Dozens of Manchester United fans have descended on the club’s Carrington training ground to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership.
Banners reading ‘Glazers out’ and ‘Disgrace – Not fit to wear the shirt’ were held up outside the gates to the complex, with United beefing up security in anticipation and calling in police.
Fans lit red smoke flares as they marched on the gates of Carrington before holding up the banners as security guards watched closely.
The demonstration on Friday lunchtime appears to be a precursor to a larger anti-Glazer protest planned for Old Trafford ahead of the Premier League match with Norwich City on Saturday.
Dozens of Manchester United supporters descended on the club’s Carrington training base on Friday lunchtime to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership
Red smoke flares were set off and banners held up against the owners and the players
United had beefed up security in anticipation and locked the gates to the training complex
One banner took aim at the underperforming players, saying they’re ‘not fit to wear the shirt’
United called the police and the protest was dispersed. A further protest at Old Trafford is planned for Saturday ahead of the fixture against Norwich
Police dog handlers were dispatched to Carrington and the protest was dispersed. The players are due to report for training at around 3pm.
A United statement read: ‘There was a small and peaceful protest outside the Carrington training ground today. We respect the opinions of fans and remain committed to strengthening our engagement with them.’
The protests occurred just before interim manager Ralf Rangnick addressed journalists in his pre-match press conference.
Rangnick said: ‘We all know football is a game of passion and emotions, we can all understand.
‘I can understand our supporters are disappointed with our standing in the table and the performance we showed at Everton, at least after we conceded that first goal.
‘But I still believe our supporters are one of the best, if not the best, in England and as long as they do that protest in a peaceful way and support the team in the stadium, they have the right to express their opinion.
‘I can understand that they are disappointed.’
Manchester United fans are planning an anti-Glazer protest before Saturday’s Norwich game
A fan group called The 1958 have organised a march before the Norwich game on Saturday
Following another seriously underwhelming season on the pitch, which means five years without a trophy for United, fans are planning a fresh attempt to force out the club’s unpopular American owners.
An abusive sign was left outside Carrington for United’s players in the wake of last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton, which left them a lowly seventh in the Premier League, some six points off the top four.
It read: ‘Embarrassing s**tbags. Not fit to wear the shirt get out of our club!’
A supporter group called The 1958 have organised a protest march against the Glazers that will end at Old Trafford before kick-off against Norwich.
A protest against the Glazers last year, following aborted attempts to join the breakaway European Super League, drew thousands of angry fans to Old Trafford
One group managed to break inside Old Trafford, causing the postponement of the behind closed doors fixture with Liverpool
They are calling on demonstrators to remain outside the ground for the first 17 minutes of the match to mark the Glazer family’s 17-year ownership.
Plans have been posted on social media and retweeted several thousand times with a message declaring: ‘Nothing will change unless the head of the snake is removed. It’s rotten and starts from the top down like any business. The club’s a mess so we need to act and raise awareness again.’
It’s a year ago this month since United’s role in the doomed European Super League sparked an angry backlash against the Glazers.
The Manchester United supporters are hoping to drive the American owners out of the club
A small number of fans stormed Carrington and many more then broke into Old Trafford following a mass protest before a behind-closed-doors game against Liverpool, forcing the fixture to be postponed.
Chairman Joel Glazer subsequently apologised over the ESL fiasco and has since tried to engage with the fanbase.
He has appeared at fans’ forums, and a supporters’ advisory board has been set up. A fan share scheme is still being discussed, but the latest protests suggest that the bridge building has not been entirely successful.
‘This isn’t another Liverpool,’ the statement from The 1958 continued. ‘We believe this was a one-off unique event.
‘This is the start of the constant, relentless, peaceful and legal protests and actions against our owners.
‘We know the challenges ahead of us and we will not waver or detract from these goals.’
United have performed badly this season and will now reach five years without silverware
A season that promised so much for United, with the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, plus the unexpected return of Cristiano Ronaldo, has proved to be a colossal disappointment.
A poor run of results, including a 5-0 home thrashing at the hands of Liverpool, led to the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer late last year.
But instead of searching for a permanent coach right away, United appointed Rangnick on an interim basis – but results haven’t improved.
As well as facing an uphill struggle now to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League, United exited the Champions League to Atletico Madrid in the last-16.
They also failed in the FA Cup, losing to Championship club Middlesbrough, and exited the Carabao Cup to West Ham.