Rio Ferdinand is expecting further fan protests and believes the tribal divisions between supporters are being set aside in a common cause – to force club owners to listen.
His old club Manchester United’s match against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday after a peaceful planned protest escalated into violence and an invasion of the Old Trafford pitch.
Ferdinand did not condone the violence which left police officers injured, but understood where the discontent has come from, and why it is likely such protests will be repeated.
“I’m with the fans,” he told Vibe with Five.
“We don’t want violence and I’m not condoning violence or any type of lawbreaking at all, but these fans have been shunted aside [and told]: ‘You’re not a thought, you’re not a consideration.’
“[The protest] is the response you get when things like that happen, when you try and take over a club, and take it away from the fans and think the fans don’t mean a thing.”
The protests followed the aborted attempt by the Premier League’s Big Six along with three clubs each from Italy and Spain to launch a European Super League on 18 April.
The response of fans has been widely cited as one of the key factors in the ESL’s swift collapse and Ferdinand believes there is now a realisation among fans of the power of working together.
“What you will see continuously is more and more football fans coming together on something like this,” he added.
“I don’t think it’s going to be tribal and that certain people are going to point the finger at Man United. People see that this was almost a criminal act on football fans.”