Joel Glazer apologises to Manchester United fans for Super League and vows to ‘rebuild trust’

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Lawrence Ostlere
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer has written a letter to supporters apologising for the Super League scandal and promising to “rebuild trust” with the club’s fanbase.

Glazer is understood to have been a key driver in the plans for a European Super League, which attempted to transform elite football into something closer to an American franchise model without promotion and relegation, undermining football’s traditions of open competition.

The project collapsed on Wednesday morning after Chelsea and Manchester City pulled out and other clubs soon followed, but not before great damage had been done.

Gary Neville called for the Glazers to “sell the club and leave the country” after their role at the heart of the plot to break away from Uefa and form their own league.

In his letter, Glazer admitted “we got it wrong”.

“You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

“Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.”

He added: “In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions –promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.

However, in a line which should concern not just Manchester United supporters but football fans in general, Glazer seemed to suggest he still wanted to reform the game which he has shown such disdain for in recent days.

“We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.

“In the background, you can be sure that we will be taking the necessary steps to rebuild relationships with other stakeholders across the game, with a view to working together on solutions to the long-term challenges facing the football pyramid.”

The Glazers bought the club in 2005 in a deal leveraged by more than £500m of debt which continues to saddle the club today. The buyout was smoothed by financier Ed Woodward, who the Glazers then employed at United and who has now resigned following the Super League debacle.

Joel Glazer’s open letter

To all Manchester United supporters,

Over the past few days, we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club.

You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.

We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.

In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions –promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.

This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.

It is important for us to put that right.

Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values.

The pandemic has thrown up so many unique challenges and we are proud of the way Manchester United and its fans from Manchester and around the world have reacted to the enormous pressures during this period.

We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club.

In the background, you can be sure that we will be taking the necessary steps to rebuild relationships with other stakeholders across the game, with a view to working together on solutions to the long-term challenges facing the football pyramid.

Right now, our priority is to continue to support all of our teams as they push for the strongest possible finish to the season.

In closing, I would like to recognise that it is your support which makes this club so great, and we thank you for that.

With best regards,

Joel Glazer

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