May 13, 2021

Man Utd

News

Joel Glazer must realise he can no longer treat Man United fans with contempt

3 min read

For Joel Glazer, the clock is ticking. Emboldened by the success of Sunday’s protest against the owners and feeling momentum is firmly behind them, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have sent their message across the Atlantic and it is loud and clear.

After outlining their four-point plan to move forward after the astonishing scenes outside Old Trafford and The Lowry, MUST set a deadline for United’s co-chairman to respond: Friday.

The message is clear for Joel Glazer and his siblings back in Florida. You can no longer ignore us, to do so will risk more protests and more disruption after the fans forced the postponement of the biggest game in the Premier League calendar on Sunday. No longer can these fans be underestimated.

Those protests were 16 years in the making, the European Super League was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back. But so much of it comes back not just to the way the Glazers have run the club, but the ignorance they’ve shown to supporters and the way they’ve treated them, with contempt.

Joel Glazer might have thought a mea culpa a day after United had beat a hasty retreat from the ESL would do the job, but he was wrong. Those words on the club website only made matters worse, due to the ignorance they showed about how supporters actually felt.

Glazer’s words about “rebuilding trust” with fans and realising “we need to better communicate with you” are empty promises that fans have heard before. To try and pull the wool over the eyes of United fans once again suggests they actually think those Old Trafford regulars are stupid.

On Sunday they showed that was very much not the case. This was a protest that outfoxed the might of Manchester United and Greater Manchester Police. It was a triumph for fan power.

The protest has placed the ball firmly back in the Glazers’ court. While there were plenty of fans outside Old Trafford who want to see the back of them once and for all, the MUST statement is probably acknowledgment that that remains unlikely. Arguably the most important issue even before a sale is considered is getting fan representation on the board and pushing for legislation that empowers fans.

So the letter that MUST directed to Joel Glazer yesterday is an olive branch. There may be some who feel it’s an olive branch they don’t deserve, but it’s now imperative they take it.

It certainly feels like the next few days are vital. The Glazers have spent 16 years ignoring Manchester United fans, but on Sunday they must have realised they can ignore them no longer.

The question now is whether that is enough to bring them to the table. Does the threat of more disruption and their cash cow being paused result in them changing the habit of their ownership and actually communicating with United fans, rather than just paying lip service to the idea?

Let’s not hold our breath. They’ve communicated directly with United fans twice in 16 years, so while the MUST deadline for a response is Friday, currently Joel Glazer would be rescheduled to respond in 2029.


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But the picture has undoubtedly changed now. The fans have momentum and it feels like change is coming, whether the Glazers want it or not.

That’s why Sunday’s protest will be marked as a success for United fans. There may have been some who just wanted to stand outside the ground, sing a few songs, wave a few banners and leave, but the Glazers have laughed at that kind of action over the last 16 years.

They’re not laughing any longer. This is what you get when you treat fans of the club you own like your own personal cash machine, when you talk to them as if they’re idiots. Eventually, their patience will snap. That happened on Sunday and now the next step is down to Joel Glazer. The clock is ticking.

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