Home » “We can’t ignore that”: Man United chief admits club has an ongoing ownership issue

“We can’t ignore that”: Man United chief admits club has an ongoing ownership issue

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United’s chief operating officer Collette Roche has admitted that the hectic ownership situation brought about by the resented Glazer family is an ongoing issue for the club.

United are currently in the middle of a protracted takeover process as the principal bidders, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe battle it out to take over the reins at Old Trafford.

When the Glazers announced their intention to explore strategic alternatives, including a full or partial sale back in November, there was optimism within the fanbase that they would finally be rid of the American businessmen.

However, months later, there is no end in sight and the affair seems to have stalled as there have not been any significant movements reported recently.

Supporters who were at Old Trafford for United’s opening Premier League clash against Wolves took the opportunity to protest against the Glazers.

There were several visible anti-Glazer signs including one which read ‘We Want Glazers Out’ that was visible above the tunnel as the players walked onto the pitch.

Roche spoke to The Athletic and was questioned about this and why the takeover is still yet to be concluded.

She said, “I think we’ve got a good relationship with our fans generally. But we do recognise we’ve got an ongoing issue with the belief around who should own the club. So we can’t ignore that.”

“Does it take its toll on some of the frontline staff on a matchday? Probably, because these guys are all massive United fans, and they are the ones sometimes in the Munich Tunnel when pyros are going off and we have to issue PPE (personal protective equipment).”

On whether the repeated protests were behind the Glazers ultimately deciding to sell up, Roche remarked, “I wouldn’t say the protests pushed the strategic review. I think the strategic review was always inevitable — linked to the investment need, rather than the fans protesting outside on the forecourt.”

She added, “We’ve just got to be empathetic and understand everybody is emotional about football… If people don’t care, then we’d be more worried. That’s why we’ve just got to appreciate and understand different viewpoints and make sure we keep this place safe.”

Her comments were backed by Head of Fan Engagement, Rick McGagh who told The Athletic that fans are at the end of the day spurred by their desire to see United back to its best.

McGagh explained that every effort has been taken to ensure demonstrations are safe and peaceful.

When put to task about when the club sale would be completed, Roche mentioned that she’s also in the dark like many other members of staff.

She called for patience as the exercise carries on, claiming that the nature of the operation is a “complex” one due to the sheer size and magnitude of United.

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