BEVERLY HILLS, April 22, (THEWILL) – In the aftermath of the breakdown of plans for a breakaway Super League of Europe’s biggest clubs after the withdrawal of several key founding members, such as all six of the English Premier League sides, there have been fan protests across these English clubs making different demands.
On Thursday, the Manchester United’s Carrington training ground became another flashpoint in the ongoing series of protests as supporters gathered around the grounds to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club.
It took an address by club manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before they dispersed from the protest.
The anger of the various categories of supporters has been directed squarely at the owners of the six Premier League clubs who signed up for the European Super League (ESL) that was announced on Sunday before withdrawing from the breakaway two days later, after facing severe backlash from every corner.
THEWILL recalls that one of the significant names behind the ESL is Joel Glazer, the co-owner of Man U. In fact, the Glazer family member was announced to be one of the Super League’s vice-chairmen, with the claim being that the ESL was going to hugely benefit what they were calling the “wider football pyramid” going forward.
The Thursday protest, which came after United backtracked on their plans and withdrew their membership of the ESL, was still a show of numbers as supporters headed for the training ground to register their deep-felt misgivings. They endeavoured to block the entrance and even made it onto the first-team pitch, driven as they were.
That prompted Solskjaer to address them and he was joined by coach Michael Carrick, technical director Darren Fletcher and midfielder Nemanja Matic. He was able to reach across to them well and the group left shortly after.
The protest was reported in a statement on Thursday by the club: “At approximately 9am this morning, a group gained access to the club training ground. The manager and others spoke to them. Buildings were secure and the group has now left the site.”
As reported by THEWILL on Wednesday, in an open letter to the fans of Man U, Glazer said he is “personally committed to rebuilding trust” with fans after the Super League fiasco. He apologised for failing to “show enough respect” for football’s “deep-rooted traditions” by attempting to join the breakaway competition in a unilateral manner.
Part of the letter read “We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.
“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry. This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.
Although some have argued against linking the resignation of the club’s execuytive Vice-Chairman, Ed Woodward, just after the backlash from across board began, there is enough to believe there were some nuanced association between how the involvement of Man U in the ESL blew up in their faces and the resignation.
Glazer, who made no allusion to Woodward, wrote: “You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.
“Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.”