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07th May 2021

Joel Glazer says he ‘believes in fan ownership of clubs’ in open letter to United fans

Charlie Herbert

“We recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club.”

Manchester United’s c0-chairman Joel Glazer has promised to discuss fan share ownership with supporters of the club.

His promise comes at the end of a tumultuous week for the Red Devils that started with a major fan protest against the Glazers ahead of United’s scheduled clash with Liverpool. Fans managed to break into Old Trafford and get onto the pitch, forcing the games cancellation.

Since then, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) have written to Joel, the Glazer family member most involved in the running of the club, with a four-point plan. The plan  recommended a fan share scheme giving voting rights at the club to supporters, the appointment of independent directors to the club board, support for the government’s fan-led review of football and regular consultation with season ticket holder on major decisions made by the club.

In a letter in response to this, Glazer committed to holding discussions on the subject of fan share ownership.

Addressed to those who sit on United’s fans forum, Glazer wrote: “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.”

He described the fan-led review into football as a “positive opportunity to explore new structures for fan engagement and influence” and promised to “willingly and openly engage” with the process.

Despite having already apologised to fans for his involvement in signing the club up to the Super League proposals in April, Glazer repeated this apology.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

MUST have been sceptical in their response to Glazer’s words, saying: “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.”

The trust said that it would determine its position “based on the resulting actions rather than these words alone,” and will “seek a mandate from our members and from the wider fanbase before proceeding.”