Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer was told the club had become ‘a laughing stock’ when he attended a fans’ forum meeting for the first time.
The comments were made at the start of a question and answer session at the end of a two-and-a-quarter-hour virtual meeting earlier this month.
Glazer took part for the first time since his family bought United in 2005.
His appearance came following negative publicity generated by the abandoned European Super League plans.
Glazer had significant involvement in the project which saw United – along with five other Premier League sides – sign up to a 12-team Super League before they all pulled out.
Chas Banks, 71, secretary of the Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association, said he had been watching the club since 1957.
In comments revealed on Monday in the minutes of the fans’ forum meeting, he said: “We used to be the club that others measured themselves by – on the field and off the field.
“And the problem is now, people are laughing at us, Joel. We’ve become a laughing stock. There are memes on the internet all the time. And there’s nothing worse. People say bad things about you, but there’s nothing worse than being laughed at.”
Banks suggested that view was a result of insufficient investment at Old Trafford – saying that not enough has been spent on the squad, while the stadium had not been adequately maintained, with leaks in its roof – as the Glazer family has received millions of pounds in dividend payments and share sales.
Former United captain Gary Neville has been a vocal critic of the Glazer family, saying recently the owners were detached from the “ethos and the passion the supporters feel” for his former club.
Glazer said he was committed to improving the situation and on Neville added: “Gary has been pretty hard on us. It’s OK. Everybody has their views.
“You can just shut the person out because they are not saying something nice about you. Or you can pause and listen.
“You can’t ignore people. Gary’s a legend. He has good ideas, good thoughts. And they’re heard.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to bring in new players as quickly as possible to give United the best chance of closing the gap to Manchester City and end their four-year wait for a trophy, with the club having had a recent £67m bid for England winger Jadon Sancho turned down by Borussia Dortmund.
“We will absolutely do our best to make things happen as quick as possible,” said Glazer.
“But in modern football, a lot of money is involved; the other side can try to take advantage of us.
“We have to try to make sure there’s a balance; that we don’t put ourselves in a bad position for the next deal we do.
“So we’re working hard behind the scenes. We feel optimistic about this summer, and recognise the importance of this close season.”