Jamie Carragher has taken aim at fellow pundits who suggested Manchester United supporters only stormed Old Trafford as a means of hitting out at their on-field ‘struggles’.
Following widespread backlash to the club’s involvement in now-shelved European Super League (ESL) breakaway proposals, protests against the Glazers have resurfaced, culminating in the scenes which quite literally spilled over on to the pitch on Sunday afternoon.
Opposition to the Glazer regime has been long-standing – resulting in several resistance movements against the US billionaires, including the formation of FC United of Manchester 2005 and the Green and Gold movement in 2010.
Speaking about Sunday’s demonstrations in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, former Liverpool defender Carragher pointed to those instances – and referenced several other examples – when hitting out at some of his ‘lazy’ contemporaries.
Graeme Souness attracted criticism for his stance on the protest on Sunday and was among the uninformed pundits who suggested United’s on-field struggles in recent years were the real reason behind the protest. “I think it’s born out of United not being top dogs as much as what happened last week,” Souness said. “It’s only since Fergie stopped that the success has stopped and I think that irritates supporters and they have become the focus of their anger. I think it’s slightly misdirected.”
In a passionate on-air rant during Monday Night Football, Carragher said: “I really want to get this message across. This is not the European Super League for me. When we had the six clubs, we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago, the supporters who really felt this more and marched on stadiums are Manchester United and Arsenal – that’s because they had a huge problem with their owners before this.
“This was the tipping point. Other supporters are very angry with their owners, but don’t necessarily want them out. I think it’s different for these two clubs, because of that.
“I think we have got to get away from that (the ESL). I’ve listened to a lot this morning and I watched other things. I’ve got no problem with people having a different point of view or a different opinion from me, because it’s nuanced what happened yesterday. But get the facts. Please, when you are going to talk about this, know what’s going on.”
Carragher added: “This talk of Manchester United fans only doing this because they are not challenging for the top honours… Supporters formed another club – FC United. That was at the height of this when it started.
“The green and gold campaign was in 2010, I think, when David Beckham came back to the club. The year before that, they were in the Champions League final. The year after they were in the Champions League final. So let’s not… lazy punditry. That’s what I call it.
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“If you’re going to speak about something and you’re going to speak about something passionately – and you can have your opinion – back it up with the facts.
“This is nothing to do with where Manchester United are in the league. Yes, there’s been a decline, obviously, but this campaign has been going on for a long, long time, from when Manchester United were very, very successful.
“So let’s not accuse Manchester United fans of just throwing the toys out the pram because they’re not competing with [Manchester] City or in the Champions League, whatever it may be. That is absolute nonsense.”