Gary Neville has called for fan unity and ‘reform’ after large scale protests at Old Trafford lef to the postponement of one of English football’s most high profile fixtures.
A protest was organised outside of Old Trafford ahead of Manchester United’s game against Liverpool, Red Devils fans venting their anger at the club’s owners following the failed European Super League proposals.
United fans have had a bitter relationship with the Glazer family since their leveraged takeover back in 2005, and while past protests have come and gone, their frustrations were once again spiked following the proposals which were released two weeks ago.
A large number of fans gathered outside the team hotel in Manchester city centre, while there were thousands more at Old Trafford, with several hundred managing to break into the famous old stadium and vent their frustrations on the hallowed turf.
The demonstrations saw the game initially being delayed, before eventually being called off with the Premier League citing the compromised safety and security.
Speaking after the postponement, Gary Neville said that he hoped the events at his former stomping ground would spark fan unity in his pursuit of ‘reform’ of the game on these shores.
“I think its a warning to the owners of the football club that ultimately, they are not going to accept what they have done in the last couple of weeks,” he said on Sky Sports. “Obviously, we don’t know what has happened outside the ground. We know some fans came in and they were reasonably peaceful but, if there has been disturbances outside then that is not something that is acceptable.
“But, the reality of it is that a game has been called off today and the fans have spoken. The fans spoke a couple of weeks ago about this [Super League] proposal, and there was a U-turn by the six owners in this country. It’s not going to go away. They don’t really trust the owners of this club, they don’t like them, they think they should leave.
“Beyond today, the reality is it should be for reform and regulation and making sure that they can’t do it again. Protesting is the right of every single person in this country. We must retain that element of being able to protest.
“However, beyond today, I think it is a case of making sure fans across the country unite to ensure reform in English football. That is the most important thing. If there’s anything about today has got to be a precursor to that if there isn’t reform in English football.”
Ever since the Project Big picture proposals 12 months ago, Neville has been calling for independent regulation of the English game at all levels, while he gave his backing last week to the government’s announcement of a review into football ownership and regulation.
See also – Manchester United v Liverpool combined XI