Frustrated Manchester United fans hand Glazer family a deadline for a resolution to the much delayed fans’ share scheme
According to the Daily Mail, disgruntled Manchester fans have given the club’s owners, the Glazer family, a deadline of April 18 to find a resolution to the proposed fans’ share scheme, which has been much delayed.
Since 2005, the Glazer family has been a majority shareholder in the club, effectively becoming the owners of one of the biggest football clubs in the world as they added to their portfolio of major sporting teams across the globe.
Last season’s highly controversial European Super League protest saw the Glazers budge and promise United fans, particularly the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), about setting up a fans’ share scheme. This would give supporters a ‘meaningful ownership stake’ in the Red Devils.
The idea of the club joining the elite European Super League was met with heavy protests all across the country, with United fans also involved. The successful opposition met by clubs from their own fans saw the proposed competition fall away, and the Old Trafford side vowed to build a better relationship with fans and launched a fan advisory board in December.
Massive share scheme plans
The fans’ share scheme is important for both supporters and the Glazers. While the club owners see the scheme as the most significant gesture to improve relations with fans, the supporters view it as a way to be regarded as part-owners of their beloved club. The scheme involves a new class of fan shares, each with the same high-vote rights as the B shares held by the Glazer family.
It is said that an amount that totals around £7.5m has been earmarked for fans by the Red Devils, with the club listed on the New York Stock Exchange. MUST, however, said that United had not yet made a proposal to them that is sufficiently acceptable to allow it to go to the next stage, which would be a members’ ballot.
The Glazers and fans have had a rocky relationship right from the start, with supporters unwilling to back the new club owners who seemingly looked at United as a cash cow rather than willingly look after the side and care for its needs.
The American owners have not been afraid to splash the cash on players, however, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, and Jadon Sancho all joining the team the previous summer. These are world-class players who have proven their worth in Europe, and the Glazers made sure that it was their club that secured these stars.
Off the field, however, problems continue for the family as co-chairman Joel Glazer’s promise last June about the fans’ share scheme being ready to go at the start of this season is still pending. MUST warned them that it is ‘inconceivable’ there is no definitive action taken before the anniversary of the Super League announcement.
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This campaign, on the football pitch, the team are in danger of missing out on a Champions League qualification spot at the end of the season as United currently sit in sixth position, battling Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, and West Ham United for fourth place, with the north London clubs having a game in hand. Hopefully, a strong finish on the field, keeps supporters happy, even if the Glazers do not.
This is, after all, just another way for fans to be in touch with the club’s functioning a bit more. The influx of money into football, especially in the last three decades, has seen supporters lose that intimate touch with their clubs. With the fan share scheme, it would be changed, be it to a small extent.