Joel Glazer responds to demands made by Man Utd fans after protest
Manchester United joint-owner Joel Glazer has written to Manchester United fans promising better communication after protests saw one of the club's biggest games in the Premier League calendar postponed.
The Executive Co-Chairman was responding to a letter sent as part of a Fan's Forum meeting last Friday.
Last Sunday's Premier League match against Liverpool was called off due to anti-Glazer protests, which came two days after supporters expressed disgust, embarrassment and anger during an emergency fan forum.
The supporters said "change is needed and the club must act now", setting out a five-point plan that they requested a written response to within seven days.
Willingly and openly engage and promote the government initiated fan-led review of football and use this as an opportunity to rebalance the current ownership structure in the favour of supporters.
Immediately appoint independent directors to the board whose sole purpose is to protect the interest of the club as a football club, not its shareholders.
Work with the Manchester United Supporters Trust and supporters more broadly to put in place a share scheme that is accessible to all and that has shares with the same voting rights as those held by the Glazer family. Should the appetite be there amongst fans then you should welcome, and offer no opposition to, the Glazer Family shareholding being reduced to a minority or indeed being bought out altogether.
Commit to full consultation with season ticket holders on any significant changes to the future of our club, including the competitions we play in.
The Glazers have now responded:
We recognise that we will need to significantly increase investment in Old Trafford and our training complex to ensure that the club’s facilities remain among the best in Europe. As part of this, we will consult with fans on investments related to the stadium and the matchday experience.
Indeed, one of the clearest lessons of the past few weeks is the need for us to become better listeners. To this end, I can commit the club will engage across all of the issues raised in your letter.
To highlight some specific points, as one of the few European football clubs listed on the public markets, we believe in the principle of fans owning shares in the club. We have previously engaged with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust on fan share ownership and we want to continue and accelerate those discussions, together with provisions to enhance associated fan consultation.
We recognise that the Government-initiated, fan-led review of football is a positive opportunity to explore new structures for fan engagement and influence. I can assure you that we will willingly and openly engage in the review, with the aim of putting fans at the heart of the game and ensuring their interests are advanced and protected.
These commitments are a starting point for further dialogue, including all the specific points you raised, rather than final proposals. We want to work together to come up with an ambitious package of measures which will transform our relationship with fans and strengthen the club for the long-term. In this spirit, we will reach out to members of the forum to schedule a meeting in which I shall participate as soon as possible after the final game of the season.
Responding to the latest communication, United fans have reacted with some cynicism, calling for action over words.