Gary Neville has called for reform in English football
Gary Neville has said Manchester United fans have sent a “warning” to the owners of the club after their Premier League match against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday following a pitch invasion at Old Trafford.
Thousands of supporters gathered outside the stadium hours before the scheduled 4.30pm kick-off in protest of the Glazer family’s ownership, while a group of around a hundred fans made their way onto the pitch.
Fans also blocked the United team bus outside the city’s Lowry Hotel before the fixture was postponed shortly before 5.45pm.
The protests came in the wake of United’s involvement in the proposed Super League two weeks ago, which was backed by the Glazer family. Plans for the breakaway competition were scrapped following a fierce fan backlash, which has reignited the United’s fans protest against the Glazers, who have owned the club since 2005.
Supporters rejected an apology from the club’s co-owner Joel Glazer on Friday for their part in the Super League proposals, with plans for action ahead of the Liverpool match on Sunday already in place.
“I think it’s a warning to the owners of the football club that ultimately they’re not going to accept what they’ve done over the past couple of weeks,” former United defender Neville said on Sky Sports.
“We don’t quite know the extent of what’s happened outside the ground. We know fans came into the ground and they were reasonably peaceful, but if there has been disturbances outside then that’s not something I think is acceptable.
“But the reality is that a game has been called off today and the fans have spoken. The fans spoke out a couple of weeks ago about this proposal, and there was a U-turn from the owners of the six clubs in this country, and it’s not going to go away.
“I don’t think [Manchester United fans] trust the owners of this club. They don’t like them, they think they should leave.
“I think beyond today it should be about reform and regulation, and making sure [the owners] can’t do it again.
“Protesting is the right of every person in this country to do. We must retain that element of being able to protest, but I think beyond today it’s about making sure the fans of clubs across the country unite to ensure that there is reform in English football.
“Today will have been a waste of time unless there is reform in English football.”
A small number of United fans breached the club’s training base at Carrington last week, while there were reports of a ‘minor instance of abuse’ at the home of vice chief-executive Ed Woodward.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had urged fans to keep their protests “peaceful” and “in a good fashion” on Friday.
A Premier League statement on Sunday read: “Following the security breach at Old Trafford, the Manchester United vs. Liverpool game has been postponed.
“We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches. Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.”
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