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Old 3rd July 2005, 08:11   #1
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Default Give us a chance Glazer

Give us a chance Glazer
MEN July 2nd 2005
Joel Glazer has pleaded with Manchester United sceptics to give the new Old Trafford owners a chance. Find out his views on fans, Fergie and the club's debt as we publish the second part of his MUTV interview
How does it feel to own Manchester United?

JOEL GLAZER: It's a tremendous feeling when you're around this club, with its following, heritage and history. It doesn't matter how many times you walk in, you get that same feeling every time. It's an incredible feeling but with it comes a lot of responsibility, and we take that very seriously.
Is this your first visit to Old Trafford?

GLAZER: No, we've been here before. I haven't been in the past year or so but I've been here several times before.
How passionate are you about football?

GLAZER: We grew up being very passionate about two sports, American football and British football. Where I grew up, in Rochester NY we had the worst team in the whole North American league but, week in week out, I was there to support them. But we had a very watchful eye over here, because this is where the best players in the world are. And while we were in the minority in America that minority is very passionate about the game.
How did you become a United fan?

GLAZER: It's probably a lot like many people around the world. The success the club has, its tradition, history and everything about it. The way the club has always gone about doing things, bringing the youth through the youth academy, bringing some great stars from other clubs is another big plus. United has always has a unique aura about it, and when you watch them play everyone knows it's something special.
How important are the manager and the chief executive in the talks you've had?
GLAZER: Very important and United are very, very fortunate as everyone knows to have the most wonderful manager in Sir Alex Ferguson and the success he has had, and what he's brought to Old Trafford. You can't even describe it in words and he's just done a tremendous, tremendous job.
We have the greatest, greatest respect for him and hope to work with him for many, many years to come.
Then you've got David Gill who has done a tremendous job here and not only him but the whole staff here. They are all working towards the same goals, everyone is passionate about what they do and it's infectious.
It's one thing to know how much this club means to everybody but it's another thing when again you talk and hear from the people involved so it's really very rewarding to see that.
Can you assure the fans that David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson will have the same input?

GLAZER: Absolutely, nothing will change and it's one thing we keep saying. But again, people will only see this with time and we can't make time move forward. We understand the scepticism, we understand that when there is change there's uncertainty but things are, to me, business as usual.
David Gill will continue to do the great things he's been doing with his team. Sir Alex Ferguson will be given all the resources for him to compete on the field at the highest possible level, so we are always going to provide them with what they need to be successful.
What type of owner are you going to be?

GLAZER: Very passionate. In 10 years we've owned the team in Tampa, I've never missed a match. You are passionate about the sport but part of the rule is to make sure that people have what they need to do the job to the best of their ability.
So again whether it's Sir Alex with the transfer budget to make sure he can get whatever he needs on the pitch, David Gill to expand what has already been built at Manchester United, it's our duty to make sure that happens. We also have to be great stewards of this club for the supporters as they are the life blood of this club and sometimes people forget that I don't forget that and will keep reminding people of that.
How's the managerial structure going to work?

GLAZER: Our family is involved in a lot of different things, myself and my two brothers have been put on the board here and we'll be supportive of what is happening with David Gill and Sir Alex.
Will you have an office here?

GLAZER: I think we would have a presence but again as in a supportive role because there is a wonderful management team in place, so it only makes sense again when you are passionate about something to have a presence there but in a supporting role.
Why have you waited until now to speak up?

GLAZER: That has been a little frustrating for us because people who know me and my family know that any time they can come up to us and approach us and we're happy to talk.
Part of the problems with being a plc as we just saw over the last several months, is that you're very restricted with what you can and can't say and when you're working under those types of guidelines everyone says you've got to be very careful.
You say the wrong thing and it may have problems based on the regulations so it was really an effort to stay clear of that.
But the thing I emphasise is this is going to be a long-term situation and nothing I can say today, or could have said yesterday, is going to completely change peoples' views. The only thing that's going to change views is things that happen over time so I caution people that this is a marathon and not a sprint.
Judge us over the long haul, don't judge us on a day or the last several months. It's very frustrating when you can't say everything you want to say.
I can't make time move forward but, as we experienced with Tampa, there was scepticism at the beginning. Time changed that and we firmly believe whilst there is scepticism and uncertainty today, time will change that as well.
Is communication to the fans important to you?

GLAZER: It's extremely important. Again I keep coming back to it, fans are the lifeblood of the club. People want to know what's happening, people want to know where things are heading but we will be communicating.
Again, I think it's important that the chief executive is communicating on a regular basis and the manager communicates on a regular basis and we can communicate certain things ourselves but not much is going to be changing at Old Trafford.
The thing I keep saying is people aren't going to notice a change. We don't want people to notice a change because in the end we'll be doing a disservice to this great club.
We just want to help carry it on, develop what Manchester United has been whilst recognising that worldwide maybe there is some more things we can do overseas to develop United which again benefits the community and the football at large.
What are your priorities for United?
GLAZER: Priorities always have to start on the pitch and the priority is to do better than we did last season and better than we did the previous season.
We always want to do better, always compete at the top level and I know we have the manager to make that happen. I also know that he will not rest until success is found so we're very supportive of that.
When you have a manager like Sir Alex, so committed and so driven and who's been there before, you have great comfort.
What is your response to allegations you are going to sell and lease back Old Trafford?

GLAZER: Absolutely ridiculous! That's been one of the really frustrating things we've read about when you just want to communicate directly that it is not going to happen.
There are absolutely no plans to do that. This is one of the lifebloods, the heritage and the real foundation of this club, so there is no thought whatsoever to be doing that.
Are you going to change the club's logo?

GLAZER: That's another of the absolutely ridiculous things we've been reading and again people who know me know that I'm big on tradition in any sport. I'm very adverse to change. That is part of the fabric of this club so just because something may happened many years ago in Tampa, which is a completely different situation to this, they immediately jump to conclusions.
There is something beautiful about the fabric of this club. There's absolutely no plans to change that.
What's the situation regarding ticket prices?

GLAZER: Unfortunately, ticket prices continue to rise and it's not good. Again it goes back to my talk of the supporters being the lifeblood of the club.
I'll say this much, this club's ticket prices will always be competitive with other ticket prices in the Premier League. We are not looking to out-price the supporters because if you do that you have lost the lifeblood of this club. So, we are very, very sensitive about that and take it very seriously.
There was a price increase this year before we even got involved so we're very mindful of that and very mindful of what supporters can and can't do. The game has to remain affordable for everybody and we continue to carry on that tradition.
Are you going to axe Sir Bobby Charlton?

GLAZER: I was talking to somebody who said they'd never seen me get so excited when this was the subject that came up. It's amazing what people write.
I understand why people like to write things but if you want to talk about fabrics of such an important of a clubs history, then you could probably start with Sir Bobby Charlton. That man will is this club in many respects, forever, and to have it any other way, it's disgraceful that people would even talk about having it any other way.
What an ambassador for this game he is around the world and we look forward to working with him for many, many years to come.
You've been accused of putting the club into debt and gambling with its assets. How do you respond?

GLAZER: We would have not got involved with Manchester United if we did not feel that the club under our ownership could continue to be the great club it has been. Our family personally has invested over 270m. We have every reason to see this be successful as it's always been.
A lot of businesses have debt. Debt can mean different things to different people, but I can assure everybody that the structure that was put in place is a structure we're extremely comfortable with.

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