Manchester United fans stormed into the English football club’s stadium and on to the pitch on Sunday to protest against the team’s owners, the American billionaire Glazer family, and their previous plan to join the abandoned breakaway Super League.
Fans at Old Trafford chanted, set off flares and unfurled banners calling for the Glazers to make an exit from Manchester Manchester.
The New York-listed club has been approached for comment.
Joel Glazer, the team’s co-chairman, apologised last month after being forced to cancel plans to form a breakaway Super League for an elite group of Europe’s best known football clubs, including Spain’s Real Madrid and Italy’s Juventus.
Under the proposals, the founding clubs would have been guaranteed a place in the league every year, which goes against the tradition of European football in which clubs compete to take part in top-level competitions.
The protest comes ahead of a clash between Manchester United and rival Liverpool, which is owned by John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, another American investor who apologised to fans for backing the Super League.
The match has been delayed as a result of the fans’ actions, according to the Premier League. It had been due to start at 4.30pm UK time, and a Covid-19 compliance officer for the league will need to make sure it is safe to play.
Fans remain angry that Manchester United backed the Super League. Their unhappiness with the Glazers goes back to the family’s acquisition of the club in 2005, a £790m leveraged buyout that saddled it with debt, costly fees and interest payments. The family also extract dividends from the club, a rarity in the business of football.
Gary Neville, the former Manchester United player and an influential pundit, said on Sky Sports that it was the right time for the Glazers to sell the club, which had failed to win the Premier League since 2013.
“It would be the honourable thing to do,” he said.
Ahead of the match, Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chair, who announced that he would step down at the end of the year after the frosty reception to the Super League, apologised to fans for the team’s role in the abandoned project.
“I can assure you that we have learned our lesson . . . and we do not seek any revival of the Super League plans,” he told supporters at a meeting on Friday.
This is not a CAPTIS article. Originally, it was published here.