Manchester United fans are planning to stage a protest against the Glazer family ahead of next Monday night’s Premier League clash with fierce rivals Liverpool.
Despite initial promise during pre-season, which included a 4-0 win over Liverpool in Thailand, new manager Erik ten Hag has seen his team taken apart by both Brighton and Brentford at the start of the Premier League campaign.
The club is bottom of the Premier League table and Ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his first two games in charge for 101 years. While the Dutchman’s tactics against Brentford in particular clearly didn’t suit the players on the pitch, there is already concern that he isn’t being supported.
The owners also continue to bleed personal profit from United without investing in infrastructure that has badly fallen behind that of rival clubs over the last 10 years.
It is estimated that through servicing debt, which was the result of Malcolm Glazer’s controversial leveraged buyout in 2005, debt repayment and shareholder dividends, United are £1.1bn worse off. Meanwhile, £465m in Class A shares (less influential at board level than Class B) has benefited the Glazers and not the club.
Fans have protested against the owners on a number of occasions before, most notably in 2005 as the takeover was being completed, again in 2010 at the height of the green and gold campaign and in 2021 as a response to the failed Super League breakaway.
But the parasitic nature of the ownership model is now being increasingly talked about again as the hamstrung club fails to improve on the pitch.
A damning statement from the Manchester United Supporters Trust in the wake of the Brentford defeat read, “As we’ve always said, a fish rots from the head. And the ultimate responsibility for the terrible state of our football club must lie with its owners, the Glazer family.
“It is now for them to explain to United fans just why we are in this state, and what they are going to do about it. We’ve had some difficult times in the last decade, but this really does feel like rock bottom. MUST hold the owners of the Club primarily responsible for this new low in our decade of decline. Sir Alex [Ferguson] papered over the cracks, but since 2013 the consequences of our owners have been plain to see.”
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Fan group The 1958 are now planning a major protest next week ahead of the Monday night against Liverpool. They have come to the conclusion that a boycott is unlikely to be successful as it would ‘not translate to all the match going fanbase’. Instead they will protest outside the stadium from half an hour before kick-off.
“For Liverpool, we will plant The 1958 flag at the Trinity for those wanting to make a stand from 7:30pm. In support of matchgoing and non matchgoing fans who have made the journey to show their discontent against this failing ownership,” a statement explained.