Jamie Carragher has criticised Graeme Souness’ ‘lazy’ punditry and has defended Manchester United fans over their Old Trafford protests.
United’s fixture with Liverpool was postponed on Sunday following a large protest from the club’s supporters against the Glazer family owners, with fans entering the ground and invading the pitch in a demonstration of their anger with the ownership.
The protest comes following the club’s controversial involvement in the European Super League, though the Red Devils’ supporters have made several attempts to oust the owners since their heavily-leveraged takeover of the club.
Sky Sports’ pundit Souness attracted criticism for his comments on the protestors, questioning the motives of the group and stating his belief anger against the ownership has only increased amid a lack of success in recent seasons.
“I don’t think it will (have an impact),” Souness said.
“The Glazers, since Fergie retired, have given successive managers over a billion pound to spend. I think it’s £719million net spend over the eight years.
“I think it’s born out of United not being top dogs as much as what happened last week, I think that’s another excuse to have a go at them. These are serious, serious business people, I don’t think this will impact on their thoughts. I really don’t.
“We live in a country where you can demonstrate, you can vent your feelings, you’re allowed to do it, but I still don’t see it impacting on the Glazers one little bit.
“If you think you can bring serious pressure to serious business people who live 3,000 miles away, across the Atlantic, that it will drive them to accept a discounted offer for Manchester United, that will not happen.
“They’ve had to put collateral in, you don’t just go to the bank and say I want to buy Manchester United, I’ll need £500million or however much it costs to buy, without committing some sort of collateral.
“They’ve risked things to buy Manchester United, since then, they’ve given successive managers fortunes to spend.
“It’s only since Fergie stopped that the success has stopped and I think that irritates supporters and they have become the focus of their anger. I think it’s slightly misdirected.”
Carragher has now launched a defence of the protests and has taken a jibe at Souness’ ‘lazy’ criticism, with the club’s supporters having protested against the owners for more than a decade, including in 2010 following a run of three consecutive Premier League titles and Champions League success.
“The supporters who really felt this more and marched on stadiums are Manchester United and Arsenal – that’s because they had a huge problem with their owners before this,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football. “It’s different for these two clubs, because of that.
“This talk of Manchester United fans only doing this because they are not challenging for the top honours? Lazy punditry, that’s what I call it. If you’re going to speak about something passionately – and you can have your opinion – back it up with facts.
“This is nothing to do with where Manchester United are in the league. Yes, there’s been a decline, obviously, but this campaign has been going on for a long, long time, from when Manchester United were very, very successful.
“So let’s not accuse Manchester United fans of just throwing the toys out the pram because they’re not competing with [Manchester] City or in the Champions League, whatever it may be. That is absolute nonsense.”