Paul Parker's on Manchester United protests: 'You have to do something people will remember'
Manchester United's game against Liverpool was postponed after fan protests at Old Trafford, with a number of people gaining access to the pitch. The protests were against the owners of the club, the Glazer family, and former United defender Paul Parker has given his verdict on the situation and what should happen next.
Published 04/05/2021 at 12:47 GMT | Updated 04/05/2021 at 12:52 GMT
Paul Parker thinks Manchester United supporters needed to do "something people will remember" during their protests at Old Trafford on Sunday, but doesn’t expect the club owners to change their approach anytime soon.
The club was debt free when it was on the stock market prior to being purchased by the Glazers in 2005, but the debt now stands at £455.5 million.
Former United defender Parker thinks the protests have sent a loud message to the owners, but is uncertain about what will happen next.
"It has definitely made an impact," Parker told Eurosport. "People say protests should be kept peaceful, the only thing I would say is there have been so many peaceful protests over the years and they get forgotten about.
Somewhere along the line you have to do something that people will remember, and this one won’t be forgotten.
"It stopped one of the biggest events in the world from being played. It made a mark, without a doubt. I don’t know what the next step will be but they will not stop thinking that’s enough and it’s just a one-off. This will go on.
"I think the owners have to look at their position but I don’t think it’s ‘we take note of this, we will try and do something differently now to get people back on side’. The fans don’t want them on side, they want them out.
"After all they have been put through over the years, even when they were winning titles and protesting then, they were not happy. They want them gone and they want people who will put the football club first and put the FC at the end of the name - Manchester United Football Club."
The departure of United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was announced as the plans fell apart, and Parker thinks fans now want new owners who are more focused on football than business.
"They want someone who is about football. Football is a business so you need someone who runs it as a good business, but you also want someone who is football orientated and is not looking to try and push the club into a PR marketing machine so it can benefit from playing big clubs week in, week out.
Supporters protest against Manchester United's owners, outside English Premier League club Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on May 2, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
"The fans want to be playing in their domestic league and trying to win that and then going on to Europe because they have qualified, as a reward for the sheer hard work of the full season in the league.
"It’s going to keep going, you have to sell a football club, selling a player would be like Billy Whizz compared to selling a club, especially a club the size of Manchester United. The club is probably worth £2bn and there are debts as well, so there aren’t many people in the marketplace."
United still have to face Leicester and Fulham at home this season, along with the re-arranged fixture against Liverpool. Parker says he does not expect the protests to affect the players.
"The players will definitely be aware, but next time they play it won’t be in their minds. At the end of the day it is happening around them. They won’t be getting involved in it and won’t be allowed to get involved in it at this moment in time. I really don’t think it will impact them.
"They drive up to a ground, there might be people waiting outside the ground, then they will go into a crowd-free stadium. Playing in empty stadiums will have more impact on them than this will. Once they step into the stadium it’s back to the normal situation."