Before Monday’s Premier League match against Liverpool, Manchester United fans staged large-scale protests against the club’s direction under its American owners.
An hour before the start of one of the biggest games in English football, over 10,000 fans marched to Old Trafford. They yelled against the Glazer family, “We want Glazers out,” while carrying banners urging the Americans to sell United.
At the stadium’s forecourt entrance on Sir Matt Busby Way, there seemed to be a considerable police presence.
Before the demonstration began, both teams’ players arrived at the stadium, but even after the game started, angry fans continued to demonstrate as it was being played.
Following United’s disappointing start to the season, which saw the team lose both of its games—2-1 at home to Brighton and a 4-0 embarrassing defeat at Brentford—discontent skyrocketed.
Fans’ anger is due to the Glazer family, who acquired United in 2005 through a leveraged buyout that added debt to a team which didn’t exist before, which is the reason for their resentment.
The Glazers, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have come under fire for not investing enough money in the team or the facilities and for allowing England’s top team to struggle for years.
The estimated cost that the Glazers have cost United is over £1 billion, as payments on debt, dividents and interest.
The 1958 organization organized Monday’s protest claiming, “They are ruining the history, traditions and culture of our great club and [we] will not stand by and watch our club rot away any longer,” said a group member.
Disagreement toward the ownership, which had been steaming since the 2005 takeover, had been building since then. Conflicts also erupted last year, May, when a home game against Liverpool was empty because of pandemic restrictions. As a result, thousands of supporters blocked access to Old Trafford, which led to the injuries of two police officers.
After that protest, the Glazers pledged to mend fences with United supporters, but there hasn’t been much proof. A co-chairman named Joel Glazer personally addressed United supporters in June 2021, outlining his plans to make significant investments in all facets of the team and improve fan representation in the decision-making process.
In 2013, the year Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement as manager, United won the last of their record 20 English league championships. Manchester City and Liverpool, two of United’s main rivals, have recently dominated the domestic game.
Despite spending $1.5 billion on players since 2013, United hasn’t won a major title in five seasons, its worst streak since the early 1980s.
Erik ten Hag, their fifth manager since Ferguson, has had a poor start this season. Since the Dutch coach came over after leaving Ajax Amsterdam earlier in the year, there are already concerns about his tactics and team selection.