Monday 20 November 2017

Man United fans are wrong - the Glazers are great owners, argues director Ed Woodward

Manchester United's Bryan Glazer (left), Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer (right)
Manchester United's Bryan Glazer (left), Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer (right)

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hopes history will judge the Glazer family as better owners than most fans originally feared.

The Glazers attracted massive criticism following their leveraged buy-out of the United in 2005.

Some fans were so angered by their involvement, coupled with the increasing commercialisation of the game, they forced FC United, who are now in the Northern Premier League and have started construction of their own stadium.

Many of those who remained wondered what fate would befall their club, believing the debt would be a major handicap in the transfer market and even raise the potential for United being unable to pay their bills.

Yet such apocalyptic fears failed to materialise.

Compared to many overseas owners, the Glazers have remained in the background and allowed the actual football team to function in line with the manager's wishes.

The result has been five Premier League titles in eight full seasons, plus three Champions League finals, one of which, against Chelsea in 2008, was won.

Even the transition of manager, following Ferguson's decision to quit at the end of the season, was smoothly handled, with David Moyes' appointment coming barely 24 hours after the official confirmation of his fellow Scot's exit.

Some United supporters remain distrustful. For others, the scars run so deep they will never be reconciled to the owners' vision.

In an exclusive interview with the club's fanzine 'United We Stand', Woodward said: "I'm sensitive to the general feeling about being fearful about the future of the club under this ownership.

"I think we should explain what the debt means.

"I can understand that [the fans' distrust of the Glazers]. Time will perhaps make them look better owners than some think, especially when they are compared to other owners."

The Glazers launched a successful partial flotation of United in the New York Stock Exchange last year and rumours have persisted of a second such move at some point in the future.

But Woodward expects the family to be around for a long time yet.

"I can't answer for them as I don't know what their intentions are," he said.

"I expect them to be in an ownership position and involved in the club for many years to come."

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