This piece of news came out of the blue this morning.
While most of us football-following nutcases were aware of the whole on-going Glazer-MU saga, most of us were probably assuming that Glazer would be repelled again and again by the club’s shareholders and directors, until the bearded billionaire gave up and took his (borrowed) money elsewhere.
So to hear that the Irish tycoons – John Magnier and JP McManus – had sold their 28.9% stake to Glazer for a profit of 70 million quid, well, that just came out of nowhere.
Adding to this was the news that another shareholder – Harry Dobson – had also decided to sell his shares (presumably to Glazer). In all, it is now estimated that Glazer has approximately 70% of the club’s shares.
The various online news sources out there are already speculating that Glazer will go on to accumulate the remainder of the shares in order to delist the club from the Stock Exchange and take them private. He is then expected to try and squeeze more profits out of future TV contract negotations, especially in the US and Asia.
But forget about the business side of things. What football supporters – both United’s and fans of other teams – want to know is what’s gonna happen on the footballing side of things?
The main question – as is already being pointed and feverishly debated upon on many a forum, blog and website – is the future of Sir Alex. Most people believe that Fergie’s gonna call it a day and quit, but with some sources from Glazer’s camp saying that they want Ferguson to stay (with handsome rewards in store), Sir Alex could stick around for some time yet.
As far as I can tell, Fergie just wants to stick around until his young United team finally matures into a genuine force. Only then will he be able to step back from scene, knowing he’s leaving his successor a good team. This is a lesson that any Man Utd (and Liverpool) supporter would appreciate. When Matt Busby stepped down as manager, he left the next Man Utd manager with a successful but aging team. It wasn’t long before Man Utd found themselves relegated from the top flight (although they did bounce back quickly).
On the other hand, Liverpool showed how it was to be done, with Bill Shankly bequeathing his successor Bob Paisley with a strong, young team that formed the basis of the all-conquering, double-European-Cup-winning Liverpool side of the seventies.
Hence, I’m guessing that Fergie’s gonna stick it out for at least another season or two while his youthful stars e.g. Rooney et al begin to gel and show signs of greatness. But it will be interesting thought to see if any money will be made available to the manager, especially when you consider that the vast majority of next season’s transfer budget was spent on Rooney this season, and that Glazer is expected to transfer his debts acquired while purchasing Man Utd into the club itself. Most people would say that Man U are in need of at least one or two new first-team players, while future reinforcements may be needed seeing the advancing years of players like Keane and Giggs.
Fans of United, of course, are understandably upset. They see Glazer as a money-grabbing opportunist out to make a quick buck and that he has no conserns about the long-term on-field exploits of the club.
Jules Spencer, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, added: ‘If this is to be the end then we will go down kicking and screaming.
‘And if he (Glazer) does get control then we will do what we said, which is up sticks and form a new club which will continue the traditions and heritage and the legacy of 125 years of Manchester United.
‘We don’t want Malcolm Glazer, we want a club run for the fans – and that is what we will do.’
That’ll be interesting. Will it happen? The idealist in me wishes YES! The cynic in me says GET REAL.
“Glazer is taking a big punt here,” said (BBC Business Editor Jeff) Randall. “And that punt is that after a few days, maybe a few weeks’ protest, the United faithful will come back to the club.
“Because they love it, they are addicts, they can’t have every other Saturday without being at Old Trafford.
“If the fans staged a really effective protest and the stadium was half empty or worse, then it would really hit him in the pocket. Will they do that? I don’t know.”
from BBC Sports
We’ve seen how the Roman revolution has transformed a decent cup side like Chelsea into footballing powerhouses. Let’s see what the Glazer effect will do to what is already a well-run successful business enterprise.
An Extra Bit: Just read this on BBC’s 606 Messageboard. I guess Chelsea fans are smarter than they let on… 😛
I am a Chelsea fan and have not come to gloat, but true United fans should wait and see what develops. True fans will follow United through anything and if in a couple of years Glazer has invested and you are winning everything, there you will be on the season ticket waiting list, perhaps for years, regretting a few minutes of madness. Just take time to reflect.
50 years on