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Gary Neville calls on ‘ALL football fans to unite’ after Man United fans break into Old Trafford

Gary Neville called for a fans’ revolt to reform English football after Manchester United’s potential title-decider against Liverpool was postponed when home supporters stormed Old Trafford to protest against the Glazers’ ownership.

Other protestors set off smoke bombs and flares outside the Theatre of Dreams and another group tried to prevent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players leaving the Lowry Hotel and boarding the team bus, while dozens of fans were involved in a stand-off with police outside the ground as some scuffles ensued. 

Speaking in his role as a pundit at the game for Sky Sports, Neville believes this could be a watershed moment in supporter-owner relations and feels other clubs’ fans could suit in the wake of the fallout from the shambolic attempt to get plans for a European Super League off the ground.

Gary Neville has backed Manchester United fans after their dramatic protest at Old Trafford

Supporters broke into the ground to protest at how the Glazer brothers are running the club

Supporters broke into the ground to protest at how the Glazer brothers are running the club

‘It’s a warning to the owners of the football clubs. We know some fans came in and were reasonably peaceful,’ Neville said.

‘The fans have spoken. It’s not going to go away. Fans don’t trust the owners of Manchester United, they don’t like them, they think the owners should leave. 

‘Beyond today, fans across the country need to unite to make sure there is reform in English football

‘We don’t want to hear about disturbances today but fans have had enough. They’ve had enough. The media can make a story today about the damage and stuff but the story today is that the fans have set the spark. Will they stop another game next time? 

‘I hope they’ll move towards something more measured, calm and pointed. The ball is in the owners’ court. Two weeks ago, I must say it again, it was a shocker.’

Fellow pundit Jamie Carragher felt that a small minority of fans hijacked the protest for their own purposes and diluted the message.

Police were forced to push back to clear the Old Trafford concourse, leaving behind a mess

Police were forced to push back to clear the Old Trafford concourse, leaving behind a mess 

‘I see some other clubs trying to score points (by criticising United fans). We’ve lost a game of football today but you have to accept that. 

‘A few idiots might have done things but the main aim of this from MU supporters is unhappiness with their owners. You should be able to demonstrate, but a few idiots ruin it for everyone.’

Neville’s former team-mate Roy Keane said that the size of the protest sent out a message – with the Irishman expecting follow-up demonstrations. 

‘It’s a huge statement for the game to be called off. Sometimes you have to put a marker down for people to take notice, hopefully the owners will take this seriously. This is just the start of it, mark my words,’ he claimed.

‘This is the start of it and their plan no doubt is for the United owners to give in and sell the club.’

Graeme Souness felt the dissenting fans had achieved their objectives. ‘If you set out to do something that would be seen by the whole world, you’ve done that,’ he said. 

Neville accused Avram (left) and Joel Glazer (right) of trying to create a footballing famine

Neville accused Avram (left) and Joel Glazer (right) of trying to create a footballing famine

Before the postponement had been announced, former Red Devils right back launching a renewed attack on the Glazers following the failed attempt to take Manchester United into the ESL.

The debacle has already led to chief executive Ed Woodward announcing that he will step down at the end of 2021 and now the supporters want the Glazers to follow suit.

Neville said he understood their anger and slammed his old club for failing to understand their privileged role within English football: ‘I’ve never thought they were brilliant owners, but I’ve seen there are worse owners in football than the Glazer family. However, I think all football fans should unite today behind what Manchester United fans have done.

‘What they did two years ago was dangerous for English football, we must not forget that. They tried to walk away and create a closed-shop league which would have basically created a famine in this country for every other football club.

‘Those 15 clubs (who would have made up the European Super League) would have walked away from their leagues and basically destroyed the ethos of the pyramid and relegation in English football. That’s number one, it’s unforgivable what they did as a family two weeks ago.

‘The Glazer family two weeks ago tried to implement something that would have damaged every single community that has football at the heart of it. That’s why they’re dangerous. 

‘Perez is dangerous, Agnelli, Laporta… they are dangerous to the concept of equal opportunity and fair play in European football.

‘Let’s not forget what we’re arguing about here. Today there is anger. I hope tomorrow it switches to mobilisation towards reform and regulation behind the fan-led review.

Fans set off flares and smoke bombs outside the Theatre of Dreams before the Liverpool match

Fans set off flares and smoke bombs outside the Theatre of Dreams before the Liverpool match

‘When I talked about Manchester United and Liverpool two weeks ago, they should act like the grandfather of English football.

‘Demonstrating compassion, spreading wealth through the family and being fair. They haven’t done. They’ve demonstrated greed and tried to walk away with all the money themselves and left the family struggling below. That is not what you do at this football club or Liverpool Football Club.’ 

A media camera was smashed by a protestor after fans entered the Theatre of Dreams, while other supporters tried to get down the tunnel and although most of the crowd did disperse at around 2.20pm shortly after entering the stadium, some fans were still there an hour later. 

Neville’s fellow pundit Jamie Carragher, who is also covering the game for Sky Sports, also backed the eye-catching stance by fans and said the animosity towards the owners of the Red Devils is far more than about just planning to join a breakaway league. 

‘The feeling of Manchester United and Arsenal fans towards their owners was a lot bigger than the Super League. I think that’s why they’ve protested so much,’ the ex-Liverpool centre back said. 

Jamie Carragher said he understood the frustrations of protesting United and Arsenal fans

Jamie Carragher said he understood the frustrations of protesting United and Arsenal fans

‘This is not just about the Super League for Manchester United – this goes back 10 or 15 years ago when they were taking money out of the bank and charging season ticket holders if they didn’t want to go to a Carling Cup game, or maybe a Europa League game and just taking money off fans.

‘I totally get the frustration of Manchester United fans, and Arsenal fans, I think they’re in a similar situation with their owners. Every football fan in some way should stand with them. 

‘We don’t want to see games called off, no-one wants to see that, but supporters are frustrated with the ownership of their own clubs. What we spoke about with the Super League, and supporters stopping that – we saw the scenes at Chelsea as well – supporters coming together is powerful.

‘Me even as a Liverpool fan, being part of those six clubs that tried to move away, I cannot criticise Manchester United fans for how they’ve gone about things basically. 

‘An ownership running their club for the last 15 years has had no thought whatsoever for them. They do spend a lot of money, but I go back to what they did with the season tickets and they state of the club now compared to when they first came in.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk