Glazer family offered financial backing to remain Man Utd owners
The Glazer family have been offered financial backing to remain Manchester United owners by American hedge fund Elliott Management.
Two potential buyers submitted proposals to buy the Old Trafford club on Friday with Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe both keen to acquire the club.
The Glazers have overseen a deeply unpopular ownership of the Premier League side since 2005 and are said to be asking for £6billion to relinquish control of the club.
According to ESPN, Elliott has emerged as an interested party with the New York-based group submitting their proposal last week.
The move opens up the possibility of Joel and Avram Glazer, United’s co-chairman, retaining an interest in the club. The report adds Elliott’s proposal is for ‘possible financing, not a bid for the club’ if a full sale cannot be achieved through other parties.
Former United defender Gary Neville shared concerns over such a scenario ahead of the club’s 3-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
He told Sky Sports: ‘I think what scares Man Utd fans most is the feeling this Man Utd ownership are running this process to drive a massive price up to try to somehow establish a level which means two of them can stay in and the rest of the family that want out can be bought out by an American fund who wouldn’t mind owning a minority or significant share but not the entirety of the share.
‘That’s the biggest concern. The whole emphasis at this moment in time from Man Utd fans is this has to be the end of the Glazer ownership.
‘They’ve run out of money, they’ve not invested in the stadium… the fans want a new stadium, whether that’s Old Trafford refurbished or a new one rebuilt, we need new facilities. Man Utd’s stadium is behind a lot of the big [clubs] in Europe.
‘The sporting project they’ve failed on in the last 10 years since Sir Alex Ferguson left. It’s doing quite well at the moment, third in the league but it’s not where Man Utd want to be.
‘I still think there is a focus that this isn’t one big charade that the Glazers are running to try to establish a value which would be for their brothers and sisters to exit and the couple that want to stay in to stay. There’s a priority at this moment in time for them to go.’
Bids fronted by Al Thani and Ratcliffe are to assume sole or majority control of United. Al Thani’s move is to acquire ‘100 per cent’ of the club while Ratcliffe’s is for 69 per cent, the Glazer’s controlling stake.
The Qatar bid led by Al Thani, who is the head of one of the Emirate’s biggest banks, issued a statement on Friday conforming their plans to ‘restore the club to it’s former glories’ with their ‘completely debt free’ purchase.
The INEOS bid, fronted by Ratcliffe, made its own statement vowing to ‘put Manchester back into Manchester United’.
New-York based group Raine are overseeing the process on the behalf of the Glazers and The Times report they have now ‘firmly reminded’ bidders that the process is meant to be private.
It is thought statements that followed Friday’s bids, particularly Qatar’s, have caused dismay with the promise to return United to ‘former glories’ viewed as an implied criticism of the Glazer reign.