Ralf Rangnick tried to de-escalate the English record champions Manchester United in view of the Red Devils fans’ protest plans for the game against Norwich City on Saturday. The German coach interpreted the announced fan march to Old Trafford, which is again clearly directed against Manchester’s owning Glazer family, as displeasure because of the unsatisfactory sporting situation.
“Football is a game of passion and emotion. We all understand that our fans are disappointed with our performance at Everton and our standings. As long as the protests remain peaceful and our team is supported at the stadium, they are entitled to have their say to express,” said Rangnick a week after the sobering 1-0 defeat at Everton.
The statements of the 63-year-old meant, above all, understatement. Because Manchester’s fan scene wants to send a signal on Saturday against the takeover of their club by the Glazer clan 17 years ago. Expressly as a protest against the unloved US investors, it is planned that the supporters of the former Champions League winner will only come to the ranks after 17 minutes of the game to cheer on Rangnick’s team.
The fan march is awaited with skepticism not only by the club but also by the security authorities. Almost a year ago, Manchester’s league duel with Liverpool on May 2 had to be canceled shortly before kick-off because United fans had protested against the Glazers’ involvement in the now mothballed plans for a European Super League.
But a look at Manchester’s sporting situation also makes the fans’ dissatisfaction understandable. Before their last seven games of the season, superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. are seventh and six points behind the Champions League places.