Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has commended the team’s supporters for their unwavering support during the recent 1-0 win against Aston Villa, which was marked by further protests against the club’s owners, the Glazer family.
The fans, numbering in the thousands, staged a march towards Old Trafford from the city centre and entered the stadium 18 minutes after kick-off, symbolizing the Glazers’ 18-year ownership of the club.
While the deadline for bids to buy the club has passed and a takeover could be imminent, the fans remain steadfast in their demand for a full sale of the club, rather than any deal that would allow the Glazers to retain control.
During Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Aston Villa, there were chants against the Glazer ownership, but also support for manager Erik ten Hag and the team, as Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game to help secure their spot in the Champions League.
While the fans demanded the Glazers to sell the club, Ten Hag appreciated the support and pledged to continue delivering a team that the fans can be proud of.
After the final whistle, Erik ten Hag was seen holding up a retro green and yellow scarf, which was considered as his subtle gesture to show support to the protesting Old Trafford fans.
After the match, the Dutchman played down the influence of the fans’ protests on his team.
“We felt the fans were behind us. We have to focus to be successful because that’s what the fans expect,” he said.
“They have to rely on us, we will focus on that.”
“I’m sure when we give performances like we do all season the fans are behind us.”
“There’s a lot of energy, there’s a really strong bond between the fans and the players.”
It is anticipated that Raine Group, the US bank responsible for managing the process on behalf of the Glazer family, will be able to announce a preferred bidder soon.
After the third and final deadline for bids passed on Friday, potential buyers including Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani will have to wait for the outcome of the process to acquire Manchester United from the Glazer family.
Although Sheikh Jassim was once considered a frontrunner, Ineos chief Ratcliffe is now believed to be leading the race after reportedly outbidding his competitor.
As a lifelong Manchester United fan, Ratcliffe may also be open to allowing Avram and Joel Glazer to retain a small amount of shares, despite being conflicted over whether or not to sell the club.