Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Sport https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel discusses ‘important’ message about protest and how the club can change

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel discusses ‘important’ message about protest and how the club can change



Manchester United’s legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel knows what it takes for the club to reach the summit in Europe. He was there in 1999 when they won the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, starting in goal in one of the most dramatic finals we have ever seen. The 57-year-old Danish shotstopper played for the club from 1991-1999 and is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers ever. Schmeichel won five Premier League titles and three FA Cups with United at the top of the club’s second ever European crown.

Schmeichel, who now works on television and is part of CBS Sports̵

7; coverage of the Champions League and Europe League on Paramount +, shared his thoughts on Sunday about the wild scenes outside Old Trafford, where fans invaded the pitch before the United-Liverpool match in protest against the ownership of the club. The match was postponed as a result. The club is owned by the Glazers, an American family that also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.

The protest came just two weeks after the club announced it intended to join the European Super League, which has since crumbled. Here’s what Schmeichel, who has long been a global ambassador for the club, had to say about the stage on Sunday, the clubs’ future and more.

Question: What were your initial reactions to Sunday’s event?

Answer: First of all, I knew there were going to be demonstrations before the game. I was with all the fans. I think it was the right moment to express their feelings about what’s going on in the club, the way the management is taking it, the direction. And even though it’s dead in the water, their opposition to the European Super League. That was just right. There was this peaceful demonstration and then you got this younger group of fans in their 20s coming in through Stretford End. This is where it got a little wrong for me. I think the message was very important. Football is played for the fans. Fans really need to have a voice and need to be able to express their opinions. They have not been able to get to any matches for a very, very long time. And there was an opportunity. But then a very, very small group of fans actually spoiled it for the real message. I hope that is not what we are going to talk about in the coming time, the upcoming games, the fans are coming into Old Trafford. I think they also got into the locker room, which is one of the main reasons the game was postponed because they disrupted the COVID protocols. I hope the real message will be in the headlines that something needs to change. Something definitely needs to change.

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Question: What needs to be changed?

A: I think it’s very complex. I do not think there is one thing that needs to change. What is it now 16 or 17 years ago when the family took over the club? It won the Premier League. It was in the semifinals and finals of the Champions League and won the Champions League. Back then, the training ground was brand new, state of the art. The stadium was fully developed and housed 75,000 people. All was well, but if you fast forward, it’s still the status quo. These are all the same things. Clubs like Leicester, who sit third in the league at the moment, they probably have the best training ground in the world. It is a requirement. You need better facilities to attract players and also to develop players the way you want … You also need to attract better players. It’s not like the Glazer family has not spent money, they just are not used in the right way. So it’s something inside the club. It can be many things, maybe not big, massive things, but certain things that need to be changed, fine-tuned and pointed in the right direction.

Question: Did you talk to [United manager] Ole Gunnar Solskjær today?

A: No, I did not talk to him. I think he has more than enough on his plate. I think he kept very quiet today. Of course, he must have been extremely frustrated with this situation. Because of course he is between two semifinals. The result on Thursday [6-2 over Roma in the Europa League semifinal first leg], there is no guarantee, but it is so close to a guarantee that they will be in the final. They only have to play a really solid game in Rome to be in there. So if something like this were ever to happen, maybe this was the only good time, if you will. But can you imagine it? He has this massive game. This is the biggest game in club football, individual game in club football in the world. This is where most viewers are, this is where most interest is. This is a massive game. It has received attention from everyone in football. It’s not a game he wants to lose, but he’s between two semifinals. So he has to mix his team up so he can issue a team that is competitive and looking forward to the next match.

Question: Some may have concerns about foreign ownership of Premier League clubs and lack of understanding when it comes to the club. This may result in decisions being made that do not take full account of where the club is coming from. Do you think there is any truth in that?

A: I do not want to dramatize over it. We are very different in how we perceive sport in Europe as opposed to America or Europe to Asia. Each continent has their own way of watching sports and thinking about what is important. There is no doubt that this difference is a challenge for football. No doubt about it. What I want to say about the Glazer family is that they did not initially get it, they did not understand it. And I’m not saying they fully understand it now. But over the last many years, they have been much better at appreciating what Manchester United is all about. I think everyone feels the Glazer family is a little too detached from the club. They are there again and again, but they are not there every week. You never see Joel Glazer come out in front of the cameras and talk about the club, and I think that frustrates the fans a lot. We have this ownership, but from the outside it seems that the owners do not care that it is only about money. I do not think that is entirely the case. I think they are very proud of their ownership of Manchester United. I just think there is now a need for a restructuring of how it is run. Ed Woodward leaves the Vice President. There will be some changes. It is now an opportunity to make the changes that meet the demands of the fans, get more Manchester United people to help the football department run within history. People like to use the word culture.

I find culture very difficult to define. But at least to have the right environment. Of course, it is easy to say that Manchester United’s environment must be a winning environment. That, of course, is definitely a security. But how do you get there? What values ​​do you have to set for the club to get into it? I think that’s an option now. I really hope the Glazer family will take the opportunity. I absolutely hope they see the wrong assessment as they called it two weeks ago, that they really misjudged the whole situation plus what happened [Sunday], I hope they see it as a sign of making these changes. At the end of the day, it is a commercial success. If you do the other side of Manchester United, the football side, you do not lose money on it … It’s about mentality, I think. For what has happened in the last two or three weeks, I hope the Glazer family will look at this and say, ‘Well, there’s a need for us to change, a need for us to bring in people who are closer to it. ” There is a need for the family to get closer to the club.

That’s easy to say [we want the Glazers out]. But the club will be, I do not know, three, four, five billion dollars? Who has that kind of money to buy the football club? If you look at potential buyers, will they do it much better? Will it be different. There are examples, but they never bought in at that price. I would much rather we work with Glazers because I think there is willingness within the family. Work with the Glazers to make this football club what this football club should be.

Question: What is your message to the dedicated fans of the club, those who did not storm the stadium?

A: I do not think diehard fans were the ones inside the stadium. I think they’s idiots. None of them can remember the good times. Some of them were not even born when the Glazers took over the club. Diehard fans, the true fans, keep expressing your opinions. But keep it at a proper level. Do not be stupid about it. Do not demand anything that is unrealistic. But keep up the pressure, keep up the ideas. What we have learned over the last two weeks is that if we stand together and show our opposition to ideas that we do not agree with, as a massive group, it has an effect. I think football, not Manchester United, is at a crossroads now. There is this incredible opportunity now to change direction. Something that I think it has needed for a long, long, long time. A rethink of how we restructure our tournaments and how we are in our national leagues. There is an opportunity now. I hope there is a willingness to do so. But we need the fans with us. At the end of the day, we play this game for them. So we have to understand what it is they want. So keep expressing your opinions. It is important. I’ve been to Manchester United [supporter] all my life. Since I was a small child. This really means something to me. This football club really means something to me. I’m definitely with the fans. I understand exactly what they are feeling. I’m one of the lucky fans. I had the opportunity to do something about it on the field. Not many fans get that opportunity. And I appreciate that I got this opportunity. I am very proud that I was a part of what happened in the 90s. I’m proud to be right at the start of Manchester United’s dominance in England. It hurts, it really, really hurts when we are not like that. Because I know how hard it is to get to that position. I also know what it takes. It takes a very clear direction … Hopefully for our club, but for football in general, all this that has happened now is the opportunity we have been waiting for. Let’s hope we can get it changed for the better.




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