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Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer gave a short and snappy reply in a tense exchange with the Daily Mirror’s Christopher Bucktin when asked whether he and his family will be selling the club following the fallout of United’s failed attempt to form part of the European Super League (ESL).
The United owners have faced a fierce backlash for their involvement in the ESL plot, which was an attempted 20-team breakaway league designed to rival UEFA’s Champions League.
The Red Devils joined their ‘Big Six’ Premier League rivals Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham in signing up alongside six clubs from Spain and Italy, with the Glazers claimed to have been among the chief architects behind the scheme.
The doomed project collapsed spectacularly inside 48 hours – although Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are still clinging on – amid a furious reaction from supporters of all six English clubs involved, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has since resigned, with reports claiming he disagreed with his superiors.
Woodward, who won’t actually leave his post until later this year, said publicly that he feels “huge remorse” over the Super League discussions and declared his role in the plot as “one of the biggest mistakes” of his professional career.
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Joel Glazer meanwhile wrote an open letter to the United fanbase on Wednesday in which he apologised “unreservedly” and said that he is “personally committed to rebuilding trust” with fans.
He added: “We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club.”
The Glazers have owned United since 2005 but have had little communication with supporters since then, for which they have been heavily criticised.
But when approached by the Daily Mirror in Florida, Avram Glazer was less willing to discuss recent events and when asked to apologise to supporters similarly to his brother Joel, reportedly stayed quiet.
Mirror reporter Bucktin then asked Avram: “Are you now going to sell the club Mr Glazer, as it’s clear you have no understanding of your club’s supporters or British fans?” But the 60-year-old, who also owns NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, snapped back to say only “no comment” before driving off.
European Super League: Owners 'have broken' fans' trust
Club legend Gary Neville has been among those to call for the Glazers to part ways with United and said on Sky Sports: “They attacked every single football fan in this country with what they did. The Glazers have no place in Manchester anymore.”
Protests were held against the family’s ownership on Thursday in Manchester as groups of supporters blocked both entrances to the club’s Carrington training ground.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressed the angry group of around 20 protestors, holding up banners among which read ‘Glazers out’, ‘51%’ and ‘We decide when you play.’
The Norwegian admitted in a press conference on Friday: “I will always listen to the fans and I thought it was the only right thing to do, to listen to them and talk to them and have a nice discussion with them, a peaceful discussion, because it’s important that we respect each other’s views.
“I said a few things about what I think the team will do in the future. What we spoke about, we don’t need to go into that. It was a good 10 minutes and I was happy with that. I gave a fist bump and then we parted.”
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Solskjaer also backed the Glazers and said of his relationship with the United owners: “I’m so happy that all the owners, all the clubs involved agreed that this was a mistake.
“I’ve always had a good working relationship with the club and the owners. Of course behind the walls of the building we speak, they listened to my opinions and we’re working to move Man United forward, of course.”
Two of the Red Knights consortium who sought to buy United a decade ago however want reform at the club including greater supporter input on the board.
Lord O’Neill and Sir Paul Marshall wrote to Joel Glazer asking for his family to sell their stake down to 49.9 per cent and create a supervisory board to give fans 50 per cent plus one controlling votes.
“If your stated desire to rebuild trust is sincere, these proposals are the minimum steps you should choose to make,” the letter, published by Sky News, read.
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