Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes the club simply need a change of direction, rather than a change of ownership, as he responded to the fans’ mass anti-Glazer protest on Sunday.
United fans took to Old Trafford in huge numbers, forcing their Premier League contest with Liverpool — scheduled for a 4.30pm kick off on Sunday — to be postponed amid safety concerns.
Some protesters forced their way into the stadium and onto the pitch, while others blocked the United team bus outside their hotel, the Lowry, in the city centre.
Gary Neville and Roy Keane were among the ex United players who admitted they found it difficult to criticise the protesters, and supported the sentiment behind it.
United fans first demonstrated against the Glazer family in 2010 and recent discontent has bubbled back to the surface in the wake of Joel Glazer’s involvement in the (now scrapped) European Super League proposals.
But Schmeichel believes the ‘Glazers Out’ message isn’t likely to get through and says the supporters can action change in other ways, forcing a restructure rather than a complete change in the ownership.
He told CBS Sports: “It is easy to say that [‘Glazers out’]. But the club will be, I don’t know, three, four, five billion dollars? Who’s got that kind of money to buy the football club?
“If you look at potential buyers, are they going to make it much better? Is it going to be different. There are examples, but they never bought in at that price tag.
“I would much rather that we work with the Glazers, because I think there is a willingness within the family. Work with the Glazers to make this football club what this football club is supposed to be.
“I think everyone feels that the Glazer family is a little bit too detached from the club. They are there now and again, but they are not there every week. You never see Joel Glazer come out in front of the cameras and talk about the club, and I think that frustrates the fans a lot.
“We have this ownership, but from the outside, it looks like the owners don’t care, that it is just about money. I don’t think that’s completely the case.
“I think they are very proud of their ownership of Manchester United. I just think there is a need now for a restructuring of how it’s being operated.”
Schmeichel condemned a minority of United supporters who took the protest, in his view, too far on Sunday. But he urged the ‘true’ supporters to keep protesting in the right manner to force the hand of those at the top of the club.
He added: “I don’t think the die-hard fans were the ones inside the stadium. I think they are idiot, troublemakers. None of them will remember the good times. Some of them weren’t even born when the Glazers took over the club.
“The die-hard fans, the true fans, keep voicing your opinions. But keep it at a proper level. Don’t be stupid about it. Don’t demand something which is unrealistic. But keep up the pressure, keep up the ideas.
“What we’ve learned from the last two weeks is, if we stand together and we show our opposition to ideas that we don’t agree with, as a massive group, it does have an effect. I think football, not Manchester United, is at a crossroads now.
“There is this incredible opportunity now to change direction. Something that I think it has needed for a long, long, long time.”