Joel Glazer has responded to Gary Neville’s criticism of Manchester United’s ownership and admits the Glazer family’s 16-year silence was wrong.
The Glazer’s hugely unpopular ownership was criticised once again following the Red Devils’ involvement in the controversial European Super League proposal, the scenario leading to new calls for the Americans to sell their majority stake at Old Trafford.
The most recent protests saw fans gather outside the club’s stadium and team hotel before a Premier League clash with Liverpool, a number of supporters breaking into the ground and invading the pitch – leading to the first ever postponement of a league fixture due to protests.
United fans have regularly protested against the owners with tensions rising following the ESL plans, with former defender Neville having accused the Glazers of being ‘detached’ from the club, admitting the Red Devils had become a ‘laughing stock’ under the current ownership.
Executive co-chairman Glazer has now addressed those comments at a fans forum arranged following the fall-out from the Super League plan, insisting Neville’s criticism will be listened to and taken on board as relations are attempted to be repaired.
“I know Gary has been, to say the least, pretty hard on us, and it’s OK. Everybody has their views,” Glazer said at the fans forum. “There’s two ways to look at it – you can just shut the person out because they’re not saying something nice about you. Or you can pause, you can listen. You can’t ignore people, we have got to listen.”
“You can’t necessarily accomplish everything, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes things are a little more complex, but Gary’s a legend. Gary did so much for this club. Gary has good ideas, good thoughts, and they’re heard.”
Glazer also admitted that the family’s silence was the wrong way to approach things with the owners having not directly addressed the fans in 16 years before the European Super League fall-out.
He says that their decision to ‘stay in the background’ has ‘wrongly created the impression’ that the owners care little for the club or sporting achievements.
“We always took the approach that we should stay in the background [and] let the manager, the players, the people at Old Trafford, be the ones out in front, communicating and talking,” said Glazer. “In retrospect, that was not the right approach and there’s a middle ground.”
“Our silence wrongly created the impression that we don’t care, that we aren’t football fans, that we only care about our commercial interests and money,” the 54-year-old added. “I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth.”