1bn bait for Glazers

Last updated : 15 February 2010 By Manchester Evening News

The lifelong United supporter has spent the last month courting financial backers and is now confident he can put an offer on the table by the end of the season.

But with money no longer an issue, the biggest obstacle will be the Glazers' willingness to sell.

A source close to Harris said: "They have given no indication that they will sell and it is impossible to know what they will accept until they are approached, which they haven't been yet."

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Harris' hopes of a buy-out will have as much to do with fan power as funds.

With the Glazers so entrenched at United, £1bn alone might not be enough to tempt them to sell, having bought the club for £831m in 2005. Anti-Glazer supporters now hope a series of protests from fans will tempt the Americans to accept the cash that is on the table.

But having weathered a hailstorm of abuse when originally buying United, the Glazers have proved as resilient as they are unpopular.

It is thought that it will take something more drastic than mere protests to convince them to sell, with fans being urged to hit them in the pocket.

A boycott on season-ticket renewals would do that - but there are no guarantees that there wouldn't be more fans waiting to snap up any unallocated tickets.

But it will take a uniting of the various supporters' clubs to intensify the pressure on the Glazers.


Fans' group goals


It is understood that talks have already been held between the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) and the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) in a bid to combine forces for the common goal.

The anti-Glazer feeling has only intensified since the release of the club's financial figures last month.

Only the world record £80m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo enabled the club to post pre-tax profits of £48.2m, despite a record year in which turnover was up from £80m to £91m.

Repayments of £42m on the £509.5m loan taken out by the Glazers to buy the club have proved a massive drain on resources.

While £500m of bonds have since been issued, it has hardly quelled the unrest among supporters already infuriated by rising ticket prices.

With the concerns over debt confirmed by the financial figures for the previous year, MUST contacted Harris, who is renowned in brokering buy-outs of football clubs.

The executive chairman of investment bank, Seymour Pierce, has gathered together a consortium of leading businessmen, dubbed the Red Knights, to put together the funds to dislodge the Glazers.

"We don't know if the Glazers can be made to listen, but there is serious intent on the part of people who have support in their hearts," said Harris.


"The Glazers are playing with an icon of football, one of the most respected brands in the world, and it is in danger. If these rumblings become a revolution and fans stop going - as difficult as it is for them not to go - and the pounds stop coming in, there is real peril."

Talks are still ongoing with the Red Knights and Harris hopes the growing unrest among fans will finally be enough to bring about a takeover.

The source added: "The bonds issue seems to have tipped fans over the edge. United supporters in the financial world are really angry about it.


"If fans stop buying season tickets it will have an impact. It won't make the club less attractive to potential buyers because they will know fans have stopped coming because of the Glazers and will return.

"This is not an overnight process. It will take time. For now it is crucial that fans come together under one cause."


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Source: Manchester Evening News

Source: M.E.N.