The Manchester United executive vice-chairman, Joel Glazer, has conceded that his family’s silence has given fans the impression they do not care about the club.
Glazer made the admission in a two-hour meeting with the United fans’ forum earlier this month, the minutes of which have now been published. The meeting was arranged after the club’s involvement in the short-lived European Super League project sparked a fresh wave of protests against the Glazer family.
“We always took the approach that we should stay in the background [and] let the manager, the players, the people at Old Trafford, be the ones out in front, communicating and talking,” said Glazer. “In retrospect, that was not the right approach and there’s a middle ground.”
The 54-year-old added: “Our silence wrongly created the impression that we don’t care, that we aren’t football fans, that we only care about our commercial interests and money. I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth.”
He was told by one United supporter the club had become a “laughing stock”. Glazer also said he was well aware of the strong criticism aimed at the owning family from people such as Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender who is now a prominent media pundit.
“I know Gary has been, to say the least, pretty hard on us, and it’s OK. Everybody has their views,” Glazer said. “There’s two ways to look at it – you can just shut the person out because they’re not saying something nice about you. Or you can pause, you can listen. You can’t ignore people, we have got to listen.
“You can’t necessarily accomplish everything, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes things are a little more complex, but Gary’s a legend. Gary did so much for this club. Gary has good ideas, good thoughts, and they’re heard.”
Glazer set out plans to create a new fan advisory board which would consult with the club’s senior leadership on a regular basis. Discussions with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust over a proposed fan share ownership scheme would also be stepped up.
“With these two initiatives, which would just be the beginning, we feel we can reset the relationship with our supporters, strengthen the club as a whole and do bigger and better things,” Glazer added.
Heaton to join United with Sancho talks ongoing
Tom Heaton is set to rejoin Manchester United after being released by Aston Villa. The goalkeeper will undergo his medical this week before signing a contract until June 2023, with an option for a further season.
Heaton joined United as a youth player in 2002 and stayed at Old Trafford until 2010, but was loaned out six times and did not make a first-team appearance. The 35-year-old is expected to provide backup for Dean Henderson and David de Gea after Lee Grant’s departure this summer.
Manchester United also resumed contact with Jadon Sancho’s representatives over the weekend. Negotiations are continuing with Borussia Dortmund on their €95m (£85.1m) asking price, bonus details and payment structure. United had a £67m bid (€78m) for the England winger turned down last week. Fabrizio Romano