Thursday 21 September 2017

Glazer death unlikely to affect United plans for £200m spree

Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has died. He was 85. Photo: AP Photo/Dave Martin
Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has died. He was 85. Photo: AP Photo/Dave Martin

Mark Ogden

Manchester United last night issued an 11-word statement to acknowledge the death of Malcolm Glazer – nine years after the American billionaire's controversial debt-laden takeover of the club.

The 85-year-old, who had endured a series of health problems since suffering a stroke in 2006, passed away, with his death being announced on the website of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazer family's NFL franchise.

Following the confirmation of Glazer's death by the Buccaneers, United issued a brief communication saying: "The thoughts of everyone at United are with the family tonight."

Glazer's death will not affect the running of United, with sons Joel and Avram Glazer having run the club as co-chairmen for the past nine years. The 90pc of the club which is owned by the Glazers – 10pc of United's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange – are split evenly between Joel, Avram and siblings Bryan, Kevin, Edward and Darcie Glazer-Kassewitz.

At no time did Malcolm Glazer adopt the title of club owner at United.

Having played a prominent role as owner of the Buccaneers, who won the Super Bowl under Glazer ownership in 2002, Malcolm Glazer did not take a role at United and never visited Old Trafford following the May, 2005 takeover.

Despite United's success on the pitch during since the Glazers completed their £790m buy-out of the club, the Florida-based family have remained hugely unpopular among supporters as a result of United being plunged into debt by the leveraged takeover.

And as the head of the family, Glazer has borne the brunt of supporter-led anger and acrimony, with effigies of him burned outside Old Trafford during the battle for control of the club.

Upon the completion of the takeover, a group of disaffected United supporters broke away from the club to form FC United of Manchester, having pledged never to attend Old Trafford while the club remained under Glazer ownership.

Amid this backdrop of hostility, United chose not to publish news of Glazer's death on the club website or Twitter feed.

Senior figures at United privately described the news of Glazer's death as 'very sad,' but the reaction of the club's fans on social media was less sympathetic, with many celebrating the news.

ANTIPATHY

Antipathy reached its peak during the 2009-10 campaign following the green-and-gold campaign in protest at a £500m bond issue in January 2010 to ease the club's debt burden.

The Glazers have since floated 10pc of the club on the New York Stock Exchange in order to raise funds, with the debt now standing at around £350m.

Since being owned by the Glazers, United have spent almost £700m on interest payments and financial costs connected to the debt – a figure which exceeds the money pumped into Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan for new players.

With United now falling out of the top four, the Glazers are set to sanction a £200m spending spree on new signings this summer in an effort to close the gap on wealthy rivals. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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