The Glazer Family Pause Manchester United Takeover Talks

Red Devils fans may want to look away
15:00, 02 Aug 2023

Reports have emerged suggesting that the Glazer family have conducted an about-face when it comes to their intentions to sell Manchester United. A public, drawn-out bidding process saw two candidates emerge. INEOS boss Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari royal Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. But despite both bids looking close to success over the last few months, it now looks like the Glazers will stay in situ for the time being.

The American owners have been swayed at least in part by the club’s record £900 million deal with Adidas. With the next round of bidding for television rights expected to net astronomical sums, it looks like the Glazers aren’t ready to miss out on the gold rush.


The u-turn has gone over about as well as you’d expect with the Old Trafford faithful. After a decline in on-pitch performance during the Glazer reign, coupled with the vast debt loaded onto the club with the leveraged buy-out, supporters were keen for a clean break. 

The idea of the Glazers remaining minority stakeholders saw public opinion turn against Ratcliffe, when it became clear he was not looking to buy 100% of the shares. Now the fact the Glazers could well retain full control for the foreseeable future has drawn impassioned responses.

The idea of further protests is already being mooted. There have been several demonstrations and Old Trafford walk-outs down the years as fans have campaigned for the Glazer family’s removal. Disenfranchised fans have pitched up at Carrington. A home game against Liverpool was postponed because protestors gained access to the pitch. But still Joel and Avram Glazer have remained unmoved.


It felt like they had finally had enough when the club announced it was seeking “strategic alternatives” to their ownership in November. But rather than the desperately-wanted sale so many fans have craved, what has played out is a toxic circus. The fanbase has been divided over which prospective owner they want. Manager Erik ten Hag has had to field questions on the furore, rather than ones about football. The uncertainty is now set to intensify as the new season dawns.

The fluctuating situation at the very top is widely blamed for United choosing not to pursue Harry Kane this summer. With the recruitment staff being told that the majority of transfers would need to be funded by sales, a potential nine-figure outlay for the Tottenham Hotspur man was never likely to happen. As United struggle to move on some of the players who have proved expensive transfer mistakes during the Glazer era, the cost of their ownership is being felt.

The dissenters were joined by a powerful voice this week as David Beckham gave an interview to The Athletic. In a wide-ranging chat, Beckham addressed the Glazers. "Once you lose the fans, especially at a club like Manchester United, it's hard to get them back.” The former United number seven continued: “There needs to be change. We've all seen that, we all know that."

That change looks further away than ever. As the fans prepare to revolt and the club struggles to move highly-paid names off the wage bill, United’s optimism for the new season is waning. Sure, fans of other crisis clubs will point to the acquisitions of Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund and smirk about how it could be worse. But with a crumbling stadium, a mountain of debt and 10 years without a title, many United fans would argue it couldn’t be much bleaker.

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