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Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel discusses the “important” protest message and how the club can change



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

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

7; coverage of the Champions League and Europa League in Paramount +, shared his thoughts on Sunday about the wild scenes outside Old Trafford, where fans stormed the pitch before the United-Liverpool match in protest. against the property of the club. As a result, the match was postponed. 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 its intention to join the European Super League, which has since disbanded. This is what Schmeichel, who has long been the club’s global ambassador, had to say about Sunday’s scene, the club’s future and more.

Q: What were your initial reactions to Sunday’s incident?

A: First, I knew there would be demonstrations before the game. I was with all the fans. I think it was the right time to express their feelings about what is happening at the club, the way the management accepts it, the direction. And although he is dead in the water, their opposition to the European Super League. That was just right. There was this peaceful demonstration, and then this younger group of fans in their 20s actually entered through the Stratford End. I’m a little confused here. I think the message was very important. Football is played for the fans. Fans really need to have a voice and be able to express their opinions. They can’t come to any game for a very, very long time. And there was an opportunity. But then a very, very small group of fans actually ruined it for the real message. I hope it’s not what we’re going to talk about in the future, about the upcoming games, about the fans entering Old Trafford. I think they also entered the locker room, which is one of the main reasons for the game to be postponed because they interfered with the COVID protocols. I hope the real message is in the headlines that something needs to change. Something definitely needs to change.

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Q: What needs to change?

A: I think it’s very complicated. I don’t think there is anything that needs to change. What is it now, 16 or 17 years ago, when the family took over the club? He won the Premier League. He was in the semifinals and finals of the Champions League, winning the Champions League. Then the training ground was brand new, modern. The stadium was fully developed and housed 75,000 people. Everything was fine, but if you accelerate forward, it is still a status quo. These are the same things. Clubs like Leicester, which are currently third in the league, have probably the best training ground in the world. This 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 Glaser family didn’t spend money, they just didn’t spend it the right way. This is something inside the club. There may be many things, maybe not big, massive things, but definitely things that need to be changed, altered and directed in the right direction.

Q: Did you talk to [United manager] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer today?

A: No, I haven’t talked to him. I think he has more than enough on his plate. I think he was very silent today. Of course, he must have been extremely disappointed with this situation. Because it’s obviously 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. You just have to go play a really solid game in Rome to be there. So maybe if something like this was ever supposed to happen, maybe this is the only right time if you want. But can you imagine? He has this huge game. This is the biggest club football game, an individual club football game in the world. There is the most spectators, there is the greatest interest. This is a huge game. He attracted the attention of everyone in football. This is not a game he would like to lose, but he is between two semifinals. So he has to mix his team to be able to lead a team that is competitive and look forward to the next game.

Question: Some may have concerns about foreign ownership in Premier League clubs and a lack of understanding of the club’s history. This could possibly lead to decisions that do not fully take into account where the club comes from. Do you think there is any truth in this?

A: I don’t want to dramatize this. We are very different in the way we perceive sport in Europe as opposed to America or Europe compared to Asia. Each continent has its own way of looking at sports and thinking about what’s important. There is no doubt that this difference is a challenge for football. There is no doubt about that. What I’m going to say about the Glaser family, they didn’t understand it at first, they didn’t understand it. And I’m not saying they understand it now. But over the last many years, they have appreciated much better what Manchester United is. I think everyone thinks the Glaser family is a bit detached from the club. They are there from time to time, but they are not there every week. You never see Joel Glaser go on camera and talk about the club and I think that disappoints the fans a lot. We have this property, but from the outside it seems that the owners do not care that it is only about money. I don’t think that’s entirely true. I think they are very proud of their ownership of Manchester United. I just think that now there is a need to restructure the way it is managed. Ed Woodward is leaving, executive vice president. There will be some changes. Now is the opportunity to make those changes that meet the requirements of the fans, to attract more people from Manchester United to help the football department work in 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’s easy to say that the Manchester United midfield should be a winning environment. Of course, this is absolutely certain. But how do you get there? What values ​​do you need to set in order for the club to get into this? I think this is an opportunity now. I really hope the Glaser family takes this opportunity. I absolutely hope that they see the misjudgment, as they call it two weeks ago, that they really judged the whole situation, plus what happened. [Sunday]I hope they see this as a sign of making these changes. Ultimately, in commercial terms, this is a success. If you make the other side of Manchester United, the football side, you will not lose money from this … It’s all about mentality, I think. With regard to what has happened in the last two or three weeks, I hope that the Glazers will look at this and say, ‘Well, we need to change, we need to attract people who are closer to him. ‘The family needs to get closer to the club.

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

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

A: I don’t think the stubborn fans were the ones inside the stadium. I think they are idiots, troublemakers. None of them will remember the good times. Some of them weren’t even born when the Glazers took over the club. Sworn fans, true fans, continue to express your opinions. But keep it at the right level. Don’t be stupid about it. Don’t demand something that is unrealistic. But keep pushing, 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 we disagree with, as a massive group, it has an effect. I think football, not Manchester United, is already at a crossroads. Now we have this incredible opportunity to change direction. Something I think takes him a long, long, long time. Rethinking the way we restructure our tournaments and how we are in our national leagues. Now there is an opportunity. I hope there is a desire to do so. But we need the fans with us. At the end of the day we play this game for them. So we need to understand what they want. So keep expressing your opinions. It’s important. I’ve been to Manchester United [supporter] throughout his life. Because I was a small child. That really means something to me. This football club really means something to me. I am absolutely with the fans. I understand exactly how they feel. I am one of the happy fans. I had the opportunity to do something about the field. Not many fans get this opportunity. And I appreciate that I got this opportunity. I am very proud to have been a part of what happened in the 1990s. I am proud to have been at the very beginning of Manchester United’s dominance in England. It really, really hurts when we’re not like that. Because I know how difficult it is to get to this position. I also know what is needed. It takes a very clear direction … We hope for our club, but for football in general, everything that has happened now is the opportunity we have been waiting for. Let’s hope we can change it for the better.




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