18 Aug 2022 | 20:55 | Football
Takeover talks are heating up at Old Trafford as the fallout from Manchester United’s poor start to the season continues.
Erik ten Hag’s side are bottom of the Premier League table after consecutive defeats, including a humiliating 4-0 loss to Brentford on Saturday.
Wondering about the owners of the Glazer family is nothing new, but it looks like change may be on the way.
Here, the PA news agency answers key questions regarding the situation.
What’s the history with the Glazers?
American businessman Malcolm Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, started investing in United in 2003 before taking full control of the club two years later. The deal was hugely unpopular with fans as it was funded primarily through loans secured by the club’s assets. A group of fans formed another club, FC United of Manchester, in protest.
What happened next?
Under the continued management of Sir Alex Ferguson, United were initially successful, winning five Premier League titles in seven seasons from 2007 to 2013, when the Scotsman retired. It has gone downhill since then, with United only breaking into the top four in four of the last nine campaigns. Malcolm Glazer died in 2014, his six children now own the club equally.
What are the main complaints?
While United can hardly be said to have been frugal over the past decade, their ability to earn signings has certainly diminished, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea said to have surpassed them. . Meanwhile, decision-making is questionable, with numerous short-term managers and unsuccessful hires.
Will a takeover happen?
It’s too early to tell at this point, but it looks like the Glazers are now ready to sell a minority stake in the club. It’s still a short way from a full takeover, but it could be a sign that they have long-term thinking in mind.
Who is running?
The spotlight is on British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan and a proven investor in sports through his company Ineos. One of England’s wealthiest men, Ratcliffe was a late entrant in the race to buy Chelsea earlier this year but missed out. A spokesperson for Ineos has confirmed Ratcliffe’s interest, although he will certainly seek a full takeover. US billionaire Elon Musk joked about buying the Red Devils. However, there is no sign of any serious intentions, while the Glazers have begun exclusive talks with US private equity firm Apollo.
How did the fans react?
With excitement growing at the prospect of Ratcliffe taking over, finding a seasoned investor interested in the club, with the money needed to buy a Glazer home, seems unlikely. Fans want to be assured that anyone who arrives will be willing to invest money in the squad playing and the Old Trafford pitch.