Joel Glazer has penned an open letter to Manchester United fans ‘acknowledging the need for change’ and ‘deeper consultation’ with the support base after fan protests saw their Premier League match with Liverpool cancelled. The Manchester United co-owner reiterated his family’s commitment to the club and once again apologised for their part in the failed European Super League plot. Glazer also promised to invest in the playing squad and facilities at Old Trafford and their Carrington training base. Writing in response to a letter from Fans’ Forum members last week, which called to increase consultation with fans, he also expressed his desire to ‘working with the wider football community to make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long-term’.
Glazer’s letter read: ‘Your heartfelt letter captured the unique spirit of Manchester United, forged through decades of triumph, adversity and tragedy, and still powerfully present in today’s exciting team under Ole and the vibrant fanbase which you represent. ‘I was personally humbled by parts of your letter, as you explained so clearly why our initial support for the European Super League left you feeling angry and let down. I would like to reiterate my sincere apology for the mistakes that were made.
In particular, I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in. We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle. ‘We remain committed to working with the wider football community to make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long-term, and we will now refocus our efforts on doing this within the existing structures of UEFA and the Premier League. ‘In addition, I want to reassure you that my family and I care deeply about Manchester United and feel a profound sense of responsibility to protect and enhance its strength for the long-term, while respecting its values and
‘Our top priority is, and will always be, competing for the most important trophies, playing entertaining football with a team comprised of top-quality recruits and some of the world’s best homegrown talent. Under Ole, we feel we are absolutely on the right track. ‘Success on the field must be underpinned by solid foundations off it. We have supported sustained investment in the team over many years, and that will continue this summer. ‘We recognise that we will need to significantly increase investment in Old Trafford and our training complex to ensure that the club’s facilities remain among the best in Europe. As part of this, we will consult with fans on investments related to the stadium and the matchday experience. ‘Indeed, one of the clearest lessons of the past few weeks is the need for us to become better listeners. To this end, I can commit the club will engage across all of the issues raised in your letter.
To highlight some specific points, as one of the few European football clubs listed on the public markets, we believe in the principle of fans owning shares in the club. We have previously engaged with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust on fan share ownership and we want to continue and accelerate those discussions, together with provisions to enhance associated fan consultation. ‘We recognise that the Government-initiated, fan-led review of football is a positive opportunity to explore new structures for fan engagement and influence. I can assure you that we will willingly and openly engage in the review, with the aim of putting fans at the heart of the game and ensuring their interests are advanced and protected. ‘These commitments are a starting point for further dialogue, including all the specific points you raised, rather than final proposals. We want to work together to come up with an ambitious package of measures which will transform our relationship with fans and strengthen the club for the long-term. In this spirit, we will reach out to members of the forum to schedule a meeting in which I shall participate as soon as possible after the final game of the season. ‘Thank you again for your work for the forum and your passion for the club. I look forward to meeting you and in the meantime let’s look forward to a successful end to the season.’ United’s postponed match against Liverpool has been rearranged to Thursday 13 May. They face three Premier League matches in five days, with games against Leicester and Aston Villa taking place in the days ahead of the rescheduled meeting with Liverpool.