Manchester United fans stormed Old Trafford before the Premier League clash with Liverpool, which delayed the match and then postponed it, culminating in 16 years of anger at the Glaser family and their ownership of the club.
About 1,000 United fans had protested in front of Old Trafford last week, albeit without a game, mimicking similar protests in front of Anfield and Emirates Stadium as football fans rose up against their clubs to join the fast-paced European Super League.
Fan pressure had seen all six Premier League clubs planning to join ESL withdraw within days of its launch. But the issue, especially for both United and Arsenal, is much deeper than simply rejecting a concept designed to destroy the true spirit of the sport.
For the supporters of these two clubs, this was the last straw in transforming the general apathy and bad feeling towards the troubled owners, accused of personal gain at the expense of football achievements, in a fierce movement that would get rid of them completely.
In the days before the Liverpool match, about 10,000 fans were expected to gather in front of Old Trafford to continue listening to their feelings. Despite the heightened security presence, there have been reports of fears from the club that it could escalate if those involved see the opportunity to increase their spotlight by disrupting the game.
In the end, this is exactly what happened, as about 200 stormed the stadium and ran onto the field. Others closer to downtown Manchester blocked the team hotel.
UK Co-President Joel Glaser has apologized for trying to join ESL in his first public address to fans since 2005, when he made a statement on the takeover of his late father. Glaser vowed to regain the trust of the fans. But, as the annoyed Gary Neville observed during Sky Sports’s coverage of Liverpool’s game, it was not he or his family who ever had that trust in the first place.
There were huge protests against Glaser during the 2005 takeover, with some United fans even moving away to form a seceding Phoenix club, Manchester United from Manchester.
The protests peaked again in 2010 with the very visible movement of green and gold, inspired by the colors originally worn by Newton Heath in the late 1800s, before becoming Manchester United in 1902. During a specific game in The Champions League against Milan, David Beckham, then hired at the Serie A club, took and wore a green and gold scarf thrown from the stands.
The catalyst for the latest round of protests was the European Super League. But even with the ESL issue now in bed, and Ed Woodward insisting on behalf of United, they won’t be part of any plan to revive it, it looks like the start of the strongest anti-glaze movement to date.
As Sky Sports filled the time waiting to find out if Liverpool’s game would continue, scientist Graham Sunes couldn’t be more spectacularly wrong when he defended Glaser’s family and said United fans were protesting only over the lack of silverware in last years .
During the 2010 protests, United ruled the Premier League champions. They won the Champions League in 2008 and reached the final again in 2009. At the end of the 2009/10 season, they would finish just one point, shy of winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive English title and will continue to win a record 19th as overall in 2010/11, as well as reaching the third final of the Champions League in four years.
If these protests happened when United were winning trophies left, right and center, they have absolutely nothing to do with not winning trophies now.
The Glazers’ complete lack of communication with fans over the past 16 years has shown a shocking lack of respect. Malcolm Glaser, who died in 2014, never set foot in Manchester in his nine years as the main owner. Sons Joel and Abram have been spotted at games over the years, but stopped attending for a while in 2019, long before the coronavirus apologized for not doing so.
Criticism of Joel Glaser, in particular, has focused on his seemingly diminishing visibility with United, coinciding with an increase in the fortunes of NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl LV champions earlier this year, the family’s other sporting endeavor.
The beautiful United dividends paid into the family’s already prominent bank accounts are money made by the club, which is constantly being withdrawn, while the controversial nature of the takeover with a repurchased loan, which relied mainly on loans secured by United’s own assets as collateral, sunk a club that had no debt since 1936, hundreds of millions in red. Serving interest on this debt still makes money every year.
Although it continues to spend large sums on the transfer market, United have begun to rot from the inside out under Glazer’s ownership. Infrastructure standards have lagged behind those of rivals, and the roof of Old Trafford, which is leaking poorly, is perhaps most clearly illustrated by this.
At the same time, throughout the city, Manchester City has built a stunning center all around the Etihad Stadium, emphasizing the importance of investing and maintaining common infrastructure.
“If you think about the club they took in 2004, it had the best stadium in the country, one of the best in Europe, it had the best training ground in that country and maybe one of the best in Europe. “, Vocal critic Neville said on Sky Sports.
“There was a team that constantly reached the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the Champions League regularly and won the league every season or every other season.
“If you look at the club now, I know this stadium looks great here, but if you go behind the scenes, it’s rusty and rotten. If you look at the training ground, it’s probably not even the top five in this country, they haven’t reached the semifinals of the Champions League in 10 years.
“We haven’t won a league here at Manchester United for eight years. The land around the land is undeveloped, inactive and abandoned, while every other club seems to be developing the facilities and experience of the fans. “
United fans will not stand up for their club, which remains one of the richest in the world in terms of net income, as it is hampered by the people themselves, who should manage it to its full potential, as a sports club, not as a cow in cash. Glazers have experienced protests before, ignoring them, but the latest wave is the strongest so far and continuing to ignore may not be an option.
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