Manchester United hoping new Erik ten Hag era will quell protests against Glazers
James DuckerTelegraph Media Group Limited
Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold hopes a new era under Erik ten Hag will quell fan unrest next season amid the threat of more anti-Glazer demonstrations.
United’s final three home games were played out against a backdrop of protests and supporter fury at the American owners as the club endured their worst season in the 30 years of the Premier League. The 1958 fans’ group behind the demonstrations says it is planning “constant, relentless” protests against the Glazers and is championing boycotts of sponsors, such as adidas and TeamViewer.
Arnold, who took over as chief executive in February from Ed Woodward, said fans’ frustrations were shared “very intensely” within the club and that last season was unacceptable after the team finished 35 points behind champions Manchester City and without a trophy for the fifth year running.
But, while insisting that the club respected the right of supporters to “make their feelings known”, Arnold urged them to direct all their energy into supporting Ten Hag. “We are very aware of how fans are feeling and understand their concerns and frustration,” Arnold told United’s latest fans’ forum meeting.
“I would very much hope that all fans within Old Trafford approach next season with renewed optimism and confidence as we look forward to a fresh start under Erik ten Hag.
“We have the best fans in the world and when Old Trafford is at its loudest we have a significant advantage against our opponents. I hope this unrivalled passion will be used to support the team and the new manager as we start this exciting new chapter together.”
However, the news yesterday that the Glazers were set to pocket around £11m (€13m) in dividends next month, despite losses for the three months to March 31 hitting £27.7m (€32.5m) and the wage bill rising almost 20pc, is only likely to antagonise angry fans. The club’s net debt has also increased by nearly 12pc to £496m (€583m).
United face a huge rebuilding job, with major surgery required in key positions and doubts over the futures of around a dozen players.