Today Joel Glazer held a fan forum to engage with Manchester United supporters. The forum was held virtually, with representatives of United fan groups involved. Glazer promised this forum, it must be remembered, amid huge pressure from supporters which came down on the club’s sponsors.
A Twitter user who was on the call has spoke about being “cautiously optimistic”;
Manchester United has set out its vision for a new era of dialogue and consultation with fans, including the creation of a Fan Advisory Board and a Fan Share Scheme. Joel Glazer, Executive Co-Chairman, met with the club’s Fans’ Forum on Friday to begin discussions.
In the meeting, Joel discussed his vision for the club in opening remarks to fan representatives, along with his intentions for investment in Old Trafford and the training ground.
“Our goal is to win every competition we compete in, and we will continue to invest in our Academy and in the transfer market to support the manager in an effort to meet the club’s goals.
“As a club we have devoted a lot of time and resources over the last several years updating and further developing our vast global scouting network to adapt to the modern football environment. This is a project that should provide a foundation for long-term success in the years to come.
“In addition, as you all know, we have also been focused on growing and developing our women’s team in line with the traditions and values of the club, and we are committed to continuing that process.
“Old Trafford is at the heart of Manchester United and while we have spent over £100m over the last 10 years on infrastructure projects, we will now accelerate the process of planning much more significant investment and upgrades to the stadium…rest assured, we will consult with supporters throughout the process to end up with a result we can all be proud of.
“The same goes for our training ground. Preliminary planning work is already underway and there will be significant funding available to further enhance our facilities and ensure they remain world class.”
Joel Glazer (right) spoke at the Fans’ Forum on Friday afternoon.
Proposals to strengthen fan representation and the role of fans at the heart of the club were outlined, with a view to further refinement with MUST and the Fans’ Forum. These include:
– Creation of a Fan Advisory Board to consult with the club’s senior leadership and owners, in addition to a strengthened Fans’ Forum.
– The Board will be made up of representatives from the Forum and key fan groups to ensure the fans’ perspective is embedded within the club’s decision-making processes.
– The club has initiated a direct dialogue with MUST with the aim of identifying a mutually beneficial Fan Share Scheme involving a new class of shares that will each carry the same voting rights as the shares owned by the Glazer family. This would establish a foundation for supporters to build a meaningful ownership stake and create a new spirit of partnership with the club.
Joel also addressed the topic of the club’s self-sustaining model:
“We want this club to always be successful and win trophies. To compete for trophies requires significant investment. The commercial growth at the club has helped deliver the revenue which ultimately underpins that investment in a sustainable manner. That approach has allowed us to have among the highest net transfer spend in world football over the last 5 years and have one of the highest wage bills. Also, as a direct result of our commercial business, we have kept ticket prices affordable for all fans and not raised season ticket prices in over 10 years. This is an area that we as a club are very proud of.”
Following the meeting, Joel Glazer said:
“I was pleased to join the Fans’ Forum to listen to the views of supporters, address their questions, and share ideas on how we can improve the way we work together.
“As owners, we want exactly the same thing as the fans – a successful team and a strong club – and we want to work in partnership to achieve those objectives.
“Fans are the lifeblood of Manchester United and I am personally committed to ensuring that they are given an enhanced voice, through the creation of a Fan Advisory Board and a Fan Share Scheme.
“The club has been in discussions with MUST regarding a fan share scheme for a number of months and has already sought external legal advice on options. Discussions will now intensify, with the aim of agreeing a plan before the start of the new season.”