After the failed attempt to co-create the breakaway European Super League last April due to widespread fan uproar and protests, Manchester United’s maligned owners, the Glazer family, are now reportedly moving to follow up on their promise to establish a Fan Advisory board.
This advisory board was outlined by co-chairman, Joel Glazer in June, as an olive branch to the disgruntled fan base after the ESL debacle.
United fans have also consistently shown distaste for the debt that the Glazers have piled on the club and the money that has been taken out to pay interest and dividend payments every year.
The new Fan Advisory board will consist of seven supporters, two selected from the already established Fans Forum, the rest from Man United Supporters Trust, and up to five club executives.
According to The Telegraph, the recruitment process is to begin in the coming weeks.
It will meet quarterly and will be attended at least once a year by either co-chairman Joel or Avram Glazer.
According to Joel Glazer, the Fan Advisory board, and promised Fan Share Scheme, will ensure that supporters’ opinions are “embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club” going forward.
It should mean that the elected fan representatives will have a significant voice in any major decisions, like the ESL plot, that may impact the integrity of the club.
However, it remains to be seen whether these board members’ opinions will be implemented or that the group is merely a token outlet.
On the promised Fan Share scheme, it is hoped that the Glazers will allow fans and fan groups to purchase a significant amount of Class B shares, which hold voting rights.
But it may be the case that the amount of these shares that are put up for sale will be a tiny fraction of the total owned by the American family and certainly less than the 51% required to take the club out of their hands.
After the unprecedented protests at the start of May, that caused United’s Premier League clash with rivals Liverpool to be postponed, the Red Devils’ fans showed that they would not lie down as their club’s history was threatened, so much so, that the Glazers took serious notice.
The Fan Advisory board is the first step of many, to improving the way the Manchester club is run and the relations between owners and supporters.
It is without doubt that the intense fan scrutiny will not subside unless progress is made and sustained.