More than a thousand Manchester United fans have gathered outside Old Trafford to protest against the club’s American owners, the Glazer family, for their role in the rebel European Super League plans.
Joel Glazer was heavily involved with the hugely controversial and almost universally unpopular breakaway competition and was set to be a vice-chairman for the league, along with Liverpool owner John W. Henry.
And United supporters have followed on from the example of demonstrating Arsenal fans and Liverpool fans protesting on Saturday by taking to the streets and vocally demanding a change of ownership.
Manchester United fans have gathered outside Old Trafford to protest against the club owners
Supporters are protesting publicly against the club’s American owners, the Glazer family
Brothers Joel and Avram Glazer co-own Manchester United and are the target of fan frustration
Joel Glazer was instrumental in the proposals for a hugely unpopular European Super League
Fans reacted angrily to the potential breakaway competition, which has now been scrapped
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (left) has announced he will resign at the end of 2021
Fans chanted ‘F*** off Glazers’, set off flares and smoke bombs, unfurled anti-Glazer banners and wore scarves with ‘#GlazersOut’ emblazoned on them.
Many have climbed up onto the ‘Holy Trinity’, a trio of statues depicting club icons George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton, and have put scarves around the players’ necks.
Much of the protest is characterised by green and gold colours, harking back to the kit colours of Newton Heath, the club founded in 1878 which later became Manchester United.
Supporters have previously worn green and gold scarves and kit in protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club.
More than a thousand fans set off flares and smoke bombs, chanting against the Glazer family
Many banners are green and gold in reference to Newton Heath, the club founded in 1878
Fans climbed on the ‘Holy Trinity’ statues of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton
One banner called the Glazers ‘greedy’ and ‘selfish’ and demanded they leave the Red Devils
There is said to be a limited police presence, with a riot van parked close to the ground to keep an eye on things.
The Glazers are not generally popular among United fans, but their role in the European Super League, widely seen as a money and power grab, has brought relations to an all-time low.
Two of the original Red Knights consortium who unsuccessfully tried to oust the Glazers from power more than a decade ago have urged the American owners to give up their controlling interest in the club.
Moreover following the resignation of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who is set to leave later this year, fans are keen to see the Glazers axed in the same way.
Manchester United supporters stormed the club’s training ground, Carrington, on Thursday
The supporters – pictured here by the first-team pitch – held banners saying ‘Glazers Out’
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was greeted by security guards at Carrington the following day
But just days after Joel Glazer admitted the owners needed to ‘better communicate’ with fans, his brother Avram has reportedly refused to apologise to fans over the European Super League saga.
Fans stormed the club’s training ground on Thursday, with a group of around 20 of the self-styled ‘Men in Black’ group – who attacked Woodward’s house in Cheshire last year – blockading the entrance to Carrington.
The heated incident sparked security concerns, with players reportedly shocked at how easily the collective gained access.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to the group, along with coaches Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick plus midfielder Nemanja Matic.
Speaking about it to Sky Sports, Matic said: ‘We saw the fans here and that was very nice from our manager to decide to go out and speak to them. With that gesture he showed that us as a club we respect our supporters, we respect their opinions.
‘He just went outside to speak to them and that was a positive thing. They shared their opinions with us, of course we understand them and all the players are really focused on our job.’
Solskjaer reportedly insisted the Glazers loved the club, with the group apparently responding that the only thing the Glazers loved was the money the club gives them.
Despite defending the Glazers, Solskjaer was praised in chants by fans at the protest on Saturday afternoon, with many singing ‘You are my Solskjaer’.
Liverpool shirts were burned ahead of the club’s league match against Leeds on Monday
A banner makes Liverpool fans’ feelings clear after the club made an embarrassing U-turn
Supporters are angry at the way the club’s American owners conspired behind their backs
Another banner tied to the Anfield railings calls for a German fan ownership model to come in
Similarly dramatic scenes outside the Emirates underlined the supporters’ strength of feeling
Fans of United’s historic rivals Liverpool continued their own protests outside Anfield before Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off with Newcastle – which finished as a 1-1 draw – and called for the club’s owners to go.
Principal club owner Henry issued an apology to fans following the Reds’ withdrawal from the league on Tuesday, but that has not quelled the fury on Merseyside, with around 150 people turning up on Anfield Road to share their disquiet.
Banners saying ‘£nough is £nough, FSG out’ and ‘Our game, our club: thanks but no Yanks’ were unfurled in a strong showing of distaste for Henry’s actions.