Ashley Young has sympathised with the angry Manchester United supporters who stormed Old Trafford on Sunday to protest the club’s Glazer owners.
A number of protesters forced their way into the iconic ground while smoke bombs and flares were set off on the pitch and outside the stadium in the build up to the Red Devils’ Premier League clash with Liverpool.
The peaceful demonstration was marred by violent clashes with police, while another group tried to prevent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s squad leaving the Lowry Hotel.
Ashley Young has sympathised with the Manchester United fans who stormed Old Trafford
Young says United fans’ anger for owners Avram (left) and Joel Glazer (right) ‘goes back years’
Footage later emerged of cars being tipped over in the city, while even the Sky Sports punditry crew were targeted inside the ground. The Premier League encounter was supposed to kick off at 4:30pm but, after an hour of confusion, it was called off.
United fans’ long-running discontent with the Glazers boiled over after their cynical plot to join the European Super League collapsed two weeks ago, leading to protests at the weekend.
However, former United captain Young, who made 261 appearances for the club from 2011-20, insists the club’s fanbase have long been unhappy with the Glazers’ 16-year reign and Sunday’s events were not just a result of the failed Super League plot.
‘A lot was said about it happening because of the Super League, but I know United fans and that’s not just what it was,’ Young told Sky Sports.
Supporters broke into the ground to protest at how the Glazer brothers are running the club
United fans forced their way into Old Trafford, leading to the Liverpool match to be postponed
‘This is going back years and years with the owners, and the fans want to make their point. Obviously, you don’t want to see a protest getting violent, you just want to see a protest where [the owners] are aware and that they understand the anger the fans have got about things that have gone on in the past.
‘It’s not right to see the violence in it, but the protesting is something the fans wanted to do and they wanted to have their voices heard.
‘I don’t think I’ll comment too much about it, but maybe for the owners they’ll see what the fans are saying, they’ll see that anger and they’ll see how upset they are.
‘United fans have been asking for change for a long while, so maybe we’ll see changes, maybe we won’t. I think there’s a lot of things in football that need to be addressed and that is one of them.’
Supporters had also gathered outside the Lowry Hotel before police cleared them away
Police were forced to push back to clear the Old Trafford concourse, leaving behind a mess
United’s co-chairman Avram Glazer refused to apologise to United fans on Tuesday for attempting to join the breakaway Super League.
However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed on Wednesday that the loathed owners have apologised to him personally over the fallout of the failed Super League.
Solskjaer condemned the violence that caused Sunday’s game against Liverpool to be called off, saying that protesters had gone ‘a step too far’.
But he insisted that the American owners are committed to improving their communication with fans to build bridges in future.
Speaking for the first time since six police officers were injured when an anti-Glazer demonstration turned ugly, Solskjaer said: ‘I’ve been communicating with the owners and I’ve got an apology personally.
‘They’ve all accepted it came out wrong and it was the wrong thing to do.
‘You don’t have to rocket scientist to see that things have been difficult and have to be dealt with.
Avram Glazer (pictured) refused to apologise to United fans on Tuesday after being tracked down at his Palm Beach home following the botched European Super League plans
‘It’s a difficult position for me to be in, I’ve got to focus on football but I’ve got a good relationship with them and they listen to me. They listen to the fans and I’m sure there will be communication coming.
‘We are discussing with the fans and communicating with fans groups which is going to be massive going forward.
‘The players have done terrific to be where they are, and I would be sad if all the good work they’ve done is disrupted.
‘Of course, it has be a united football club. To make things grow you need to give it some patience as well. I’m hopeful that in time we can united and come together. Friction and challenges are good sometimes and move things forward.
‘I’ve had backing, I’ve been put in charge and I’m responsible for results. I know the fans want a team that is playing attacking football and winning trophies so that they can identify with them.’
The Norwegian also confirmed Sportsmail’s story that a drunken supporter had even got into the first-team dressing-room where nine back-room staff were preparing for the Liverpool match.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he has received an apology from the under-fire owners the Glazers (left – Joel, right – Avram)
‘It was a difficult day for us,’ he added. ‘Of course we wanted to play and beat Liverpool.
‘We have to listen and hear the fans’ voice. Everyone’s right to protest but has to be in civilised manner.
‘Unfortunately when you break in and police officers get injured that’s one step too far. When it gets out of hand like this it’s a police matter not about showing opinions anymore.
‘The right to protest peacefully, everyone has a human right to be heard, but when you step out of line and break in dressing rooms, that’s one step too far when it becomes a police matter.’