Manchester United fans protest at Old Trafford before Liverpool game – NBC10 Philadelphia

Thousands of Manchester United fans, outraged at the club’s management under its American owners, took part in a protest ahead of Monday’s Premier League game against Liverpool.

Fans chanted against the Glazer family – “We want the Glazers gone” – and held up placards calling for Americans to sell United as they walked from a nearby pub to the club’s legendary Old Trafford stadium an hour before kick-off for one of the biggest matches in English football.

Many fans throughout the ground wore green and gold scarves, the colors of the club founded in 1878, and some also lit torches. There appeared to be a heavy police presence on Sir Matt Busby Street at the entrance to the stadium grounds.

Players from both teams, including United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, arrived on the pitch before the protest began.

Discontent has grown since United’s poor start to the season saw them lose both games, 2-1 at home to Brighton and a 4-0 humbling against Brentford.

The target of more anger is the Glazer family, who bought United in 2005, absorbing the debt that put debts on a club that previously had none. Critics say the Glazers, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, failed to put enough of their own money into the team or facilities and presided over years of failure for England’s biggest team.

Glazer’s interest, debt and dividend payments are estimated to have cost United more than £1 billion.

“They are destroying the history, tradition and culture of our great club and (we) will not watch our club rot any longer,” said fan group The 1958, which organized Monday’s protest.

The ownership dispute, which has simmered since the takeover in 2005, erupted last May when a home league game against Liverpool had to be called off after the stadium – empty due to pandemic restrictions – was stormed before the game and thousands of others fans blocked access to Old Trafford. Two police officers were injured in clashes with fans.

This protest was sparked by the club’s involvement in the failed relegation from the European Super League, which collapsed amid a wave of condemnation from fans and the British government.

After that protest, the Glazers promised to restore trust with United fans, but there is little evidence of that. Joel Glazer, the co-chairman, met United fans in person in June 2021 and outlined his intentions to invest heavily in all aspects of the club and strengthen fan representation in decision-making.

Last week, Jim Ratcliffe, the majority shareholder of chemicals group Ineos and one of Britain’s richest men, expressed interest in buying United, shortly after Elon Musk tweeted — in jest, it turned out — that he wanted to do the same.

United won the last of a record 20 Premier League titles in 2013, the year of the retirement of great manager Alex Ferguson. In recent years, United’s two biggest rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool, have dominated the home field.

United have not won a major trophy in five seasons, their worst run since the early 1980s, despite the club having spent $1.5 billion on players since 2013.

United’s latest signing, Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, arrived at Old Trafford earlier on Monday ahead of the Liverpool match and was presented by fans on the pitch before kick-off as the club confirmed his transfer. He is reportedly worth $60 million, with the club scrambling to sign players in the final days of the transfer window.

This season also got off to a bad start under Eric ten Haag, the fifth manager after Ferguson. There are already question marks in the Dutch coach’s tactics and team selection.

The future of star striker Ronaldo is also uncertain after he pushed for an exit during the off-season because United failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Ronaldo was dropped to the bench for the match against Liverpool along with club captain Harry Maguire.

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