If the invasion of Old Trafford shocked the football world and caused the postponement of the Manchester United-Liverpool Premier League poster on Sunday, these demonstrations are the result of a tenacious resentment of the Mancunian supporters towards the owners, as old as the club buyout.
Hundreds of supporters took to the Theater of Dreams on Sunday afternoon, shouting “We want the Glazers out,” the super-rich Florida family who took control of the Red Devils in 2005. The project of a dissident European Super League , in which the club took part two weeks ago with eleven other major European teams, before the six English teams involved, including Man U, threw in the towel less than 48 hours later, pushed fans who had already demonstrated twice in the previous days. The image is so singular that it prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to speak: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to break the rules, but at the same time I understand how bad people are. affected ”, he commented on Monday“ Let’s be very clear, nobody wants what happened yesterday (Sunday) at Old Trafford to happen again ”, wrote on Monday the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (Must), which represents a section of the club’s die-hards, in an open letter to co-chairman Joel Glazer. “What has happened is the culmination of 16 years in which, under the leadership of your family, the club has grown. is deep in debt and decline, and we have never been so sidelined and ignored as we are now, ”continued Must, while condemning the incidents that injured two police officers, one of whom was treated in the emergency room.
The betrayal of too many
The Super League project – a European competition of 20 teams where 15 places would have been reserved each year for the rich founding clubs – had been immediately criticized and rejected by supporters, as well as by sports bodies or the political world. Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal, none of the English clubs involved in this project motivated solely by greed, according to his opponents, has been spared by the protests. But at United, a club founded by railway workers in 1878, that was too much betrayal. From the arrival of the Glazers, the green and gold colors of Newton Heath, a club which in 1902 became Manchester United, were the rallying point of the protesters. A debt-free club when the Americans arrived, Manchester found themselves with huge interest to pay after a ‘leveraged buyout’, where the money is borrowed (over 900 million euros) and the reimbursement charged to the club. This interest has already cost more than a billion euros to the club, whose debt still exceeds 500 million EUR, according to the results published in March. Some supporters even founded a dissident club in 2005, FC United of Manchester, which is currently playing in the English seventh division.
The protest movement against the Glazers, also owners of the NFL (American football) champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has grown over the collapse of results, especially since the retirement of Alex Ferguson in 2013, year of the last league title. The local rival Manchester City and especially the hated opponent, Liverpool, passed them in front and the Super League was the last straw, especially as this project came a few months after another controversy, an attempt to reform governance of the Premier League, which is extremely favorable to the Big 6, called Project Big Picture. In a message, Joel Glazer had “apologized wholeheartedly” for his involvement in the Super League. “Apologies refused”, we could read on Sunday on an unequivocal sign waved by supporters who have also been frustrated for more than a year by the closed doors in the stadiums, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can buy our club, but you cannot buy our heart and soul, ”added a poster. “There is huge dissatisfaction, not just among Manchester United fans but I think among football fans across the country and I think what they are saying is + enough is enough +“, summed up on Sky Sports the former Red Devil, Gary Neville.