Joel Glazer has promised to speak to Manchester United fans at an end-of-season forum following the furious backlash to the European Super League project.
Protesting supporters forced the postponement of last Sunday’s match with Liverpool at Old Trafford, making clear their opposition to the club’s ownership.
Now, executive co-chairman Glazer has committed to greater engagement with United’s fanbase and also to invest in Old Trafford itself in an open letter published on Friday afternoon.
Manchester United owner Joel Glazer has promised greater engagement with fans following the furious backlash to the European Super League project
Angry protests against the Glazer family forced last Sunday’s match with Liverpool at Old Trafford to be postponed
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) 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.
United co-chairman Glazer, who was announced as Super League vice-chairman, has responded, saying he ‘read the contents closely and your love and passion for the club came across very clearly’.
‘I was personally humbled by parts of your letter, as you explained so clearly why our initial support for the European Super League left you feeling angry and let down,’ he said.
‘I would like to reiterate my sincere apology for the mistakes that were made.
‘In particular, I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in.
United owners Avram (left) and Joel Glazer pictured at Old Trafford for a match in 2010
United fans turned out in their thousands last weekend to protest against the club’s owners
‘We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle.’
There are plans for another protest against the Glazers ahead of next Thursday’s rearranged match against Liverpool.
Glazer added: ‘I want to reassure you that my family and I care deeply about Manchester United and feel a profound sense of responsibility to protect and enhance its strength for the long-term, while respecting its values and traditions.
‘Our top priority is, and will always be, competing for the most important trophies, playing entertaining football with a team comprised of top-quality recruits and some of the world’s best homegrown talent.
‘Under Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer), we feel we are absolutely on the right track.
‘Success on the field must be underpinned by solid foundations off it. We have supported sustained investment in the team over many years, and that will continue this summer.
‘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.’
MUST tentatively welcomed the seeming change in tack by the Glazers but said actions are needed rather than words alone.
‘The response could in theory – and we emphasise in theory only – be a change in direction and approach by the owners versus their silence and disregard for communication over the last 16 years,’ a statement read.
‘We will, however, determine our position based on the resulting actions rather than these words alone. We have seen empty words too many times previously.
‘We will seek a mandate from our members and from the wider fanbase before proceeding. We only wish to engage in this process should our supporters want us to.
‘The onus remains on the club to put right the problems of the past, not just the European Super League but the overall lack of communication and consultation by the owners.
‘Our primary objective remains to ensure a supporter share scheme is put in place which carries equal voting rights to the shares held by the Glazer family. This scheme would be promoted to the global fanbase and should in turn build a notable stake in the club.
‘Through all this, our goals remain the same and as set out in the open letter to Joel Glazer. We want a new Manchester United, with a meaningful shareholding for supporters and a meaningful say in key areas.
‘This is our objective, and there will be no let up until we get there.’