Joel Glazer apologises to Manchester United fans for Super League 'unrest'

'We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable,' Joel Glazer wrote on the United website. 'However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it'; Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano also issues apology

Manchester United joint chairmen Joel Glazer (right) and Avram Glazer (left) in the stands during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. 2:03
Joel Glazer has written an apology to the Manchester United fans admitting 'we got it wrong' over their involvement in proposals for a breakaway Super League

Joel Glazer has apologised "unreservedly" in an open letter to all Manchester United fans for the "unrest" caused by the club's involvement in the Super League.

United are thought to have been one of the driving forces behind the competition, which collapsed on Tuesday evening after a unified outcry of disapproval from supporters, governing bodies and the government.

Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman, resigned from his role on the same evening - although Sky Sports News has been told it had nothing to do with the Super League. He will remain at the club until the end of 2021.

Glazer, who was unveiled as Super League vice-chairman when the bombshell announcement was made on Sunday, admits he and the rest of United's owners "got it wrong" and are now focused on making amends.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 30:  Joel Glazer (left), Avram Glazer (centre) and Bryan Glazer (right), sons of new Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer and new members of the board of directors pose at Old Trafford on June 30 2005 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joel Glazer;Avram Glazer;Bryan Glazer
Image: The Glazer family have come under heavy criticism from fans since taking over United in 2005

In a rare moment of communication with the supporters, United co-chairman Glazer wrote: "Over the past few days, we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club.

"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.

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"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.

"It is important for us to put that right.

"Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values.

"The pandemic has thrown up so many unique challenges and we are proud of the way Manchester United and its fans from Manchester and around the world have reacted to the enormous pressures during this period.

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Glazer's letter followed an apology from Liverpool owner John W Henry for their involvement in the plans. Twitter: @LFC

"We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club.

"In the background, you can be sure that we will be taking the necessary steps to rebuild relationships with other stakeholders across the game, with a view to working together on solutions to the long-term challenges facing the football pyramid.

"Right now, our priority is to continue to support all of our teams as they push for the strongest possible finish to the season.

"In closing, I would like to recognise that it is your support which makes this club so great, and we thank you for that.

"With best regards,

"Joel Glazer."

Neville: Glazers don't belong at Man Utd anymore

Gary Neville says Ed Woodward's departure was inevitable after he resigned as the club's executive vice-chairman amid the apparent collapse of the Super League plans

Former United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports the Glazers do not belong at Manchester United anymore, as he reacted to the news of Ed Woodward's resignation on Tuesday evening.

"So, Ed Woodward knew his time in football was finished, probably this morning, and he's probably done that to probably keep away from the criticism that would have come his way in the next few months," he said. "However, Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree. We now need to go for the roots because I said last night on Monday Night Football, I felt complicit. They've declared their hand.

"While they were peacefully sat at the club not making a statement, never showing their hand and never doing media conferences. Yes, they were taking money out of the club, yes, they were leveraged against the club. There was nothing we could do about that once the club became a PLC, but I said last night they attacked every single football fan in this country with what they did.

"Jamie Carragher has just talked about FSG having no place in Liverpool, the Glazers have no place in Manchester anymore. We have to work hard together to ensure that ownership rules in this country are changed, that we have a system whereby this cannot happen. Whether this is government intervention or an independent regulator. Whether it be a fan-owned club rule, whatever it is, we have to make sure that this is the catalyst for change."

'This is a watershed moment - we need to see genuine change'

The Manchester United Supporters Trust responded to Glazer's apology by demanding his family "begin the transfer of ownership to the real supporters of our club".

"Let's be honest this isn't about the message that skilled advisers cobble together for Joel," the statement read.

"We all know until they felt forced to withdraw they were determined to proceed with their Super League project regardless of opposition.

"Ultimately Joel's silence since 2005 says more than this message. We cannot just carry on as if nothing has happened. This is a watershed moment and we need to see genuine change as a result.

"The message we want to hear from the owners is that they are putting in place the Fan Share Scheme which will begin the transfer of ownership to the real supporters of our club - the people who have its best interests at heart."

Soriano issues Manchester City apology

AP - Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of Manchester City and Ferran Soriano (right), Chief Executive Officer pictured in 2019
Image: Ferran Soriano (right) pictured with Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in 2019

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has written to the club's supporters to apologise for their involvement in European Super League proposals.

In an email sent out on Wednesday, Soriano wrote: "As always, when we make choices and decisions, we do so with the best interests of the club in mind and we believed that being part of such an initiative could give us a voice that might be imperative to our future ability to succeed and grow.

"In making that choice we failed to remind ourselves of the unbreakable link between the passion of our fans and the right to have the opportunity to earn success.

"It is a truth that is fundamental to the DNA of Manchester City and the board deeply regrets taking a decision that lost sight of the historic values of the club.

"We made a mistake and we sincerely apologise to our fans for the disappointment, frustration and anguish caused by the last 72 hours."

Butt on Super League, the Glazers and Old Trafford exit

Former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt says those involved in plans to create a breakaway European Super League demonstrated the "worst case of bullying".

Former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt says the owners of the six clubs who tried to form a Super League have been taught that football is nothing without fans

Speaking to Sky Sports News before United co-chairman Glazer broke his silence, Butt said an apology from those in charge at Old Trafford is "irrelevant".

"I don't think an apology is too great anyway if I'm honest," he said. "I think what happened should never have happened.

"What happened is the worst case of bullying in my opinion, from powerful people, so whether they apologise or not is irrelevant to me really."

On whether it will take time for the owners to regain their trust, Butt said: "A hell of a long time and I don't see how it's possible. It's difficult to regain someone's trust after going behind people's backs for so long.

"It's going to be difficult, I don't know how they do it.

"I think that's how some of these businessmen work. They work in the shadows if you like and they do what they think is right, but I think the shocking thing is they can't have empathy for the fans who make this sport so great.

"Without the fans, the sport is nothing, and to not be on board with what the fans want, that's the alarming thing for me.

"So it's a lesson to people who come into the country and come into powerful football clubs and think they can do whatever they want because they are owners and they are very, very wealthy.

"Over the past few hours in this country it has proved not to be the case."

Podcast Special: Fans 1-0 Not-so-Super League

High-powered, heavily-funded and years in the making, it lasted barely two days.

In a podcast special, Jasper Taylor is joined by Gerard Brand and Ron Walker to discuss the rapid break-up of the breakaway European Super League.

The panel discuss why football is more than just a business or entertainment sport, how this was a fan victory we should celebrate, and what the future holds for football.

We also hear from Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Kaveh Solhekol and Bryan Swanson on another monumental 48 hours.

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