Email: Protest & talk of ownership change is in the air

MUST email sent to all members:

This week there has been much talk of share sales, possible bidders and continued protest. In response to speculation over the ownership MUST posted the statement below which had widespread pick up in the media - not bad, considering it was a screenshot of a WhatsApp message posted on Twitter!

"Speculation is mounting about a potential change of ownership or new investors at Manchester United. Whilst supporters have called for change, of course this has to be the right change. 

Any prospective new owner or investor has to be committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions of the club. They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium. 

Finally any new ownership structure must embed supporters, including a degree of fan share ownership, in their operating model.

These are the criteria supporters will judge any bid on. We are open to dialogue with any bidder, and look forward to any such discussions."

The news that Jim Ratcliffe could be interested in buying the club, if it came up for sale, is not entirely new of course. But the fact that he (via his spokesperson) came out and made that aim clear in a statement created huge media interest and we were being peppered with requests for comment from the media and hence we issued the statement above.

We all want to see a better ownership model for our club and MUST believes that model should have fans at its heart as co-owner shareholders. It is literally written into our constitution as a primary objective of the organisation so it should be no surprise that we see it as a key element of any existing or new ownership model.

We've seen protests last season continuing into this season and we've always supported the right for fans to protest legally and peacefully and committed to provide information to members where such planned protests are credible. For many years it fell upon MUST, in the absence of anyone else prepared to do it, but more recently a new group, The 1958, have picked up the mantle and been very successful thus far in organising protest activities.

Of course it is every individual fan’s choice as to whether they wish to participate and it is essential that we all respect the choices of others even when they differ from our own. So we do not patronise our members by telling them what to do. We simply provide information and allow you to make your own decisions. On Monday there is a protest march planned by The 1958, from the Tollgate pub, leaving at 7pm and gathering peacefully on the forecourt on arrival at Old Trafford congregating in front of The Trinity statue.

Clearly there is huge discontent which is fuelling the desire for protest. In parallel, as a Trust, we will also maintain our communication with the club because that gives us angles of influence too - through the Fans' Forum, through the Fans' Advisory Board and through direct dialogue. On top of the protests, all of this is complementary about exerting maximum possible influence for change.  It is certainly in the interest of fans that there is a long term dialogue with club management which persists regardless of who the owners are and continues through any ownership change if/when that does occur.

These are, as they say, interesting times at United. At rock bottom on the pitch, but perhaps with a chink of light off it. With the fans united, we can create the conditions for the change we need. Let’s stay united and go forward together.
blog comments powered by Disqus