Gary Neville on the Glazer family's role at Manchester United: "They are scavengers and need booting out of this football club and booting out of this country"; Jamie Carragher on European Super League: "This is going to turn away a generation of supporters"
Tuesday 20 April 2021 10:31, UK
Gary Neville labelled the Glazer family "scavengers" for Man Utd's role in the proposed European Super League - and said they should be "booted out" from the club.
United will be one of 15 founder members of the league if it goes ahead and in the competition's official unveiling on Sunday Joel Glazer, the co-owner of the club, was quoted as labelling the proposals a "new chapter for European football".
Neville was still a player at United in 2005 when the Glazer family took ownership of the club - which in itself was contentious among its fanbase - and told Monday Night Football why their latest controversy had pushed him to the belief there should be a regime change at Old Trafford.
He said: "I feel slightly complicit, I've stayed pretty quiet in terms of the Glazers over the years. I've done that because I've thought when the club was taken over as a Plc you knew it could be bought. It was out of the control of players, fans and everybody.
"I believe in a free market, and I've always thought 'what's the answer to the Glazers? Who takes them out? Russia, China, state money for the £2-3 billion it would need?'
"I've stayed quiet on the basis that it's still Manchester United, you can still watch the lads play, I can be happy and sad, I can still watch football in this country, they take dividends out, I can live with that slightly, but what I can't live with is attacking every single football fan in this country.
"They have stepped over the mark. They are scavengers and need booting out of this football club and booting out of this country. We have got to come together. It might be too late, there'll be people at Manchester United, fans 15 years ago who will say it's too late. It's never too late, we have got to stop this. It is absolutely critical we do.
"We know Manchester United have got more money. Arsenal have more money, Liverpool have more money. We can live with that, there's always going to be top clubs who have more money. But they can be beaten by Sheffield United or draw with Fulham. And they're trying to take that away to create franchise football. Never. It can never happen.
"These six owners, I hope they're panting hard and uncomfortable and their stomachs are churning. And the players who play for these clubs, I can't sit here and say to the players of Manchester United and Liverpool to go on strike, because it wouldn't be right.
"But lads, if you've got it in you, you can stop this. You can mobilise. Jurgen Klopp can stop it, he's a man of integrity. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can stop it, he's a man of integrity. They can all contribute to stopping it. And we must come together now, because this has been backed by six wealthy families, on the integrity of our national sport, and it must be stopped."
Former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher accused the Reds' owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), of piggybacking off the club's historical success in order to become one of the 12 'founder clubs' of the European Super League.
Ahead of Liverpool's trip to Leeds on Monday Night Football, the team's fans erected banners outside Anfield reading: 'LFC fans against European Super League' and 'Shame on You - RIP LFC - 1892-2021'. Manager Jurgen Klopp had himself said in 2019 he hoped the league "would never happen", and stuck by his comments ahead of kick-off at Elland Road.
Carragher said fans would become disinterested by the repetitiveness of the proposed set-up of 15 founder clubs taking part in the European Super League every year, and that it would turn a generation of fans away from football altogether.
He told Monday Night Football: "From my own club's point of view, the only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance to be in it, is because they've won six European Cups and 20 titles - only one each have come from FSG. They used Liverpool's history, going back to Bill Shankly and before that, to get into the league and line their own pockets.
"This ownership bought Liverpool on the back of other American owners running the club badly, and the fans got them out. They got the club for a steal, it's now worth six or seven times more.
"As Jurgen Klopp said in his quote from 2019, people will become very, very bored of Liverpool versus Real Madrid. It was exciting because we had not played them since 2009 or something like that. That is what was special about European football and people forget that. People would become very bored very quickly of football.
"People all around the world right now are, I think, starting to turn off from football. I think VAR is a big problem with that. Whether you agree with it or not, people don't like it. This on top of it now. This is going to turn away a generation of supporters who grew up loving football because it is going to become boring. There is absolutely nothing there.
"I am thinking, in the future, what am I going to get excited about? I am a pundit but I love watching Liverpool and I love them scoring a goal. Football can take you to a place that nowhere else can. This will never take you to that place again if this is allowed to happen."
On the back of criticism of the proposals from all four staff and players interviewed before and after Liverpool's draw at Leeds, Neville added that the backlash from inside the game, rather than on the terraces, would leave club owners faltering about their commitment to the ESL.
Neville told Monday Night Football he believed more clubs would follow if one were to get cold feet about their involvement - and highlighted his old side's nearest rivals, Manchester City, as the most likely to go first.
"Manchester City will go," he said. "Why do the Abu Dhabi people, who are trying to build reputation around the world, who have invested in communities all around the world, to build excellent football clubs, a network of football.
"I was doubtful of them coming into Manchester all those years ago, but what they've done to the east side of Manchester is a joke. It's awe-inspiring. It's unbelievable.
"The best stadium, best facilities, best training grounds, they've built houses, a whole area; they've built a legacy round there. They've done it for marketing purposes, you could argue, to to establish themselves as a global presence… Why do they need this? They don't need money, they don't need an extra £50m a year. They need to convert themselves into people accepted around the world, as sporting people.
"They've got Pep Guardiola, the most amazing manager, they've created a football team which is unbelievable. City must fold, because these two that we support (Man Utd and Liverpool), they're gone. Manchester City don't want this, they can't need this."
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