Manchester United supporters have always been divided when it comes to their opinions on the manager, on each player within the squad or on what issues need fixing within the football club.
However, they have shown stability with one another on their comments and thoughts on the club’s owners, the Glazers, especially since after they secretly accepted to join the European Super League around this time last year. The Old Trafford faithful went on to making their voices heard at the biggest game of the season at home to Liverpool, by protesting outside the stadium, breaking through the security to enter the pitch, and sending out a firm message to their American owners.
Now, going through another season without competing for a single title or trophy, the fans of Manchester United are fed up with the consistent campaigns of zero silverware and the fact that Joel Glazer, the co-chairman of the club, has been unsuccessful to live up to his words of working on rebuilding the trust of the supporters once again, following his apology letter from 21st April 2021.
From the #GlazersOut hashtags on social media to “Glazers going to die” chants on a regular basis at the football matches, the owners must take the situation seriously, understanding what they have done wrong and work towards making peace with the fanbase. As without them, the Glazers and Manchester United would not be in the position where they are today as an individual or collective.
We investigate four things the Glazers can do to get the full support of the United supporters…
Back the manager through the good and bad
The Glazers and their shortage of footballing knowledge has led to the result of failing to build a long-term relationship with the manager in charge. From buying players without the approval of the coach to neglecting the transfer demands put forward by the manager for the last eight years, has caused Manchester United to appoint five different managers and spend around £1.2billion in transfer fees without a single Premier League title or Champions League trophy to show for.
Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the owners have had constant issues with every single coach that has arrived at Old Trafford, with the main problem of not providing them with the much-needed support over the toxic dressing room, leading to their inevitable sacking, as seen with Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. If the manager does not have the freedom to stamp their authority and control on the squad, the chances of succeeding in modern football is very limited.
With player power continuing to rise in the current era of football, coaches require assurance from the owners, that they are given full support when dealing with difficult individuals. On top of that, managers expect their transfer requirements to be met by the board, which can be seen as an issue, as the minority of top clubs in Europe tend to make signings for commercial and marketing reasons.
Prioritise football success over financial success
Manchester United are without a doubt one of the biggest clubs in football, despite how much they have declined and fallen behind from their rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, over the last five to ten years. However, majority of the side’s success the last decade under previous executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has been off the pitch through sponsorship and commercial contract deals.
The Glazers have shown their lack of ambition and intent from time to time, where they have spent more money on transfers when finishing outside of the top four positions than in the Champions League spots. At the time where Louis van Gaal deserved to be backed financially and vocally, the owners decided to sack him a few days after winning the FA Cup with a below-par squad. Not only that, Mourinho was given minimal support in his final year at the club, with the signings of just Diogo Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant, and he was relieved off his duties halfway through the 2018/19 season.
Since the Glazers had placed the football club on the New York stock exchange in 2012, they have been receiving hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends and from selling shares, as the owners have been making a lot of decisions for financial purposes and not for football-related intentions.
Renovate Old Trafford into a modern stadium
Old Trafford has been at the heart of many magical moments and special memories for the Manchester United supporters. However, the present characteristics and features of the stadium are very outdated and the facilities at the theatre of dreams are quite limited, preventing the biggest ground in the Premier League to be utilised in major football tournaments and for sporting events.
The home of the Red Devils is constantly regarded as rusty and rotten, as a lot of complaints has been made about Old Trafford over the last couple of years, including a leaky roof, ageing railings and stairs and the seating area being crammed up together. The Glazers lack of care towards the stadium and lack of appearances at the ground sums up their limited involvement for the club.
The easiest option for the owners would be to make a short-term investment and renovate the South stand area, where the redevelopment would increase the stadium capacity to 88,000. Though, if Joel Glazer and his family were to show serious intentions of knocking the ground down and rebuilding a completely new stadium, they would be on their way to winning over the supporters.
Place a balance wage structure to manage the squad
Manchester United’s dearth of wage structure has played a pivotal role to where the dressing room currently stands. Given that the board are unable to provide any certainties to potential signings of winning silverware, they have no other option but to offer high wages, as Cristiano Ronaldo is on £510,000 a week, Jadon Sancho is on £350,000 a week and Raphael Varane is on £350,000 a week.
These three players arrived at Old Trafford last summer, a trio of well-known individuals who were competing effectively for silverware at their previous club and were not close to the weekly salary that they are on today. Furthermore, Bruno Fernandes has had his contract extended recently and his wage doubled to £280,000 a week, leaving the club with one of the highest wage bills in Europe.
Without a wage structure in place, United will continue to have difficulties with offloading their deadwood players to mid-table teams, who cannot offer large sum of wages or the transfer fees that the club demands, as they have witnessed with Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard. A suggestion would be to have a wage budget for different bracket of players whilst offering high bonuses.