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Manchester United fans issue open letter to Glazer family posing 'five key questions'

Glazers Out Movement demands answers from ownership in online protest

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Monday 29 July 2019 19:36 BST
Manchester United train in Australia on pre-season tour

Disgruntled Manchester United supporters have stepped up their online campaign against the club’s ownership by writing an open letter to the Glazer family.

The letter, penned by a group calling itself the Glazers Out Movement (GOM) and co-signed by a number of influential United social media accounts, follows a similar Twitter campaign held earlier this summer.

The Glazers’ leveraged takeover of United in 2005 was financed by loans which loaded around £525m debt onto club, leading to protests, rancour and division among supporters.

The Florida-based family have been accused of draining more than £1bn from United in interest, costs and dividends over the years since. As recently as March of this year, United’s net debt stood at £301.7m.

In the open letter, GOM pose ‘five key questions’ to the Glazers regarding their debt repayment plan, reducing interest fees, the club’s flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, the salary of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and United’s ongoing search for a technical director.

“Manchester United fans deserve to know the answers to these questions,” the letter reads. “Every fan has a right to know the character and conduct of their owners and every fan has a right to challenge their owners if they believe it’s in the best interests of their football club.

“Protests against your ownership have come and gone, but now enough is enough. We are not going away this time. We will not sit in the dark any longer whilst you pretend we don’t exist.”

Hostility towards the Glazers has ebbed and flowed since the 2005 takeover. This latest bout of disaffection follows a poor season on-the-pitch, when United failed to qualify for the Champions League for the third time in six years.

United have spent a combined £68m on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James in the months since in a bid to improve on last season's sixth-place Premier League finish, with further arrivals possible before the summer transfer window closes next Thursday.

The club can point to the hiring of legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager and the re-adoption of a fast, counter-attacking style of play as evidence of those at the helm staying true to time-honoured values, but a poor start to the campaign could cause more discontent.

It remains to be seen whether the online protests lead to significant direct action inside and around Old Trafford, as was the case prior to Glazers’ takeover in 2005 and then again with the ‘green and gold’ protests of 2010.

An attempted demonstration outside the United stadium last month failed when only a handful of dissenting fans attended. GOM did not organise that particular protest, though the group is understood to be planning other forms of action ahead of the forthcoming season.

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