World news – Joel Glazer’s opposition to protests at Manchester United has faded the fans’ battle

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Just don’t expect a public celebration in England with the late Malcolm Glazer’s six siblings who control Manchester United.

Published: February 06, 2021 4:01 pm |

Last updated: February 06, 2021 4:01 pm

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« I understand some fans don’t like us, » he said. « To hate us when the club has been so successful is extraordinary. »

The co-owner’s confusion over vitriol came after Old Trafford was jam-packed with green and gold scarves waved by fans at a 2010 game took over the colors of the club from its founding in 1878 in a sign of rejection.

The insight into the thinking of the owners was revealed in a book by a former employee, which was necessary because the Glazer family had not made any public comments. The silence has shown that there is no attempt to heal the rift. The glasses have kept a steady distance from supporters who haven’t fought a sustained battle to oust them.

So compare the passion and joy of the glasses over the past month after the family’s other sports team – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Won at Green Bay to advance to a Super Bowl match against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. The family doesn’t speak to fans or the media in England, let alone Manchester, much like they often explain their decisions at Bucs in detail. « We know from the start that this is terrible news for the club, » said Scott Patterson, Manchester United season ticket holder who runs the Republic of Mancunia website. “Showing no interest in communicating with fans makes matters worse.”

This could be the most successful year for glasses on both sides of the Atlantic since 2003, when the Buccaneers last won the Super Bowl and United won the English Premier League won. United are facing their best title challenge since winning their record trophy in the English League in 2013.

Don’t expect a public celebration in England with the late Malcolm Glazer’s six siblings who control United.

Joe Glazer stated, the family had a policy of « reluctance to accept a farewell message to his media advisor Tehsin Nayani, » whose publication of the exchange with his boss in a 2015 book, « The Glazer Gatekeeper, » revealed internal discussions and disgust over the tumult Family owned.

Despite a public offer from Manchester United on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012, the Glaser holdings remain in control shortly before the 16th anniversary of their acquisition. The club’s valuation has risen to around $ 3 billion, putting an end to fan takeover hopes.

In 2005, the glaziers came across images that were burned on the streets outside of Old Trafford. A club that had no debt prior to the takeover has since paid the price of the leveraged takeover. Payments to the glaziers for interest, debt and dividends cost United more than £ 1 billion ($ 1.5 billion).

« What kept Manchester United from trouble is the commercial nature of their machine, very similar to what they were able to deliver in Tampa, « said Rob Wilson, who teaches at Sheffield Hallam University in northern England.

United’s sales rose from £ 166.4 million ($ 300 million) in the year prior to the acquisition in 2005 to a record £ 627.1 million ($ 783 million) in the pre-pandemic 2018-19. While the Glazers oversaw an expansion of the club’s commercial business – licensing the brand for a number of commercial products around the world – United was the second highest money maker in world football in 2005 and now ranked fourth.

United needed the Glazers in 2005 not to transform a team that longs to win the championship again. This was evident from the arrival of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea in 2003, Sheik Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City in Abu Dhabi in 2008 and other American sports tycoons from the Boston Red Sox in Liverpool in 2010.

United had won the Premier League eight times in 13 years prior to the Glazers’ arrival, a return to dominance developed by manager Alex Ferguson. He would win the league five more times – and the Champions League again – before retiring in 2013 despite austerity measures in the transfer market.

The replacement of Ferguson after 26 years in charge has made a team his fourth Manager since 2013 proved to be more difficult than expected. The only title parades of the Premier League in Manchester are currently being played by the neighboring city of City, which only won the cup for the first time in 2012.

While Ferguson played four Champions League finals and won two, United has been no further than to since then advanced to quarterfinals. And that’s despite the kind of lavish spending Ferguson never received. More than £ 1 billion has been spent on the players in eight years.

« Every year that goes by, the genius of Ferguson’s ability to remain competitive is highlighted, » Patterson said.

Patterson was particularly concerned about Ed Glazer donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to support both of Donald Trump’s presidential elections. On the same day in 2019 that Glazer hosted a fundraiser for Trump denounced for racist tweets, United urged social media company to take action against racist abuse sent to midfielder Paul Pogba.

« Share the fan base were passive during periods of success, « Patterson said of the glasses. « But they are poison. »

Such extreme rhetoric from a high-profile fan is not reflected in any sustained opposition. The opposition remains in their possession, but groups like the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust lost momentum after the 2010 high of green-and-gold advertising.

While the glasses aren’t speaking to MUST, the group has their public comments against them and seems instead to focus on working with Manchester administration through the matchday experience to make improvements.

« We don’t think the best answer is to return to a hostile relationship with the board what the result would be if we chose protest instead of dialogue, « MUST said in 2019.

Although the glasses have done little to win over the fans – apart from the prices for season tickets rolled into one Stadium, which is increasingly out of date, frozen, it seems that the United States’ believers have given up on ousting them. The latest expression of dissent was that rival fan groups were engaged in a power struggle over the glasses to overtake the English leagues.

« You better have a voice in the tent than trying to shout from the outside, » said Wilson . « The protests were a bit cyclical and tended to follow some athletic performance. »

And especially at a time when fans are excluded from the stadiums, United are this late in the season for the first time since Ferguson left the field , a realistic contender for the Premier League. Three immediate successors failed, but former player Ole Gunnar Solskjær took inspiration from the Buccaneers for the title challenge – especially the role of their seasoned superstar on the Super Bowl weekend.

« Tom Brady is an example for every single athlete there outside that it is still possible at the age of 42, « said Solskjær. « We tell our young players that being at the highest level is not just a natural talent, but also commitment, hard work and focus. »

At United, the focus of the Glaser seems to be very much on profit and success, but no approach to the fans.

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