Joel Glazer has written of his ambition to transform Manchester United’s relationship with fans and increase investment in Old Trafford in a personal letter to our Fans’ Forum.
The Executive Co-Chairman said the club wanted to work with the Forum “to come up with an ambitious package of measures which will transform our relationship with fans and strengthen the club for the long-term”.
Glazer said he would personally meet the Forum as soon as possible after the end of the season as part of an improved dialogue process. He also committed to further strengthening of the team and increased investment in the stadium and training ground.
“We have supported sustained investment in the team over many years, and that will continue this summer,” he said. “We recognise that we will need to significantly increase investment in Old Trafford and our training complex to ensure that the club’s facilities remain among the best in Europe.”
Glazer was writing in response to a letter from Fans’ Forum members last week which called for increased consultation with fans following the controversy around the abandoned plans for a European Super League.
He reiterated his apology “for the mistakes that were made” when we initially agreed to join 11 other leading European clubs in backing the new competition, before quickly withdrawing our support.
“I want to reassure you that my family and I care deeply about Manchester United and feel a profound sense of responsibility to protect and enhance its strength for the long-term, while respecting its values and traditions,” he said.
“Our top priority is, and will always be, competing for the most important trophies, playing entertaining football with a team comprised of top-quality recruits and some of the world’s best homegrown talent. Under Ole, we feel we are absolutely on the right track.”
Glazer said he was “personally humbled” by the Forum members’ “heartfelt” letter explaining their anger over the Super League and made clear the club had to “become better listeners”.
“I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in,” he said. “We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle.
“We remain committed to working with the wider football community to make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long-term, and we will now refocus our efforts on doing this within the existing structures of UEFA and the Premier League.”
Glazer said the club would “willingly and openly engage” with the fan-led review of football recently announced by the UK government, “with the aim of putting fans at the heart of the game and ensuring their interests are advanced and protected”.
In particular, he highlighted the club’s support for the principle of fans owning shares in Manchester United.
“We have previously engaged with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust on fan share ownership and we want to continue and accelerate those discussions, together with provisions to enhance associated fan consultation,” he said.
The Fans’ Forum includes representatives from across the breadth of our match-going fan base, including Season Ticket holders, Members, Official Supporters’ Clubs, Family Stand fans, Over 65s, disabled supporters, and local residents.
Glazer said the Forum was “a vital channel for consultation” and he was personally committed to strengthening it.
“Your heartfelt letter captured the unique spirit of Manchester United,” he added, “forged through decades of triumph, adversity and tragedy, and still powerfully present in today’s exciting team under Ole and the vibrant fanbase which you represent.”