Graeme Souness believes the anger of Man United fans is “slightly misdirected” towards the Glazer family. Roy Keane and Micah Richards are nicer.
Graeme Souness believes the Glazer family have “the right” to retain ownership of Manchester United if they wish.
The Glazer family have come under immense fan pressure to end their unpopular 16-year-old Manchester United patronage, with their role in designing the collapsed European Super League proving to be the straw that shattered the camel’s back.
Fans staged protests outside the Carrington and Old Trafford club training grounds in the weeks that followed, culminating in thousands of people gather on Old Trafford Sunday and delay the kick-off of the scheduled game against fierce rivals Liverpool.
Gary Neville responded to the protests by calling on the Glazers to sell the club, but Liverpool legend Souness doesn’t expect anything to change.
He was asked if he thinks the protests will have an impact, Souness said Sky Sports: “No, I don’t think it will.
“The Glazers, since Fergie retired, have given successive managers over £ 1 billion to spend. I think it’s £ 719million in net spending over eight years.
“I think it was born out of the fact that Man United are not as much of the top dog as what happened last week. I think that was another excuse to try them.
“They are serious and serious business people. I don’t think it will impact their thoughts one iota. I really do not know.
His colleague Micah Richards offered his support to the supporters.
“It’s never pleasant, is it?” he said. “We’ve talked about it so much now and you feel for the fans because after the year they’ve been with Covid, trying to take away the Crown Jewels is never good. They have gone to breaking point.
“I think the guys mentioned it, it was peaceful. No one was really causing too much trouble. And that hurts.
“The good thing about it is that the fans still have a voice. A lot of people say, “Well, the fans don’t have a voice anymore.” They have. We’re supposed to start in 20 minutes. It does not happen.
“So as long as it is done in a peaceful and correct manner, I support the fans in their protest.”
Souness didn’t back down.
“We live in a country where you can protest,” he said, “you can express your feelings. You are allowed to do this. But I still don’t see it having a little impact on the Glazers.
“If you think they can put pressure on serious businessmen 3,000 miles across the Atlantic it will push them to accept a discounted offer for Man United, it won’t happen . “
Roy Keane then intervened.
“I think this is the start,” he says. “I think they won’t be too careful…”
Souness then asked, “How can you move it forward?”
Richards offered his answer.
“Why do you have to tear the life and soul from a club that has such a history?” If they want to make money, you can go and make money elsewhere, ”he said.
Souness continued: “They are not ripping the life and soul away from Manchester United.
“They pay themselves a dividend, which business people have… if they want to put money into it, they’re going to have to put in guarantees. You don’t just go to a bank and say, buy Man United, I need £ 500million or whatever it costs, “without pledging some sort of collateral.” They risked something to buy Man United.
“Since then, they have given successive managers fortunes to spend. It was only when Fergie stopped that the success stopped and I think that irritates the fans. They have become the center of their anger.
“I think it’s slightly misguided. Based on what happened last week and trying to form the Super League, it certainly makes their aggressiveness and unhappiness with them worse. But I wouldn’t take the blame for Man United’s lack of success over the Glazers.
“I come back to it: there were no complaints when they won everything and they were in charge. Well, a few complaints. But in recent years, because they’ve gone from number one team in UK and English football, they’ve fallen below and I think that irritates the fans.
Keane, Manchester United captain when the Glazers completed their takeover over ten and a half years ago, said: “There has always been rumbling, Graeme.
“There has always been an underlying current of discontent with the Glazers and I think it has just dissipated in recent weeks. But it was there.
“The Glazers, they could sell United tomorrow and make a fortune. Obviously… “
“But if they don’t want it, they have a right to it,” Souness interjected. “It’s their football club.”
“Yeah, sure,” Keane replied. “But if United fans want them out, this is just the start.”
Richards continued his side of the argument.
“But when you buy a club, Graeme, surely you have to understand what their views are,” he said.
“I know this is business, we all want to make money, of course we do. But when you buy a club like Man United, surely fans should be part of that conversation as well, not just thinking, ‘How can I line my pockets? ”.
“The point is, they don’t care about the fans. That’s the whole problem, ”Keane added, before Souness ended the discussion.
“They bought the club,” he said. “They weren’t ‘football’ people. It is an institution. It is one of the great football institutions in the world. They knew what they were buying. They knew no matter how well the team performed there, they would always have a fan base that is second to none in world football, so it was a wonderful chance to buy this football club and create some investment. They made a lot of money out of it. How about if they risked something the first day?
“They’ve obviously made improvements: the stadium, the sales department, the success they’ve had, which goes back to Fergie.
“As far as what they think of the fans, I think they have proven that in trying to form a Super League, it’s not a lot. What they are saying is that they are taking home fans for granted, the new Asian market. Let’s target it. “