Jamie Carragher says he understands why Manchester United fans are revolting against the club’s American owners after the dramatic scenes witnessed at Old Trafford on Sunday.
A minority breached security cordons to get onto the Old Trafford pitch while there were violent clashes with bottles thrown when police moved in to disperse the crowd.
Hundreds of Manchester United supporters protested against the Glazer family at Old Trafford
Some fans stormed the Old Trafford pitch to make their feelings known about the owners
Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher (left) says he sympathises with the protesting United fans
But former Liverpool defender Carragher, who was pitchside working for Sky Sports when the protestors stormed the pitch, said ‘I never felt threatened… there was a sense of revolt and mutiny within the stadium, not violence.’
That’s despite a flare being lit and thrown towards the Sky Sports studio position at one point.
Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, Carragher said he has sympathy with the United fans determined to make their feelings known about the club’s ownership.
‘I was not prepared to go on live television and condemn United fans for being at the end of their tether when many of them have spent over a decade campaigning to raise awareness about how their club is run. I would be a hypocrite to do so,’ he said.
‘This is not a time for tribalism, where rival fans accuse others of going further than they would on the basis of club loyalties.
Hundreds of Manchester United fans have stormed the pitch at Old Trafford in protest at the club’s American owners ahead of Sunday afternoon’s match with Liverpool
One fan among those who stormed Old Trafford grabbed the corner flag as they stormed the pitch ahead of the match
The Glazer family, United’s owners, signed the club up to the European Super League before making a u-turn 48 hours later amid a furious backlash
‘Every fan who is angry at feeling ignored by their club’s owners can understand why United fans decided to take a stand.
‘The division between the Glazers and United fans has grown to such a harmful extent it was obvious it was going to take more than green and gold scarves to send a powerful message.
‘When you push your fanbase too far, there is bound to be a reaction.’
Carragher said that the actions of a minority intent on causing violence should not detract from the wider issue that ‘has pushed so many people into a position where they feel compelled to act.’
The match between United and Liverpool will be rescheduled at a date yet to be announced.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes a selfie with owners Joel and Avram Glazer
The green and gold scarf moment is gaining momentum again as United fans revolt
The protests come after the Glazer family attempted to sign United up to the breakaway European Super League project as one of 12 founder members.
They withdrew along with the other five Premier League representatives when the scale of the backlash from fans and the wider football world became clear.
But Carragher recognised the protests are the result of broader grievances related to the Glazer ownership.
Speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday, Carragher said: ‘The feeling of Manchester United and Arsenal fans towards their owners was a lot bigger than the Super League. I think that’s why they’ve protested so much.
‘This is not just about the Super League for Manchester United – this goes back 10 or 15 years ago when they were taking money out of the bank and charging season ticket holders if they didn’t want to go to a Carling Cup game, or maybe a Europa League game and just taking money off fans.
Bottles and other projectiles were hurled at the riot officers from the protesting fans
Tensions escalated when police moved in to move the protestors away from the Old Trafford forecourt with batons drawn
‘I totally get the frustration of Manchester United fans, and Arsenal fans, I think they’re in a similar situation with their owners. Every football fan in some way should stand with them.
‘We don’t want to see games called off, no-one wants to see that, but supporters are frustrated with the ownership of their own clubs. What we spoke about with the Super League, and supporters stopping that – we saw the scenes at Chelsea as well – supporters coming together is powerful.
‘Me even as a Liverpool fan, being part of those six clubs that tried to move away, I cannot criticise Manchester United fans for how they’ve gone about things basically.
‘An ownership running their club for the last 15 years has had no thought whatsoever for them. They do spend a lot of money, but I go back to what they did with the season tickets and they state of the club now compared to when they first came in.’