Man United violence the peak of toxic fan-owner relationship

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PA Wire

Fans hold up banners as they protest against the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, before their Premier League match against Liverpool at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Sunday, May 2, 2021. (Barrington Coombs/PA via AP)

MANCHESTER – The storming of Old Trafford crystalized 16 years of disconnect between Manchester United fans and its distant ownership.

While choosing not to engage with the supporters who are the lifeblood of any club, the Glazer family can't have avoided seeing the levels of rage against them on Sunday. Not when it led to the unprecedented postponement of an English Premier League game due to fan unrest, especially one of the biggest matches of the season between United and Liverpool.

Three months after celebrating success in the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazers' ill-fated bid to lead United into a European Super League made their relationship with fans in England more toxic than ever before.

That led to co-owner Joel Glazer insisting he was “committed to rebuilding trust with our fans,” but there was no sign of that happening in the 10 days between the open letter and Sunday's protests.

THE PROTESTS

A rabble of more than 100 fans was able to stand on the field setting off flares after breaching the biosecure perimeter of the stadium. Outside, thousands of more supporters spent two hours crammed onto the concourse demanding the Glazers sell the club.

Even though officers eventually managed to disperse the crowd just before the scheduled kickoff — with a combination of force using batons and a charge of police horses — the Premier League abandoned any hope of playing the game.

ORIGINS OF ANGER