News From Manchester: Manchester United fans have just been mocked by the Glazers – Steven Railston

The hostile noise of “We want Glazers out” increased but there was no mass exodus, as the protest intended. It has been difficult to mobilise fans to launch a sustained effort against the Glazers' ownership and the protest was another example of United supporters struggling to be united. The news of the protest wouldn't have travelled to the Glazers' residence in Tampa, Florida.

If news of the protest had reached the Glazers, it was hardly enough to concern the American family. They would likely mock the intended protest but they certainly weren't laughing when thousands of United fans descended on Old Trafford last May when anger had reached boiling point after the Super League proposal. The postponement of the Liverpool match was a resounding victory.

It took two days for United to withdraw from the Super League plan and another day for Glazers to apologise 'unreservedly' for the damage it had caused. Joel Glazer promised to make amends, but not much has changed one year later, unsurprisingly.

The Glazers got a sobering reality check last year with those unprecedented protests, but they're now laughing at United supporters again. The club's third-quarter financial figures were released on Thursday and they proved a leopard never changes its spots.

The figures confirmed United will be paying an 11m dividend to shareholders – mainly to the Glazers – despite losses of 27m for the quarter and 44m for the year to date, wages up 20% and net debt up over 50m. The dividend has been paid every six months since 2016 and that's including during the pandemic. It's little wonder that supporters reacted to Thursday's news with intense anger.

Ed Woodward infamously once said: “Playing performance doesn't really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business,” and those words could have also come from the Glazers' mouths. It could be argued they already did, but just through the medium of Woodward. The Bristol University graduate has left the club but he was just a symptom.

The Glazers are the real problem. United have just endured their worst season for decades and yet the Glazers have still taken money out of the club again, which is beyond belief. It seems that the Glazers don't care about reading the room. They don't care about Manchester United. They don't care about the club's supporters. They do care about being paid their dividends.

Although United have equalled their worst trophy drought for 40 years this season and recorded their lowest ever Premier League points total, the Glazers have still been paid their millions. They continue to win when United don't on the pitch.

That's why there is no incentive for the Glazers to change. Their profits have been unaffected, despite the team's awful performance, and that's exactly what makes supporters so angry. United are unrecognisable but it doesn't seem to matter to the club's owners.

The anger on social media was palpable after the latest club financial figures were released. Richard Arnold, speaking at the fans' forum – the minutes were published on the same day as the figures – showed that he was well aware of the anger.

“We understand fans are frustrated and want to see change and improvement,” said Arnold. “Suffice to say, we are not happy with where we are in terms of performance on the pitch. Football is a game of passion and we fully respect fans' right to make their feelings known, as long as this remains legal and peaceful at all times.

“But I would very much hope that all fans within Old Trafford approach next season with renewed optimism and confidence as we look forward to a fresh start under Erik ten Hag.”

Arnold discussed looking forward to a fresh start under Ten Hag, but the club will never move forward without new owners.

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