Manchester United have vehemently denied that there is an official policy in place to censor anti-Glazer chants by editing them out of the club’s match coverage videos.
United fans have been steadfast in airing out their displeasure and dissatisfaction with the Glazers since the American family took over the reins at Old Trafford in 2005.
In recent seasons, protests and acts of defiance, especially by match-going supporters, have increased in intensity and become more pronounced.
Chants of “we want Glazers out” are now a common feature whenever the Red Devils are in action, whether at home or during away clashes.
Irrespective of the result, fans have never wavered in their resolution to force their current owners out and usher in a new era of change and astute management.
According to The Athletic, United have been accused on more than one occasion in the past of turning down the volume on protest songs and in some instances, even editing them out of their match coverage.
The 1958 spoke to the newspaper and noted that United have been deliberately censoring the fanbase in an effort to shamelessly protect the Glazers, who remain in situ amidst an ongoing takeover process that has dragged on for almost 10 months now.
The 1958 have accused the club hierarchy of “stealing our history, dignity and integrity with the way they act and constantly deceive the fanbase.”
In response, The Athletic report, “United say there is no policy of censorship unless the chants are deemed offensive. But they also accept that, yes, there have been times when “we want Glazers out” has been heard in the stands but is not audible on clips used by the club’s social media accounts.”
Examples of when United have altered official video footage
This practice happened once on August 26, 2023, when Erik ten Hag’s men came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest by three goals to two at the Theatre of Dreams.
After the game, while a sit-in protest was ongoing, numerous clips on social media showed the Stretford End in full voice and in unison.
However, in the video United posted on their official TikTok account, Lisandro Martinez is seen applauding the fans who are also singing Casemiro’s name.
The footage then cuts to Ten Hag leaving the pitch while Casemiro’s name is still being sung. This is not really what happened. Ten Hag left before his two players and it was after he disappeared that the signing of Casemiro’s song kicked off.
As per The Athletic, United have now admitted to altering the video.
A member of the 1958 exclaimed, “Anybody who was in the stadium after the final whistle would have seen and heard exactly what happened. United fans went straight into protest mode with loud ‘Glazers Out’ chants as the team left the field.”
He added, “The club’s PR team have been overlaying their own audio to footage so the millions watching around the world think everything is rosy in the United garden. It’s nothing but a facade.”
A United spokesperson remarked, “We respect fans’ opinions and their right to express them peacefully. We do not have a policy of censoring audio, other than to remove offensive language to protect younger fans.”
A similar occurrence took place on August 25, 2022, when Casemiro was officially unveiled in front of the Old Trafford faithful.
As he walked onto the pitch, the Brazilian midfielder was greeted with a rapturous chant of “Glazers out.” These chants were not reflected in the video that United put out – an issue online fans were quick to notice and publicly criticise.
When put to task by The Athletic, the 20-time English champions blamed the positioning of microphones around the stadium.
“Where a discrepancy occurs between our content and what is heard in the stands it will usually be due to the positioning of microphones. What microphones pick up from around the pitch can sound different to what is experienced by fans.”
The club spokesperson further confirmed that production staff were instructed not to obscure protest chants unless they are deemed offensive.
The third incident took place on September 5, 2022, after a 3-1 victory against Arsenal that saw Antony score on his United debut.
There was a clear disparity between what United put out via their official channels and fan footage of the same moments.
Again when asked about these differences, the club blamed this on the positioning of microphones but refused to rule out some editing on their part.
The Athletic adds on the matter, “United say they do not consider ‘We want Glazers out‘ to be offensive, but that some of the protest songs do cross the line. The club’s in-house channel, MUTV, had a live post-match show after the Forest match and it showed the sit-in protest.”
The club’s claims of innocence will likely do little to reassure fans that there have been no deliberate attempts to distort match footage.