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Manchester United: Why the Glazers might end up staying at Old Trafford


Manchester United have been the subject of intense debate over the past three days since Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and then Ineos came forward to confirm their interest in buying the Old Trafford club.

Sums of £4.5bn have been mentioned as a potential sale price.

It is not known whether other bidders have come forward, although interest was expected from the United States and potentially Saudi Arabia.

However, it is thought US-based Elliott Investment Management are offering to put together an investment package that would allow the Glazer family to retain some kind of interest in United, the club they have owned since a £790m ($1.34bn) deal went through in 2005.

United announced in November that they were “considering all strategic alternatives” to “strengthen the club” which included new investment – not just an outright sale.

Manchester United: Why the Glazers might end up staying at Old Trafford
Manchester United fans have been protesting against the Glazer family ownership for years

What happens next?

It is expected there will be further discussions between the Raine Group, who are handling expressions of interest, and the Glazer family about the next steps.

In the meantime, those who have made offers will be allowed access to United’s ‘data room’, which holds all their financial information, including details around contracts and sponsorship agreements.

This vital information is protected, with anyone who enters having to sign agreements pledging to either dispose of it immediately should they not proceed with an offer, or to not use it in a way that could damage United.

The Raine Group had hoped to conclude the whole process by the end of March, and BBC Sport has previously been told there was no question it would be done by the end of the season at the latest.

Could the Glazers stay?

Since the initial announcement last year, club sources have stressed that ‘strategic alternatives’ did not just mean a sale, even though this is what many have focused on.

It has now been established both Sheikh Jassim and Ineos have received communication from the Raine Group asking them to stop making what they regard as vitriolic public statements including terms such as returning United to its “glory years”, which they viewed as implied criticism of the Glazers.

This has been interpreted by some as heightening the potential for the family to retain control. If they were leaving anyway, why would they care what was said about them, particularly as it can hardly be argued United have fallen a long way in trophy-gathering terms since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

While six Glazer siblings are listed as a director of the club, it has always been felt co-chairmen Joel and Avram were the pair with the greatest connection to United.

BBC Sport has been told Joel Glazer has been one of the strongest voices to favour the club remaining at its current Old Trafford site, rather than build a completely new stadium. This is on the basis he values the heritage that comes from the current team playing on the same spot as all the previous ones, dating back to 1910.

What would the fans make of that?

In short, not a lot. Protests have been a regular feature at matches since the Premier League game with Liverpool had to be postponed in May 2021 when fans broke into the stadium before kick-off, wrecking all the Covid-19 protocols.

Songs against the Glazer family are heard at every game.

On Monday ‘The 1958’, a group of supporters who made it a mission to get rid of the Glazer family, issued a forceful statement on social media.

It included the sentence: “The Glazers are universally despised and will never be accepted. They are done.”

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