Manchester United: Owners of the Glazer family are considering selling the Premier League club

There have been regular protests at Old Trafford over the ownership of the club by the Glazer family

Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, say they are considering selling the club as they are “exploring strategic alternatives”.

It comes after years of fan protest against their property.

A statement from the club said the board “will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment in the club, a sale or other transactions involving the company”.

It added that the process “will include an assessment of various initiatives to strengthen the club, including the redevelopment of the stadium and infrastructure, and the expansion of the club’s commercial activities on a global scale” to “improve its long-term success.” term of the club’s men’s and women’s competition”. and academy teams, and deliver benefits to fans and other stakeholders”.

In 2012, the Glazers sold 10% of their stake through a stock exchange listing and sold even more shares in subsequent years.

“As we look to build on the club’s history of success, the board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,” said executive co-chairs and directors Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer.

“We will evaluate all options to ensure we are serving our fans the best and that Manchester United maximize the significant growth opportunities the club has today and in the future.

“During this process, we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders and various stakeholders.”

The Glazer family has owned NFL side Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1995 and Avram Glazer purchased a team in the United Arab Emirates’ new Twenty20 cricket league in 2021.

Joel and Avram took over the day-to-day running of United after their father Malcolm suffered a stroke in April 2006. Billionaire Malcolm died in 2014 at the age of 85.

American investment company Raine Group, who handled Chelsea’s £4.25 billion sale in May, acts as United’s exclusive financial advisor.

Club statementexternal link added: “There can be no assurance that the review performed will result in any transaction involving the Company.

“Manchester United do not intend to make any further comment on the review unless and until the board has approved a specific transaction or other action requiring a formal announcement.”

United, who are fifth in the Premier League, have not won the title since 2013 and have not won a trophy since claiming the Europa League and EFL Cup in 2017.

There have been multiple protests against the Glazers’ property in recent years, including one in May 2021 causing United’s home game against Liverpool to be postponed.

Thousands of supporters marched to Old Trafford in protest for the same match this season, in August.

United was part of the failed European Super League project that quickly collapsed in April 2021. Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer later apologized for the unrest caused.

He has since visited fan forums in the wake of supporter unrest and pledged to make shares available to the club’s followers.

According to Transfermarkt,external link United have a net spend of €1.36bn (£1.18bn) on transfers under the Glazers, with only Manchester City having a higher figure over that period.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United with immediate effect on Tuesday, criticism of club ownership in a controversial interview last week in which he said the Glazer family “don’t care about the club” on the sporting side.

The move to sell United comes after Liverpool chairman Tom Werner said so Fenway Sports Group was “exploring a sale” of the Anfield club.

A Bloomberg reportexternal link said in August 2022 that the Glazer family was willing to sell a minority stake in the club.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he would be interested when buying from United before he declared in October that the Glazer family told him they didn’t want to sell.

“If the Glazers leave, most fans will welcome it” – analysis

BBC Sport football reporter Simon Stone

There has never been any real dispute that the Glazers see Manchester United as a financial investment.

To a greater or lesser extent – co-chairs Joel and Avram are the most invested – they are interested in the football side, but the main goal is to make money, and they succeeded.

To that end, a few issues have conspired to make the Glazers think now is a good time to test the waters regarding an exit.

First, the plan for the European Super League was swept off the table. While Barcelona, ​​Juventus and Real Madrid are adamant it will get permission through the courts, in its original form it is done – and with it the riches that would have come out of it.

Subsequently, Saudi Arabia’s support for Newcastle creates more competition within the Premier League and ultimately Europe.

Added to the massive investment required for a refit of Old Trafford – and improvements to the club’s training ground at Carrington – running a competitive United will become very expensive in the short term.

To that end, the £4.25bn Chelsea were sold for over the summer is starting to look very attractive.

The Glazers have not been popular owners since the day they bought United in 2005.

When they leave, most fans will welcome it. However, given the likely sale price, their dream of ownership may be unrealistic.

And even if a childhood supporter fan, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, goes through with his summer plan to try and buy the club, he’s probably not the only interested party. In the short term, the future at Old Trafford can only add to the uncertainty.

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The back page of the Manchester Evening News

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