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Friday 20 April 2018

Reds Knights unlikely to rescue United fans as deal flounders

Ian Herbert

The glazer family are destined to be the owners of Manchester United for the foreseeable future, with a deepening sense taking hold last night that the Red Knights' bid to take over the club is doomed.

The complex process of signing up high net worth Knights to contracts, legally binding them into a takeover offer, is ongoing and some kind of bid will be tabled, but even the staunchest supporters of the movement are resigned to the fact that their offer will not be large enough to dislodge the Americans. The Red Knights will not offer more than £1bn and, given that the Glazers' PR offensive has elicited the suggestion that an as yet unnamed buyer offered £1.5bn but was turned down, it will simply not be enough.

The only remaining hope is that United fans will refuse to renew their season tickets, unnerving the Glazers into accepting an offer. To this end, the Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must) issued its own pleas for fans to delay renewal on Tuesday night. A bid might be tabled as early as June 11 to generate the publicity to boost the boycott. But it seems too late to damage United seriously: many fans have already renewed.

Speaking in the US, where the club are promoting their pre-season tour, chief executive David Gill said: "There haven't been any boycotts. Every game at Manchester United has been sold out. Our season ticket sales and renewals for the upcoming season are on track with previous years. Our executive ticket renewals are on track.

"There will always be factions that are unhappy with it but the reality of it is the Glazer family have owned the club for those five years, they own it 100pc."

No precise date could be put on a Red Knight bid last night because of the ongoing fundraising work. But a bid will be made, then rejected and it is expected that the Knights will subsequently declare they are not prepared to line the pockets of detested proprietors by making an unrealistic valuation. This will allow them to make a dignified withdrawal.

Though the fans' green and gold campaign which has run alongside the Red Knights' efforts has been powerful and imaginative, some financial observers believe that the takeover efforts have lacked the same subtlety and have been misguided. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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