May 15, 2021

Man Utd

News

Owners of Man Utd and Man City have betrayed fans and should never be forgiven

5 min read

The hurdles in front of a European Super League may still make the odds against a ball ever being kicked in the name of this tawdry money grab, but the owners of Manchester United and Manchester City must make no mistake: What you have done here will never be forgotten – and never forgiven.

There seems to be some confusion amongst the Glazer family and Sheikh Mansour in Abu Dhabi as to who really owns these football clubs, proud institutions that were here before they arrived and will be here long after they’ve gone, when people will attempt to clear up the mess they have made.

United and City belong to the fans, not the greedy capitalists from America and the Abu Dhabi ownership who fought against the elite only to cosy up under the satin bed sheets with them as soon as they were given a nudge and a wink. You are only passing through two of Manchester’s proudest institutions.

Whatever has come before and whatever comes next, it is this European Super League fiasco – that no true fan wants to happen – that these owners will be remembered for. It is a stain on their name and shows what they really think of supporters who pay to watch the club they are custodians off. Absolutely nothing.

The preposterous greed on show from the Glazers and the brass neck from Joel Glazer to claim this is to offer “increased financial support for the wider football pyramid” is not in the least bit surprising, but City’s fans thought their owners were different. In quoting Glazer but remaining silent themselves on their website they’ve shown their true colours. Even if you can beat them, why not join them?

Sheikh Mansour’s ownership has done plenty of good for City as a club and for the city of Manchester, but this will sully almost all of that footballing success. Under Pep Guardiola they have strived to win the Champions League, it is missing the jewel in the crown. The irony is that that looks closer than ever this year, but a City triumph in Istanbul in May will be all but worthless. The European Super League will destroy the Champions League as we know it. Perhaps Guardiola should have rotated for the tie with Borussia Dortmund in a competition the Blues are trying to render meaningless, rather than against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

At least City’s social media team were still alert just after midnight, quickly deleting a scheduled tweet that showcased highlights from their win in Dortmund last week, in what was then a hugely popular and exciting continental competition.

A Super League is simply about the biggest teams playing each other more often and for the likes of United, Tottenham and Arsenal, they feel a closed shop is the only way to achieve that, covering up their inadequacies on the pitch. United had the chance to play in more meaningful games this season, but they fluffed their lines in the Champions League group stage. If you can’t beat Istanbul Basaksehir then how about you just get rid of them instead?

Joel Glazer hasn’t attended a United game since they played Barcelona in the spring of 2019. He is hardly ever seen at Old Trafford and has communicated with supporters once in 16 years until putting his name to a proposal that has united football fans across the country in anger.

These clubs will be thankful games are currently being played behind closed doors and they might be a little nervous at the prospect of 10,000 supporters returning for the final home games of the season. Even 10,000 fans could make their feelings clear about the grubby little Super League.

It is the supporters who are being taken for granted here. It’s no coincidence these plans have accelerated during a global pandemic when their voice has been quieter than ever thanks to their absence from stadiums. It’s given the richest clubs the chance to operate in a vacuum consumed only by their own thoughts, without the requirement to answer to the Mancunians who stump on £100 on a day out to see their team play every other week. Sorry guys, this league isn’t really for you.

When United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke to a fans forum last November he discussed the doomed Project Big Picture proposals, as well as potential Champions League reforms, and he told those Old Trafford regulars not to worry. He had your back, Ed’s always got your back. Now he’s plunged the knife into it.

“What I can assure you of is that we will keep match-going fans firmly in the centre of thoughts, whether with the Premier League, ECA or UEFA, and across our decision-making processes overall, because the past eight months has reminded us all of just how crucial you are to the fabric of the game. This game without fans is nothing,” he said.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so insulting.

The coming weeks and months will bring an awful lot more posturing. Threats of court battles, expulsions from competitions and much, much more. But if the first few hours of the Super League are anything to go by, it’s clear that Glazer, Woodward, Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak and the rest of the plotters plan to remain silent. They know they can’t explain this to their fans, so why bother trying?

Instead, it was down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to try and answer questions about it on Sunday, just as Pep Guardiola will be placed in the same unenviable position at his press conference on Tuesday. A penny for the true thoughts of the managers and players at these clubs, who value the yearly brilliance of the Champions League. We know how much Guardiola wants to win it for City and how he cherished his European victories with Barcelona.

While United’s only communication on the Super League was to copy and paste the official statement late on Sunday night, it was left to 79-year-old Sir Alex Ferguson, who still sits in the directors’ box every week, to break ranks and offer up an honest opinion. That should tell you all you need to know about these plans and the plotters behind them. As gutless as they are greedy.

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