Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher issued a passionate and forthright response to Manchester United supporters making their presence felt at Old Trafford.
Thousands of fans descended upon the United stadium to protest against the Glazer family after the controversial European Super League fiasco.
The Glazers put the Red Devils forward as a ‘founding member’ for a tournament that was set to create a closed shop at the top of European football.
Sky Sports were live from within the ground, moments after hundreds of people gained access and made their way onto the pitch.
Here’s everything Neville (GN) and Carragher (JC) said on the demonstration itself, the ESL plans and the club’s owners.
Reaction to the protest
GN: “You know what’s at the heart of it, this is the consequence of the owners of Manchester United’s actions two weeks ago.
“Obviously there’s a general disgust and dislike of the owners of this football club, but they weren’t protesting two or three weeks ago before this happened.
“Generally, the Glazer family along with a number of other families of football owners in this country were conniving and scheming behind the rest of football’s back to walk away with the crown jewels and today we’ve seen people protest at that and the fact this game is delayed is because of that.”
JC: “The frustration with the ownership and I must say I’m obviously a Liverpool supporter in this stadium with Manchester United fans coming past me, but I do think in this situation, football rivalry goes out of this.
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“Listen, it’s been peaceful, there’s no problem in the stadium, I’m unsure about outside the stadium, but it’s been a peaceful protest. They’re very unhappy with their owners, not just of what they’re doing in terms of buying a striker, or buying a player in the summer, I think as supporters and how they’ve been treated at this club and how they’ve gone about it.
“The frustration comes from that and it’s obviously heightened with what happened with the Super League. Yes, we all want to see a game of football, we don’t want to see any trouble but I can’t stand here and have a go at Manchester United fans.
“My own supporters, Liverpool, probably 10 or 15 years ago were doing these type of things, marching outside of stadiums to get rid of Hicks and Gillett.
“I would not have a go at any Manchester United fan as long as it’s peaceful and there’s no trouble. Football means a lot for a lot of people and Manchester as much as anybody. A peaceful protest and they’ve only got themselves to blame, the ownership.”
GN: “Look, I’ve never thought they were brilliant owners but I have seen in football that there are worse owners than the Glazer family.
“However, I think all football fans should unite today behind what Manchester United fans have done because honestly, what they did two weeks ago was really dangerous for English football, we must not forget that.
“They tried to create a famine two weeks ago in English football, in Dutch football, in German football, in French football, all over Europe. Those 15 clubs would have walked away from their leagues with their money and basically destroyed the ethos of the pyramid of relegation and promotion in English football, so that’s number one.
“It’s unforgivable what they did as a family two weeks ago. I get Graeme’s point around them paying themselves dividends. We could go around the chippy tomorrow, make a bid, they could sell it, we own a chippy and the local public might not be happy with the new chips they’re getting, I get that principle of a free market.
“However, the Glazer family two weeks ago tried to implement something that would have damaged every single community in this country that has football at the heart of it. That’s why they’re dangerous – Perez is dangerous, Laporta, Agnelli are all dangerous to the concept of equal opportunity and fair play. Today there is anger, I would hope tomorrow it switches to mobilisation and reform, regulation and behind a fan-led review.
“I might be a bit naive here, but when I spoke two weeks ago about these football clubs, Manchester United and Liverpool, they should act like the Grandfather of English football, demonstrating compassion, spreading their wealth through the family, their experience and being fair.
“They haven’t done, they’ve demonstrated self-greed and tried to walk away with all the money themselves and left their family struggling below. That is not what you do at this football club or at Liverpool Football Club, so whether the Glazer family has been good or bad, what happened two weeks ago is not acceptable and an apology is not good enough.
“Joel Glazer saying he wants to rebuild the trust with the fans of this club, he never had the trust, he’s never spoken to them, he’s never said a word. Today, we can be angry, the game may not go ahead, they’ve protested peacefully and we have to accept that you’re allowed to protest in this country and it’s every person’s right.
“But tomorrow is about reform and regulation because there are six or seven people within English football that have it under their control and that control has to be taken away from them.”
GN: “Let’s talk about FSG a little bit. They’ve been part of four things in the past 12 months which are desperate signs, they’re acting desperately behind the scenes.
“They furloughed their players, that is very un-Liverpool-like, they tried to cut their wages behind the scenes, they’ve gone for the Project Big Picture and tried to change the 14 and six rule in English football.
“Now, along with the Glazers, they’ve tried to create a Super League. These are desperate actions from the owners of Liverpool Football Club. I think they’re struggling at the moment, through Covid obviously, economic issues like loads of businesses have all around the world, but they’re acting desperately.
“At this moment in time, I accept that Manchester United fans are angrier with the Glazers than Liverpool fans are, but the Liverpool fans need to see the danger of what FSG are doing because they are acting desperately behind the scenes.”
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