Tom Clare is a respected Manchester United author who has charted much of the club’s history in his earlier books Forever A Babe, The Men Who Were the Busby Babes, and The United Tour of Manchester.
He has addressed Joel Glazer in an open letter that is doing the rounds on social media:
“Dear Joel Glazer,
“Finally, after almost sixteen years, there has at last been some communication from you notifying the Manchester United fans that:
“‘Over the past few days, we have all witnessed with the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club. You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can get it right.’
“How very condescending of you. Where have you and your siblings been for the last sixteen years? Has it really taken you, and your cohorts, all this time to witness the passion, and the loyalty, that we United fans have for OUR Club? If it has, then you are all far more blinkered than we could ever have envisaged. Or if the truth is really known, by your actions over all of these years, far more blind, deaf, and dismissive, of loyal Manchester United fans towards our opinions, views, needs, and wants, for OUR great Club. Not once, yes, not once in all this time have you entered into any dialogue with us, at any time, and on any subject, and never once have you ever said anything to allay our fears in addressing the many fears that we have in regards to the way that the Club is run, and the direction in which you and your siblings have taken it.
“Back in 2005, when you leveraged the take-over of OUR Club and hung £580 million around its neck (a debt that almost all of it – £474.1 million as at the end of 2109/20 – is still there after sixteen years) taking us from being a debt-free club in to one with mammoth debts, which would take, and is still taking millions out of the club in bank interest re-payments, things could have been so different – if only you had listened. You made your biggest mistake ever in totally, and arrogantly, ignoring, and treating with absolute contempt, the whole Manchester United fan base. You did something that I thought that I would never ever see in my lifetime, (and today I have followed the Club for seventy-one years) and that is divide the Manchester United fan base. Not one single word of dialogue has been opened with the whole Manchester United fan base in all that time and by that, I mean the UK fan base. Fans who for generations, and generations, have loyally followed the Club since its formation in June 1878.
“‘Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.’
“Yes, the wounds are raw, and not only since you proposed to take the Club into this European Super League, but also going way back to the time of 2005 take-over. Believe me, those scars are NEVER EVER going to heal and will be with us until we draw our last breath. “You say that it will take time and that you are personally committed to re-building trust and learning from the message we delivered with some conviction. Really? Whenever have you listened to us since your arrival at Old Trafford? We will NEVER EVER trust you – how could we given your record since you set foot in Manchester? For the past year or so, you and the other clubs, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE YOU DO, have SUBVERSIBLY met to plan and to take away from the football fan, the game that we all love so much. Your plans were not made for the good and benefit of the game, nor were they in any way at all, planned for the good and benefit of the football fan, and indeed when you look more closely at what you proposed, nor were they done for the good and benefit of the players – what do you think they are – pit ponies? The plans were drawn up based on GREED, or for the want of a better word, AVARICE. The rich dine at the top-table and the rest feed off the crumbs, and there was not a care in the world from any of you Club Owners for the good and benefit of the rest of the Premier League, English Football League, and Grass Roots football in UK. As far as you lot were concerned, they may as well be put to sleep.
“‘We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.’
“How laughable is that statement above? How can football, especially in UK, become more sustainable when we have leeches like yourself, and your siblings, and other owners continually paying yourselves inflated “Dividends” and so called “Consultancy Fees” from out of the club(s) finances. How can United be more sustainable when they are having to pay out the staggering amounts every financial period that they have to in Bank Interest, and Foreign Exchange payments? Since 2005, you and your siblings have drained almost £1.7 billion (if not more) out of Manchester United, money that could, and should have been re-invested in the club. None of you are what we fans term as “football people” – as are none of the other owners in UK. You may watch a few games, but you could never be said to “know it.” So if you fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about things, and with the total knowledge about the game of all those involved in the proposed formation of this monstrosity so limited; how on earth could any of you plan to re-structure the game football wise, which has survived for 150 years or more, apart from the reorganizing the financial aspect, which you people all certainly know more about? Why was there no transparency and no meeting with “football people”? Because the simple answer is as I said above – AVARICE.
“’In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions – promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.’
“What a whole lot of baloney that is. So you sought to create a more stable foundation of the game? Do you think football fans are stupid? The only thing that the formation of the ESL would have done was destroy this great game as we know it – especially for the tiers and leagues, and grass root levels below ESL level. You and your siblings and cohorts have NEVER EVER shown any respect for the deep-rooted traditions in the game and especially at Manchester United. Our club was formed almost 143 years ago by the hard-working railway men of the Newton Heath Carriage and Wagon Works of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company – just in case you did not know that fact. Since then, there was always a great affinity between the club, the players, and the local communities. But all that stopped when you “money men” saw that there were rich pickings to be had by buying football clubs. They were unfortunately, there to be plucked, and it turned out that you and your family and others, were the lucky pluckers. Promotion, relegation, and the pyramid, – don’t make me laugh, that did not interest any of you at all – it never has, so why should it now. And for all this you are sorry. No you are not, this statement that you have made is nothing more than an attempt to appease us – and you have been found out because you forgot the old saying about the worm that turned!
“’Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values. We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club. This is the world’s greatest football club –and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days. It is important for us to put that right.’
“Yes, in our opinions, we are the world’s greatest football club and we have a rich heritage, but has it really taken you sixteen years to recognize this? We have always known that – just the same as the very loyal and passionate supporter of every other club in England thinks the same about their own club. You recognise your responsibilities to live up to our great traditions and values and the need to communicate with us better? Again, the last sixteen years say that you do not. We have always been the heart of the club through all the good times and bad, and especially at the time of the disaster in 1958, You have ALWAYS treated the United fan with nothing but contempt and disdain – so why should your attitudes change now?
“Let me assure you of one thing Mr. Glazer. We were here long before you and your cronies arrived on the scene, and we will be here long after you go. United fans wallow in its great history, its tragedy, the bad times, and its triumphs. We revere men like, Fred Atock, Ernest Mangnall, John Henry Davies, Harry Stafford, Louis Rocca, Harold Hardman, Walter Crikmer, James W. Gibson, Sir Matt Busby, Jimmy Murphy, Joe Armstrong, Bert Whalley, Tom Curry, Billy Inglis, Les Olive, and Sir Alex Ferguson. All of whom put their lives, their hearts and their souls into making the club what it is today – forming those traditions and the ethos upon which it stands today. We revere all the many, many, great players (far too many to mention here) who have pulled on our famous red shirts, and especially the wonderful eight players who gave their lives for the club in the tragedy at Munich. We especially revere all the thousands of family supporters who have followed the club from its existence to the present day and HAVE, AND ALWAYS WILL respect our heritage and traditions which have been passed on to them and then passed on to their descendants. Most of the names above I doubt that you will recognize, but one thing is sure, your family name will NEVER have the pleasure or glory of joining that list.
“No Mr. Glazer, we are not buying any of your American bullshit, and we welcome, and will revere the day when you walk out the door in short, jerky movements, back to where you came from.
“Truly and Sincerely, Tom Clare”