Richard Keys has suggested that Gary Neville was responsible for instigating the fan protest at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of Manchester United fans gathered at Old Trafford and the Lowry Hotel to protest against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club, while a smaller group gained access to the stadium and made their way on to the playing surface, ultimately forcing the postponement of the Premier League clash with Liverpool.
Gary Neville, who was due to be on punditry duty for the game, defended the United fans and their right to voice their disapproval of the club’s ownership.
— Gez (@Gezz_MUFC) May 2, 2021
But former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has taken aim at Neville for his role in Sunday’s scenes, suggesting that the former United captain was responsible for riling fans over the past fortnight.
“Enough Gary. I want to watch football matches not riots,” Keys wrote in his blog. “Plainly no-one at your primary employer has got the courage to say anything to you – so let me.
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) May 4, 2021
“It really is none of my business who owns Manchester United, Arsenal, Valencia, Salford or Sheffield. With the exception of Salford, nor is it yours. Nor is it Jamie Carragher’s, Rio Ferdinand’s, Jake Humphries or Gary Lineker’s.
“Our job is simple and privileged. Our job is to call football matches. It is not our job to instigate riots. And make no mistake, what happened at Old Trafford on Sunday was a riot. And a disgrace. I hate to think what the reaction would’ve been had Liverpool fans been to blame.”
Keys referenced Neville’s co-ownership of Salford in a bid to suggest that his criticism of the Glazer family cannot be taken seriously.
The beIN Sports anchor also challenged Neville to put his name forward to replace United’s outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
“United are currently looking for a Chief Exec Gary – give it a go. Show us all how it should be done,” Keys continued. “And please don’t tell me you couldn’t work for the Glazers. You once did – and pocketed millions from doing so. That was the time to make your voice heard.
“I don’t ever want to see a repeat of Sunday’s riot. I repeat – I want to watch football matches. I want to watch the best league in the world continue to flourish. I’ll continue to call it as I see it – frustrated by referees, disappointed by some performances, exhilarated by others.
“I’ve been drawn into debates about the current owners of the club I support. Like ‘fans’ of other clubs we’re all allowed to moan and complain. That’s part of the fun, but sparking riots is not on my agenda. Nor should it be anyone else’s.”