingly clear that a vital Premier League game was not going to go as planned at Old Trafford.

The Liverpool and United teams stayed at their team hotels well past the scheduled kick-off time on Sunday, as protesters smashed barricades and took to the Manchester pitch.

Organized to show that patience was long gone with the owners of United, the scenes turned violent as fans clashed with the police, but there remained a primary message that the time had come for the Glazer family.

There is no confirmed postponed date for the date yet, but as the media assessed the situation, it was widely deemed more important that the message be delivered.

Here’s how the newspapers saw the events at Old Trafford and what will follow for clubs like United and Liverpool.

It is important to start by condemning the violence that has broken out …

Martin samuel, writing for the To post, criticized “those who betrayed the message”, but insisted that “there was nobility in the midst of the carnage”:

“Those who betrayed this message in favor of bloody combat and some entry-level theft and vandalism must be ignored and disowned. It was a little more serious than placing your self-enlarging selfie on top of the goal posts, or having it with the corner flag on it.

“It wasn’t about throwing a bottle at a police horse. There were nobility in the midst of the carnage. It was, potentially, the start of something special. It may not change the ownership of football clubs, but if successful, it will change the direction in which these clubs are moving. And if so, that is a game-changer as well.

“Pulls him out of the abyss. Save him from the dying imaginations of the super-rich. Manchester United and Liverpool wanted Project Big Picture – and now they have one.

the TimeHenry winter joined Samuel in a similar sentiment, first highlighting his disapproval of the actions of a number of fans in a post praising the initiative:

“The errant behavior of some United supporters outside the Lowry Hotel, where their team was staying before the scheduled game with Liverpool, and outside and inside Old Trafford, of course, requires the full response from civil authorities.

[…]

“But let’s also understand the cause of yesterday’s events.

“Those of us who regularly attended Old Trafford, who were there and have been telling the shameful story of the Glazers for 16 years, could observe the smoke from the flares and the fury of the fans, and see that the The enemy within is not intrusive fans but the obnoxious owners have locked themselves in Florida.

But the cause of United supporters was greeted almost unanimously …

the Independentof Miguel Delaney agreed that violence was not the answer, but argued that these protests – an extension of Super League opposition – could be a “landmark moment”:

“It is impossible to criticize the legitimacy of these demonstrations or their effect.

“They were almost unprecedented scenes. There has never been a game – let alone a game of this magnitude – postponed due to fan protests during the Premier League era.

“You could say this is the second most effective moment of fan activism in modern English football history after the demise of the Super League.

“Really, of course, it’s just a continuation of that same protest.

“That’s why this shot can truly prove a watershed moment in the game, in a way that’s totally unexpected, and which represents a classic case of unintended consequences.”

Andy Dunn of Mirror noted that even the prospect of sanctions against the club they love was not enough to quell a move that “came from the heart”:

“The club, which had to postpone a game once because a security firm had left a fake bomb in the toilet, knew these protests were taking place while still managing to allow hundreds of supporters to enter the stadium.

“These are just professionals in the lucrative league – it’s amateur time for everything else.

“If anyone is held responsible for this, it should be the people at the top of Manchester United Football Club, not those who protested.

“And if you want to know how these protests came from the heart, then consider how these United fans thought their cause was more important than the negative consequences for the club.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 2, 2021: Green smoke rises as the protest takes place at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, ahead of the FA Premier League game between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC.  (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

Soccer365 Matthew Stead described the case as “a warning that not everyone has heeded”:

“We decide when you play,” read the post on a banner outside Manchester United’s Carrington training complex just over a week ago. These words were not hollow. It was a warning that not everyone heeded.

“Many expected some sort of protest to provide pundits with a pre-game talking point or opening paragraph for newspaper reporters across the country. None envisioned this becoming history at the expense of the sport itself.

“But fans have been overlooked, taken for granted and treated like customers for too long. They have a collective voice and it’s louder than any of us could have imagined before.

And for some it served as a warning for others to come, perhaps for the Liverpool owners …

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday April 26, 2019: Liverpool owner John W. Henry before the FA Premier League game between Liverpool FC and Huddersfield Town AFC at Anfield.  (Photo by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

While the IndependentTony Evans believes the protests came “16 years too late”, he hopes it will “be the catalyst” for an uprising among fans:

“This should be the catalyst for a new phase of fan activism. The lesson to be learned from the Glazer takeover is that supporters fell silent too easily.

“Owners like United – and Liverpool – have come to believe that the opinions of those who fill their stadiums and bank accounts don’t matter.

“Old Trafford’s message is that people have a voice. Football would be foolish to ignore it. “

Henri has labeled it “a day in the form” since John W. Henry helped lead the plans for the Big Picture Project:

“It was a day in the making since October 11 last year, when Project Big Picture, a power grab led by the Glazers and John W Henry, equally aware of Liverpool’s money, confirmed the greed of many members of the elite.

And for the Echo of Liverpool, Paul Gorst described the protest as a warning to FSG for its role in a football “big hold-up”:

“That’s what happens when you plan a big heist of a game that so many people love.

[…]

“Overall, the point of the protest was valid.

“One that Liverpool fans themselves would surely have agreed with when they hooked up their televisions on Sunday afternoon.

“Fenway Sports Group will also have looked across the Atlantic with a little uneasiness.”