Former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has hit out at Gary Neville for defending Manchester United supporters' protest at the weekend as he insists the pundit should 'call football matches' and 'not instigate riots'.

United's Premier League clash against Liverpool was called off on Sunday after fans voiced their displeasure at the Glazers owners following their failed European Super League bid.

Thousands turned up outside Old Trafford made their way onto the pitch setting off flairs, while others turned up at Man Utd's team hotel which prevented them from getting to the game.

Former United defender Neville jumped to the defence of the Old Trafford faithful and believes they were well within their rights to express their feelings about the under-fire American owners.

He said on Sky Sports: "It's a warning to the owners of the football clubs. We know some fans came in and were reasonably peaceful.

Gary Neville defended the protests of Man Utd fans at Old Trafford on Sunday
Gary Neville defended the protests of Man Utd fans at Old Trafford on Sunday

"The fans have spoken. It's not going to go away. Fans don't trust the owners of Manchester United, they don't like them, they think the owners should leave.

"Beyond today, fans across the country need to unite to make sure there is reform in English football.

"We don't want to hear about disturbances today but fans have had enough. The story today is that the fans have set the spark. Will they stop another game next time?"

But Keys took exception to Neville's stance and reckons the pundit was out of his depth and should 'call football matches, not instigate riots'.

He wrote on his personal website : "Enough Gary, I want to watch football matches, not riots. Plainly no-one at your primary employer has got the courage to say anything to you - so let me.

Man Utd fans protest at Old Trafford
Man Utd fans protest at Old Trafford

"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."

Neville said the protests were 'reasonably peaceful' but Keys, who now works for beIN SPORTS, has challenged that notion after some clashed with police and one officer was left with a serious injury to his eye.

He added: "It was NOT a peaceful demonstration. One Police officer has been left with life-changing injuries. He could’ve been blinded after being attacked by a thug wielding a broken bottle.

"What was it all about? Was it a protest against the ESL? No. But some would have you believe that? If the protest was about the ESL then why have City fans not been out with their own wrecking ball? Or Chelsea fans? Or Spurs fans?

"Was it a demonstration about the ownership of Manchester United? No. But some would have you believe that. It was a show of frustration that United are no longer the dominant force in English football.

"The Glazers are not for me. But Sir Alex Ferguson never had a problem with them."

The fallout from the ESL resulted in Ed Woodward resigning as chief executive as Man Utd look to find a new CEO for next season.

And Keys made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Neville should put his name forward for the vacant role with his track record of working with the Glazers.

He said: "United are currently looking for a Chief Exec Gary - give it a go. Show us all how it should be done. 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."