Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United fans have a right to voice their anger over the European Super League, but insists his players will remain focused ahead of Sunday’s clash with rivals Liverpool.
A protest is planned ahead of the game at Old Trafford, with many fans still angry and overwhelmed by their club’s role as one of the founding members of the proposed Separatist League.
While Solskjaer recognizes the strength of sentiment among the fans, he is keen for it to be business as usual on the pitch as United look to consolidate second place in the Premier League.
“It is important that the opinions of the fans are heard and that we communicate better,” Solskjaer said ahead of Sunday’s game, live on Sky Sports, in which United can secure a top-four position with the victory.
“My job is to focus on the football and make sure we have the best team possible. I have been supported and have had great support from the club and the owners and I am sure I will have again the support to take a step further.
“I am so happy that all clubs have agreed that this should not be the way forward.
“When protests continue, it is important that they go the right way and that we keep the peace.
“The players are focused on the game and nothing else. They’ve dealt with difficult situations before. It was a strange week before the Leeds game after the Super League announcement.
“But I’m not worried for a second that our minds aren’t turned to football. As you saw in the [Europa League] semi, players are completely focused on performance. “
Man Utd fans remain unhappy with owners
The Manchester United Fan Forum met with the club’s representatives on Friday morning and left them with no doubts that their anger over the proposed Super League and United’s role in it has not subsided.
“We have no confidence in the owners of the club, nor confidence in them to uphold these statements and do not believe that they understand or really care about the great traditions and values of our club,” they said in a press release read. outside.
“If we are wrong and they are serious in recognizing their responsibilities and want to learn from fan messages, we look forward to you all proving it by taking immediate and decisive action to protect the future interests of the club.”
They also asked the club to agree to five key points going forward.
“We, the fan representatives of the Manchester United Fans’ Forum and on behalf of Manchester United fans all over the world, ask you to accept:
1. Voluntarily and openly initiate and promote the government-initiated fan-led review of football and take the opportunity to rebalance the current ownership structure in favor of supporters and not approach this review defensively to fight for status quo
2. Appoint independent directors to the board whose sole purpose is to protect the interests of the club as a football club, and not its shareholders and their focus on profits rather than results.
3. Collaborate with the Manchester United Supporters Trust and its supporters more broadly to set up a shareholding system accessible to all and comprising shares with the same voting rights as those held by the Glazer family
4. Commit to fully consulting season ticket holders on any material changes affecting the future of our club, including the competitions in which we participate.
5. Provide a commitment from Joel Glazer that all costs incurred in connection with the creation or withdrawal of the European Super League will be funded solely by the Glazer family and not by the club itself. We note that the Kroenke family has already made this commitment to Arsenal fans.
“We request a written response to the above points within seven days.”
The statement also made it clear that they did not accept Joel Glazer’s apology for his role in the Super League saga.
He said: “Joel Glazer’s subsequent apologies are not accepted. Actions speak louder than words and he and his family have shown time and again that their only motivation is personal gain at the expense of our football club.”
They also cited big club Sir Matt Busby, who warned Manchester United over 50 years ago not to sacrifice their footballing heritage for financial gain.
“I hope we never sacrifice our sporting principles on the altar of big business,” Busby said in 1970.
“We must prevent a football club from ever being run like a supermarket with the sole real motive of profit.
“The fear is that the big business of football will overshadow the sport.”
Woodward: Man Utd ‘will not seek to revive Super League plans’
At the start of the meeting, United Executive Vice President Ed Woodward, who will step down at the end of the year, made the following remarks:
“Welcome everyone to today’s Fan Forum meeting and thank you for taking the time to be here on short notice.
“I hope that – despite the current issues – we all enjoyed last night’s performance and outcome, which once again demonstrated the progress made under Ole.
“Obviously, it was important to convene the forum on short notice to give you the opportunity to express your views and discuss recent events.
“We are going to provide as many answers as possible today, but most importantly we want to listen. It is clear that we did not do enough before the Super League decision. Today is our first not to correct this.
“You will all have read Joel’s open letter to fans last week apologizing for the Super League decision and I would like to add my personal apologies to this forum.
“I know you will feel angry and disappointed at the lack of consultation and how the proposal failed to recognize the vital principle of open competition. A good discussion would have helped us to avoid the mistake we have made. committed.
“While there would have been a substantial increase in solidarity payments from major clubs to the rest of the pyramid across Europe, we fully admit that there were some fundamentals that were poorly assessed.
“As Joel said last week, we have not given enough weight to the core principles and traditions of sporting merit which are so vital to football not only in national competition but in European competition since the mid-1980s. 1950s.
“We want to reaffirm our commitment to these traditions. I can assure you that we have learned from the events of last week and that we are not looking to revive Super League plans.
“Manchester United are fortunate to be in a relatively stronger position than many clubs because of the resilience of our autonomous model.
“We have a disciplined, long-term approach that has allowed us to navigate the pandemic, while continuing to invest in the team, which we will continue to do this summer.
“We will now continue to work with the rest of the football community to address the long term challenges facing football.
“But I can assure you that we will do so with great sensitivity to the opinions that you and the other fans have expressed over the past few days.
“We will listen carefully to your comments today, and will remove them for consideration as we consider how we can more effectively engage with you in the future.
“Thank you again for the passion you show for our club and for your service at this extremely important forum.
As Joel said last week, our fans are what makes Manchester United so great, and they should always be at the heart of this club. “