Last updated : 25 May 2007 By editor

This article from today's Daily Mirror:

'THE Glazer family are ready to consider bids for Manchester United - potentially throwing the club into off-field turmoil once more. Less than three years after Malcolm Glazer finally won his controversial takeover battle in a deal that cost £831million, United's future is up in the air again.

'Boardroom figures are privately conceding a sale in the short-term is likely after the Glazers realised United was not the cash cow they believed it would be. Financial sources in the City last night confirmed feelers have started going out from Old Trafford because the takeover was proving so costly.

'Malcolm Glazer paid £790m, plus legal fees of £41.3m, to win his drawn-out fight for control of the world's biggest club. But to do so he borrowed a staggering £559m from City institutions. Last year, a refinancing package, organised by merchant bank JP Morgan, only came after the amount owed to hedge funds had grown by another £71m, leaving a total debt of £660m. JP Morgan's fees for that transaction came to £90m - the cost of three Wayne Rooneys - and the club now faces annual repayments of £62m. That burden is wiping out the bulk of United's profits.

'The relationship between the club's management and the Florida-based owners is becoming more and more of an issue and with Glazer seriously ill after a stroke last year and having to put control of the business in the hands of his sons, it seems he is increasingly looking for a way out.

'United chief executive David Gill was said to have been in a "really bad mood" before United's FA Cup Final defeat, preoccupied by affairs at the club. One well-placed City source said: "What we're all hearing is United hasn't turned out to be what the Glazers thought it was. When they paid so much, they were convinced a lot of money was to be made. Buying United wasn't about owning a football club, but a business decision and from an investment point of view it's been little short of disastrous."'

A spokesman for the Glazer family responded to the article saying, "The Glazer family have a long-term commitment to Manchester United and that is not going to change. Quite simply, they are not interested in selling the club. Why would they? They are determined to make United more successful, both on and off the pitch."