Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer
Gary Neville has condemned Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer for not going far enough in his commitments to supporters during a fans forum.
Glazer attended the forum for the first time in the family’s 16-year ownership of the club in an effort to smooth relations with fans following years of unpaid debt and the recent Super League debacle.
Over two and a half hours, Glazer fielded questions on their running of the club and announced details around a new Fan Advisory Board and fans’ share scheme, both designed to hand more decision-making power over to supporters.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (Must) said it was “cautious” about the proposals, and Neville was outspoken in his concerns.
“My Fans Forum Comments,” Neville tweeted, before listing a five-point critique, which read: “Should have committed to paying debt down over next 5 years; no dividends for 5 years; minimum yearly investment into team for 5 years; missed an opportunity to show a new OT [Old Trafford] and Training ground vision; more detail on fan share scheme required.”
The former United defender turned pundit was one of the most outspoken media personalities against the Super League and the clubs behind it, including heavy criticism for United’s ownership despite his historical reluctance to criticise them.
Glazer insisted the meeting had been constructive and was the first step to a more positive relationship between the club’s hierarchy and its fans.
“I was pleased to join the fans forum to listen to the views of supporters, address their questions, and share ideas on how we can improve the way we work together,” said Glazer. “As owners, we want exactly the same thing as the fans – a successful team and a strong club – and we want to work in partnership to achieve those objectives.”
Must said: “Despite the huge concession on voting rights that this proposal signals as ever the devil is always in the detail.
“In particular, despite Joel Glazer’s assertion that this will be ‘the largest fan ownership group in world sport’, MUST is concerned that there is a risk that the scheme will limit the number of such fan shares made available so reducing the opportunity for this to achieve a meaningful collective fan ownership stake – and ultimately with the potential to result in a change in control of the club.”
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