Hostile Reception: Glazer Family Arrives in Manchester to be Greeted by Riots Mayhem
By ESPNSoccerNet.com - The Glazer family arrived at Old Trafford last night and left hidden in the back of a van to the sound of police dogs abusive chanting and outright violence.
If Joel Avi and Bryan all three newly elected to the United board felt their policy of non-communication during father Malcolm's controversial £790million takeover would ease the resentment among rank and file Red Devils support they were badly mistaken.
It took more than 100 Greater Manchester Police officers scores of dogs and a massive security operation including the complete closure of Sir Matt Busby Way to get the Glazers out of the ground as around 500 fans swarmed the Old Trafford stadium.
Never in the history of English football can such an unwelcome reception have been laid on for the new owners of a club.
It may be doubtful whether the same anger can be whipped up again today should the trio return to meet the United staff but the consistent chants of 'die Glazer die' left little room for debate over the Glazer family's popularity in Stretford nor the scuffles which erupted between police and fans as the way was paved for the brothers to make their speedy exit hidden away in the back of a police van.
'The Glazer family are the enemies of Manchester United' said Shareholders United vice-chairman Sean Bones who was present throughout the five-hour demonstration.
'We find them disgusting and repulsive. They may have captured the club but they only have it on a temporary basis.
'It might take a long time maybe two or three years but we are showing Glazer that we won't give up.
'In the long-term the Glazer brand will be suffocated. The previous Manchester United brand was peerless in terms of sporting brand names.
'The Glazer brand is toxic and tarnished uncool and unstylish. Glazer will lose the war.'
The Glazers were accompanied on a tour of Old Trafford by chief executive David Gill and commercial director Andy Anson - ironically ousted and then reinstated to the United board by Malcolm Glazer.
Their visit followed meetings with club sponsors and came 24 hours after they held discussions with English soccer's top brass plus Sports Minister Richard Caborn.
In direct contrast to the hatred last night's visit generated the Glazers were encouraged by the fruitful meetings with FA chief executive Brian Barwick and Premier League counterpart Richard Scudamore as they took the opportunity to highlight 'the truth' behind their intentions for United.
'There has been a lot in the UK press about us in the last 18 months and this has been an invaluable chance to tell the men who run the game what the truth is' said Joel Glazer.
During their visit the Glazers have reaffirmed their commitment to the collective Premier League TV deal insisted they are not a threat to the stable future of the game and also promised to support a Government-backed healthy eating campaign.
'I am pleased to report there is a great deal of common ground between us' said Scudamore who had previously warned the Glazers he would fiercely protect the collective bargaining deal.
'Crucially on the matter of collective selling of our television rights we have received an unequivocal commitment to continue on the current basis.
'Since the formation of the Premier League Manchester United have played a key role in shaping its fortunes and I am confident that the club and its new owners are committed to continuing this.'
Scudamore's optimism was reinforced by that of Barwick who spent around 90 minutes with the Glazers on Tuesday alongside FA chairman Geoff Thompson and executive director David Davies.
Barwick is understood to have adopted a firm line with the family reminding them of United's status in English football and the responsibilities which they now have to the future of the club and the game.
However the chief executive was impressed by the response he received during the 'constructive meeting in which the Manchester United officials addressed the many important questions we had to ask them'.
Sports Minister Caborn then hosted the Glazers in the House of Commons stressing not only United's responsibilities to the professional game but also in the wider local community and in enhancing England's status across the world.
Like Barwick and Scudamore Caborn was suitably impressed by the response particularly when Joel agreed to provide firm backing for the current healthy eating in schools initiative.
'I asked them directly if they thought football was being badly run but they said in their view the Premier League was the best league in the world' he said.
'They also said they had no intention of going away from collective selling of Premier League TV rights so I was reassured by that.'