The American tycoon Malcolm Glazer purchased his first stake in Manchester United almost 20 years ago. Now, his controversial tenure at the club may be ending.
Sky News presents the story of Glazers’ ownership and explains why they have been so unpopular among Premier League fans. It even draws criticism from Cristiano Ronaldo, one of their star players who quit the club immediately.
Glazers purchase Man Utd – and saddle club with debt
Malcolm Glazer was the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (an American football team which was then the Super Bowl champions) when he made his investment in United in 2003.
United was the dominant Premier League team at the time. They were also one of the most successful clubs worldwide, having won a variety of silverware under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Glazer assumed full control of United in June 2005. However, the deal was not popular with fans as it was primarily funded by loans secured against club assets.
Glazer suffered two strokes within a year after the leveraged buyout. His six children, Avram Joel Bryan Bryan Darcie, Darcie, Darcie, and Bryan Glazer, also ran United. All of them were members of the board.
United is now in debt of around PS500m due to the Glazers’ PS790m acquisition. Before the takeover, the club was debt-free.
The debt has cost Glazers more than PS1bn to service. Fans are furious and cash in by receiving dividends from their club.
FC United was formed after protests by fans
In June 2005, the Glazer family’s first trip to Old Trafford was marred by violence and police clashes with supporters who had effectively surrounded United’s new owners.
Joel, Avram, and Bryan Glazer were reportedly forced to be smuggled down players’ tunnels and out of ground in two tactical police aid vans to ensure their safety.
A group of disaffected Man United supporters formed a new football team after the controversial takeover by The Glazers.
FC United started their first season in 2005-06, and they now compete in Northern Premier League Premier Division. This division is the seventh tier in the English football league system.
Success with the pitch
Sir Alex managed United to win five Premier League titles under Glazers ownership between 2007-2013.
United was led by star players Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and enjoyed a three-year run of success from 2007 to 2009. They won three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy, as well as the League Cup.
Fans’ fury at Glazers was not forgotten.
Campaign for a green and gold scarf
To protest the Glazers’ ownership, United fans started wearing yellow and green scarves in 2010.
United is well-known for their red shirts. However, the original club was founded in 1878 under the name Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club. They played in bold yellow and green stripes.
David Beckham, a former United player, wore a green-and-gold scarf during the protests. It was worn to Old Trafford by AC Milan’s Milan players in 2010.
Joel and Avram were present at the stadium that night. However, Beckham later distanced from the protest by stating that United’s ownership was “not mine business”.
Red Knights bid for the takeover
A group of wealthy supporters was expected to bid for United around PS1bn in 2010, despite United insisting that the Glazer family owners wouldn’t entertain any offers.
Red Knights, which was led by Keith Harris, former chairman of the Football League, and Jim O’Neil (chief economist at Goldman Sachs), stated that it had as its priority to lower the club’s debt.
After media speculation about “inflated valuation aspirations” had hindered its plans, the proposed bid was rescinded.
United has fallen since Sir Alex ended his distinguished managerial career almost 10 years ago.
The club failed to win the Premier League in 2013 despite having high-profile managers like Jose Mourinho or Louis van Gaal. They also spent more than PS1bn for players.
United has not also won a trophy since 2017’s Europa League victory.
Even worse, arch-rivals Liverpool and Manchester City have had huge success in their ongoing competition for Premier League and Champions League titles.
Malcolm Glazer death
Malcolm Glazer passed away in 2014, at the age 85. He had never been to Old Trafford while he was the club’s owner.
Although he was controversial in Manchester, there were many tributes from America where the businessman was greatly respected for his transformation of Tampa Bay from a joke to a Super Bowl-winning team.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, stated that Glazer had died. “Malcolm Glazer was a driving force behind the creation of a Super Bowl champion organization.
European Super League anger
After taking part in the attempts to create a European Super League last season, the Glazers attracted more hatred from United fans.
United along with Liverpool and Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Tottenham and Tottenham caused outrage by their plans to join , the breakaway competition in which the founding members would not be relegated.
The six English clubs planned to form the league alongside Spanish sides Atletico Madrid Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as Italy’s AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus. This group was nicknamed the “dirty twelve”.
Protests by football fans in England led to hundreds storming the Old Trafford pitch. This was before United were due play Liverpool. The game had to be delayed.
After , the clubs back down Joel Glazer who was announced as vice-chairman for the European Super League. He said that he had “got it wrong”
After Sky News confronted Avram in Florida, his brother refused to apologize.
After the scandal, United’s executive Vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced that he was leaving the club. Woodward had been a controversial figure among fans following a string of costly signings with little success.
Neville brands Glazers ‘scavengers’
Gary Neville, a former Man United captain and a player at the club when the Glazers took control in 2005, has been vocal in his criticism of the owners in recent weeks.
Neville called the Glazers “scavengers” after the European Super League fiasco.
Sky Sports: “We have to come together.”
“It might not be too late. There will be fans from Manchester United who, 15 years ago, will tell you it’s too late.
It’s never too late to end this. It is crucial that we do this.”
Neville claimed Old Trafford was “rusting” and that PS1bn is needed to rebuild it. The club is also in “mess”.
After United’s defeat by Brentford, Neville stated that “when a business fails and it’s no longer performing, it is the owners who are to blame”.
It is very simple. It is failing miserably.
They took out about PS24m of the club two years ago. Now they have a decaying, rotting stadium that is second-rate in comparison to the one it was 15 years ago.
“You’ve got a football project that they don’t know anything about.”
Neville stated that the club has had a toxic culture and atmosphere over the past decade after Sir Alex and David Gill, former chief executive of United.
He said, “It’s a mess and it can’t continue.”
One of Manchester United’s star players made the most recent, highly publicized criticism of Glazers.
Piers Morgan, Talk TV host, launched a venomous attack on the club’s owners in an interview.
After 12 years, the Portugal star returned to United last season and claimed that the Glazers didn’t care about them. He also said that it was a marketing club.
He stated, “They will make money marketing the sport, it’s, it’s, I don’t really care.”
Ronaldo claimed that United had not improved as a club since Sir Alex’s departure in 2013.
“Nothing changed. Surprisingly, he stated.
“The pool, jacuzzi, and gym are just a few of the many things I love about this place.
“They stopped for a while, which was very surprising to me. I was hoping to see new things. Different, as I said before, technology, infrastructure.
“But unfortunately, we now see many things I didn’t see when I was 20, 21, or 23. It surprised me a lot.”
According to reports, Ronaldo’s lawyers have been trying to find a way to end his time at the club since last week’s interview. On Tuesday, it was announced that Ronaldo would be leaving the club “by mutual agreement, immediately effective”.
Interest from Britain’s wealthiest man
Bloomberg reported that the Glazer family was considering selling their minority stake in United. In August, preliminary discussions were held to bring in a new investor.
It was also revealed that Sir Jim Ratcliffe (one of Britain’s most wealthy men), a boyhood United fan who had expressed interest in purchasing the club.
He revealed that he had met with the Glazer family in October and was told that they weren’t interested in selling Manchester United.
Sir Jim stated, “I met Joel & Avram and they were the nicest people.”
They are gentlemen and don’t want it to be sold. It is the property of six of the father’s children, and they do not want to sell it.”