Glazer plans talks with Man Utd fans

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May 8, 2021
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    Fans opposing the GlazersFeelings against the Glazers have run high in the last couple of weeks

    Co-chairman Joel Glazer is planning his first meaningful discussions with Manchester United fans since his family bought the club in 2005.

    Glazer has issued a lengthy response to four key demands included in an open letter by the club's supporters' trust last Friday, and restated in the wake of Sunday's protests that led to the postponement of the Premier League game against Liverpool.

    In his letter, Glazer again apologised for United's behaviour around the scrapped European Super League concept.

    He also acknowledged "the need for change" with how the club consults with fans.

    "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.

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    BBC Sport understands the letter was a culmination of intense discussions within the club throughout the week and has been told there is a deep belief the Glazer family are committed to change.

    The priority will be to set up a meeting between Glazer and the Fans' Forum as soon as the season is over.

    United play Villarreal in the Europa League final on 26 May. It is understood the meeting will be held after that.

    The supporters' trust's four-point plan had asked for the club to take part in the government's fan-led review of football governance and appoint independent directors to the board.

    It also wants the club to work with supporters on a fan share scheme and consult season-ticket holders on any significant changes at the club.

    The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), one of the bodies represented on the Fans' Forum and who sent the initial letter to the Glazers, said judgement would be based on actions rather than words.

    "We have seen empty words too many times previously," it said.

    In his 16-paragraph letter, Glazer said: "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."

    In addition, he committed to working with former Sports Minister Tracy Crouch on the fan-led review of football governance, which some observers feel will deliver the kind of changes many supporters have been looking for.

    The letter comes at the end of a turbulent few weeks at Old Trafford, which has overshadowed what has turned into a decent season on the pitch, with a likely second-place Premier League finish and a Europa League final.

    Whether the latest development is enough to prevent more protests before the rearranged game with Liverpool on Thursday remains to be seen.

    MUST has said it will consult with members before it agrees to talks.

    "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," said MUST.

    "Our goals remain the same. We want a new Manchester United, with a meaningful shareholding for supporters and a meaningful say in key areas. This is our objective, and there will be no let up until we get there."

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