May 14, 2021

Man Utd

News

Man United fans have found an unlikely ally from Liverpool in Glazers revolt

4 min read

By their very definition and job description, football pundits are there to contest different sides of the coin.

The events which unfolded at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon were, as one unlikely supporter of Manchester United put it, nuanced like nothing we see on a week-to-week basis in the Premier League.

In the eyes of United fans, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher – usually a thorn in their side – has assumed his role as a temporary ‘rose’ in this situation, along with Gary Neville and Roy Keane.

As the Old Trafford protests unfolded, opinions and stand-points may have shifted depending on what news source we consumed, or which pundit’s voice we were exposed to.

Ultimately, though, the message from supporters remained the same.

Neville and Keane were particularly passionate in their defence of the fans who adored them during their hugely successful playing careers at the club.

Winners of countless Premier League titles between them, they have both proudly donned the captain’s armband at United. In simple terms, they just get it.

The same, though, cannot be said for Graeme Souness and Alan Shearer, two of the more discerning voices when it came to addressing the scenes which overshadowed, and forced the postponement of the biggest game in English football.

Once again to paraphrase Carragher, they just didn’t get their facts…

Souness – another man with unbreakable Liverpool connections, of course – was unable to look past that divide as he claimed protests were ‘born out of United not being top dogs anymore’.

Match of the Day pundit Shearer, meanwhile, hinted that supporters had ‘overstepped the mark’.

Of course, and even the most fierce anti-Glazer demonstrator out there would agree with this, there is no place for violence in such circumstances. However, that – as it so often is – was down to an extremely small minority.

Resistance to the Glazer family regime is long-running.

This has not derived from their part in the now-shelved European Super League (ESL) breakaway proposals. This is not down to the fact United have not won a Premier League title since legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. This is much, much bigger.

No sooner than the Glazers had acquired a majority share at Old Trafford, a new club – FC United of Manchester – was founded in 2005 and was formed in the spirit and embodiment of what it means to be a United fan, which they argued had been wrestled away by the much-maligned American owners.

A second Champions League triumph under Ferguson – and two more near-misses – followed before the Scot called time on his record-breaking tenure with a 13th Premier League trophy in the bag; five of which came under the Glazers.

To reiterate, this is not about on-field matters.

It’s been a hugely difficult time for football fans in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indeed, not only have they been denied an unparalleled release of watching their clubs on a Saturday afternoon, a Monday night, a Wednesday evening – or whenever it may be – they have been threatened with the very future of football as we know it.

While those shelved ESL reform plans were not the cause of these protests, they were a stark reminder and even a tipping point for anti-Glazer demonstrations to re-emerge.

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Given the social restrictions brought about by the pandemic, that hasn’t been straightforward.

Stand-offs at Carrington and Elland Road were ramped up further still on Sunday afternoon as supporters gathered to storm Old Trafford. If they weren’t already aware, this is the biggest indication yet as to how the American family are viewed by the United fan-base.

The voice of those supporters was boosted by an unlikely ‘hero’ in Carragher on Monday night.

In due course, and even he will expect this, the former Liverpool man will be cast as a pantomime villain yet again during his back and forth with Neville.

Ultimately, though, at a time when allegiances have been shelved for the greater good of the game as we know it, his comments highlighted which ‘experts’ get it and which ones don’t.

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