Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer spoke publicly for the first time in nearly 16 years at a fans forum on Friday as the family seek to alter their fragile relationship with the club’s supporters.
Fans made their position very clear in the build-up to United’s Premier League encounter with Liverpool in May, and it seems as though those protests have had value, as Glazer insisted there will be better representation for supporters going forward.
“I was pleased to join the fans forum to listen to the views of supporters, address their questions, and share ideas on how we can improve the way we work together,” he said.
“As owners, we want exactly the same thing as the fans – a successful team and a strong club – and we want to work in partnership to achieve those objectives.”
However, many are still dissatisfied with the lack of immediate action. Club legend Gary Neville has even urged the Glazers to take note of a five-point plan to help reconcile the poor relationship.
He tweeted: “My Fans Forum Comments: Should have committed to paying debt down over next 5 years.
“No dividends for 5 years. Minimum yearly investment into team for 5 years.
“Missed an opportunity to show a new OT and Training ground vision.
“More detail on fan share scheme required.”
My Fans Forum Comments
– should have committed to paying debt down over next 5 years
– no dividends for 5 years
– minimum yearly investment into team for 5 years
– missed an opportunity to show a new OT and Training ground vision
– more detail on fan share scheme required
— Gary Neville (@GNev2)
Often identified as a voice of reason, Neville has been outspoken over his criticism of the United ownership and was praised for justifying the protests witnessed at Old Trafford last month.
Although Glazer’s appearance suggests the family have heeded the message, the famous cliché ‘action speaks louder than words’ is a sentiment shared by most United fans.
“We want this club to always be successful and win trophies,” said Glazer. “To compete for trophies requires significant investment.
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“The commercial growth at the club has helped deliver the revenue which ultimately underpins that investment in a sustainable manner.
“That approach has allowed us to have among the highest net transfer spend in world football over the last five years and have one of the highest wage bills.”
His statement is undoubtedly a great cover story, but the fact of the matter is, this is only the beginning of a long road to recovery.