'If Mason Greenwood stays, I'm done': Inside Man Utd fans' Old Trafford protest as angry supporters threaten to walk away if club reintegrate disgraced striker

Mason Greenwood
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GOAL spoke to frustrated female fans outside Old Trafford as they demonstrated against the club potentially bringing the player back into their squad

It's opening night at Old Trafford and, ahead of the first game of Manchester United's Premier League season against Wolves, a large number of people are gathered outside, protesting against the Glazers. Referencing the ongoing sale process, the fans call for the American family to "sell United and f**k off home".

Another protest has been called, however, on an issue fans have previously been less vocal about: the future of Mason Greenwood. The club were supposed to have announced their decision on what to do with the suspended striker before the start of the season. But, rather like with the takeover, there has been no update.

  1. The world is waiting

    The world is waiting

    Greenwood has been suspended by United since January 2022, when he was arrested in relation to audio and images released on social media of an alleged sexual attack. In October 2022 the striker was charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Greenwood denied all the charges.

    All charges against him were subsequently dropped in February by the Crown Prosecution Service. A statement said "a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction". That same day, United announced they would launch their own investigation into Greenwood.

    Six months on and the world is waiting to see what the outcome of that investigation is. The club has been consulting with stakeholders including sponsors, the supporters board and the women's team. The latest delay to announcing the decision was so the club could consult its female players who are currently at the Women's World Cup.

    Many fans have boycotted the club since the Glazer family bought United in the controversial leveraged buyout in 2005. And if United decide to reintegrate Greenwood into the squad, many fans will also want to turn their back on the club they have supported all their lives.

  2. 'I expect leadership from my club'

    'I expect leadership from my club'

    Two of them are standing outside Old Trafford along with the anti-Glazer protesters. Their sign is smaller than the banners around them but it sticks out, above all for the messaging. It reads: "Don't leave the decision up to the women's team, you spineless, motherless c***s."

    The two women are not related to Female Fans Against Greenwood, the Twitter account which released a powerful statement last week urging the club not to reintegrate Greenwood into the squad and called for the protest. But they felt they had to raise their voices.

    "It should have been closed out a lot earlier than it has been. There's a process to go through but they need to move faster," one of the women tells GOAL, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

    "When something's really important, as we saw through Covid, you can get it through bloody quickly. Organisations have no excuse not to close out things this important faster than they are. It's obviously tied up with the sale and I get that. But it's not good enough, not fast enough. I expect leadership from my club."

  3. The audio will always be out there
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    The audio will always be out there

    Greenwood is not the first footballer to have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women. Many of those players have managed to continue their careers after charges against them were dropped. There are some United fans, who are also vocal on social media, who think Greenwood should be allowed to resume his career with because there is no longer a legal case against him.

    That argument does not wash with the women standing outside Old Trafford. And the key difference is that in the case of Greenwood, the public have heard the audio and seen the images which led to his initial arrest in January 2022. Anyone with access to Google can listen to the audio and see the images and make their own conclusions.

    If Greenwood is allowed to continue his career with United, the audio will always be out there and accessible, even when he eventually retires.

  4. 'Players should be accountable'

    'Players should be accountable'

    "I can confirm I was very angry about those cases as well, but I think this one has really cut deep," says one of the women.

    "No one can say the 'you weren't there' argument, you know, 'how do you know it's true?' We've all seen and heard what we've seen and heard. If we can't deal with a case as cut and dry as this, what hope have we got?

    "This case is an opportunity to blow open this issue to get greater visibility and accountability. Players should be accountable. They're rich, young men who think they're untouchable. They aren't and they shouldn't be."

  5. 'Huge error of judgement'
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    'Huge error of judgement'

    As well as concern about how long it has taken to announce the decision, there is disbelief about the messaging from the club around it. The suggestion that the club was consulting the women's team led to an unfortunate situation over the weekend.

    A United post congratulating United's England women's internationals on reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup attracted a stream of responses from pro-Greenwood social media users, petitioning them to argue for the striker to remain at the club.

    "Shocking, huge error of judgement, badly handled as you'll see a lot of time," is the response from the fan talking to GOAL.

    "It's another example of poor communication, poor appreciation of what this means to fans and players, even if it was just a communications balls up. They need to have recovered that quickly and properly and they haven't."

  6. 'I'll definitely be done'

    'I'll definitely be done'

    While we are talking, a father and son approach the women. "Thank you for doing this. My son is 15 and he's just said to me, 'I can't believe it has even come to this.' There should be no question about it," the father says.

    The decision is still to come and the delays have led to speculation that United are leaning towards reintegrating Greenwood into the squad. If that is the case, the two, Manchester-based fans will not be coming back.

    "I'm done," says the woman. Asked whether she knew others who felt the same, she points to her friend who is holding the sign and adds: "One stood right here. There are others, mostly women."

    She would also turn away from the women's team. "I think it's an ownership issue and I'll definitely be done."