Joel Glazer vows to 'accelerate' talks on Man Utd fan share scheme and involve supporters in decision-making

Joel Glazer addresses increasing fan consultation and the possibility of a supporter share scheme in an open letter to the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST); in response, MUST said: "We will determine our position based on the resulting actions rather than these words alone"

Glazers (PA)
Image: Joel Glazer (R) apologised once more for Manchester United's involvement in the European Super League

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has said he is "personally committed" to strengthening how the club communicates with its supporters, adding he wants to "accelerate" discussions regarding potential fan-share ownership.

The Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) wrote an open letter to Glazer earlier this week, urging the club's owners to engage in fan consultation.

The letter followed protests at Old Trafford on Sunday, which resulted in United's Premier League match with Liverpool being postponed.

In response, Glazer told MUST the club are open to "constructive discussions" amid the fallout from their desire to join the European Super League before withdrawing last month.

Key points from Glazer open letter

  • Fans will be embedded in decision-making at the club
  • “We believe in principle of fans owning shares in the club”
  • Top priority is “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”
  • Investment in players will continue this summer
  • Also an increased investment in Old Trafford and Carrington

Glazer said: "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.

Fans hold up a banner as they protest against the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, before their Premier League match against Liverpool at Old Trafford, Manchester. Issue date: Sunday May 2, 2021. 3:31
Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol explains the reasons behind many Manchester United fans' opposition to the Glazers' ownership of the club

"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."

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Earlier this week, Chelsea said they will include fans in board meetings from July 1 to ensure "supporter sentiment" is considered in decision-making.

Supporters gather outside Old Trafford in protest at the club's owners, , The Glazers 1:05
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Glazer's letter would appear United are willing to follow suit, although MUST said on Friday that the co-chairman's words must now lead to actions.

MUST said: "The response could in theory - and we emphasise in theory only - be a change in direction and approach by the owners versus their silence and disregard for communication over the last 16 years.

"We will, however, determine our position based on the resulting actions rather than these words alone. We have seen empty words too many times previously. We will seek a mandate from our members and from the wider fanbase before proceeding. We only wish to engage in this process should our supporters want us to.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 0:41
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"The onus remains on the club to put right the problems of the past, not just the European Super League but the overall lack of communication and consultation by the owners.

"Our primary objective remains to ensure a supporter share scheme is put in place which carries equal voting rights to the shares held by the Glazer Family. This scheme would be promoted to the global fanbase and should in turn build a notable stake in the club."

Joel Glazer addressed MUST's call for a supporter share scheme further down in his open letter.

He added: "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.

Manchester United fans protest outside of Old Trafford before the game against Liverpool, which was postponed on safety grounds 0:31
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the fan protests at Old Trafford ahead of their game against Manchester United should have stayed peaceful

"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."

Glazer apologised once more for United's involvement in the European Super League, and stressed his family "care deeply" out the club.

"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 traditions," he said.

Avram Glazer refuses to answer questions over Manchester United 0:46
Manchester United owner Avram Glazer refused to apologise to fans over the disastrous attempt to form a breakaway European Super League, when approached by Sky News

"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."

Ole reveals 'good chats' with Joel Glazer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tells Sky Sports News the Manchester United owners understand the importance of communication with fans, after he received an apology from Joel Glazer

Speaking to Sky Sports News, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke of his own talks with Joel Glazer, and said he hopes the fallout from the European Super League leads to the club ending in a happier position.

Solskjaer said: "I was watching my daughter play a game and Joel rang. That's always good, to speak to them and get that apology. They know we are in a challenging position. The players have to focus on what they're doing - I've had a good couple of conversations with them.

"We'll make steps. Every long journey is started by one step, and the next one and the next one. Of course I'm very hopeful this is the start of something that's going to end happily."

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