Manchester United announce fan advisory board with Joel Glazer to attend first meeting

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Manchester United have announced the composition of their new Fan Advisory Board.

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer discussed the creation of a Fan Advisory Board in June during what was his first fan forum in 15 years.

His participation in the virtual fan forum came after the much-maligned Super League shutdown and fan protests that postponed a Premier League game between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The board consists of seven representatives – each for a term of two full seasons – from a range of backgrounds who have been appointed on a voluntary basis. Christopher Saad, an experienced lawyer and lifelong United fan, and Richard Arnold, the club’s group chief executive, will co-chair the board.

Other representatives include: two members of the Fan Forum, Ian Stirling and Rick McGagh, Jonathan Deitch and Duncan Drasdo, president and CEO of the Manchester United Supporters ‘Trust, Deborah Henry, president of the Manchester United Women’s Supporters’ Club, and Oli Winton , senior communications consultant and longtime United fan activist.

Dave Pennington, a retired senior civil servant and board member of the MUST and the Football Supporters’ Association, has been appointed special advisor to Saad and Arnold.

The board of directors will meet four times a year with five senior club officers who have also become permanent members. Glazer will attend the first meeting in January.

A statement from United read: “The Fan Advisory Board is designed to create a channel for in-depth consultation at the board level, with a focus on long-term strategic issues, including stadium development.

“It will run in parallel with the Fan Forum, which will continue to focus on operational issues affecting fans. “

Collette Roche, Manchester United’s COO, said: “The launch of the Fans ‘Advisory Board is a historic step to ensure that supporters’ perspectives are always heard and understood up to the highest levels of the club. This will improve decision making and reduce the risk of conflict with fans on the most important issues.

“We agree with the independent fan-led review of football governance that fans need to have a strong voice in the flow of the game, and we believe that our Fan Advisory Board and Sharing Program proposed fans are consistent with this important goal.

“We are delighted to have attracted such a high caliber of individuals to the board, all with a strong passion for United combined with the skills to advocate on behalf of the fans. I look forward to working with Chris and the other reps to build the board and give it a key role at the heart of the club.

Saad said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to combine my professional skills with my lifelong passion for Manchester United as the first Fan Co-Chair of the Fans’ Advisory Board.

“I firmly believe that we will establish a new positive model for fan engagement in football. Sometimes there will be an agreement, sometimes we will challenge hard. We will not hesitate to discuss frankly. Our aim is to expand the areas of consensus and to reduce differences, and to help maintain a healthy and successful football club, in tune with its supporters.

“I look forward to working with my fellow fan representatives and club leaders to achieve these goals.”

(Photo: Phil Noble – Pool / Getty Images)


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