Skip to content

Glazers facing potential takeover of Manchester United

ManU.jpgAs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get ready to do a cannonball into the free-agent pool (as long as it doesn’t cost too much money), ownership is facing a threat to its control of Manchester United, the English soccer powerhouse.

While the Glazer family insists that Manchester United isn’t for sale, multiple outlets (including the BBC) report that a group of financiers have met to discuss a possible hostile takeover of the team.

The group calls itself the “Red Knights,” and they met on Monday.

The existence of more than $1.1 billion in debt has prompted increasing concerns regarding the Glazers’ ability to properly run the franchise.  And the cash issues regarding the soccer club have caused many Bucs fans to wonder whether profits from owning a pro football team are being diverted to the Manchester United debt and not being devoted to acquiring better football players.  (There’s no evidence that this is actually occurring.)

Part of the problem is that folks in England never have completely warmed up to American ownership of their soccer clubs, and so anything that the Glazers do or don’t do will be criticized.  The existence of enormous debt, however, provides an easy excuse for folks to pile on.  More problematically for the Glazers, it finally has sparked what could become a real threat to their ongoing ownership of the team.

Such an outcome might be seen as good news not only by fans of Manchester United, but also by fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Permalink 26 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Top Stories
26 Responses to “Glazers facing potential takeover of Manchester United”
  1. Citizen Strange says: Mar 2, 2010 11:14 AM

    Please keep an eye on this story for us. It is beyond fascinating.

  2. Kool Herc says: Mar 2, 2010 11:25 AM

    “Part of the problem is that folks in England never have completely warmed up to American ownership of their soccer clubs, and so anything that the Glazers do or don’t do will be criticized.”
    Incorrect, Randy Lerner has been widely acclaimed for his ownership of Aston Villa. It’s just the Glazers and their method of takeover and running the club into so much debt that has lead to their hatred. Ditto for Tom Hicks at Liverpool.

  3. Pier588 says: Mar 2, 2010 11:26 AM

    Regarding Man U – I’m not that kind of football fan and could care less what they are doing across the pond except for the obvious continued mis-management and lack of fucus on the Bucs.
    Really good news rearding the Bucs would be the Glazer boys announcing the team is being sold to Eddie D so he can bring his 49er know how to an organization that very much needs it.
    The Glazer boys have no clue what to do with the expensive toys their daddy bought them and have run both into the ground.

  4. blastfurniss says: Mar 2, 2010 11:28 AM

    Losing a billion bucks with Manchester United would be like the New York Yankees going belly up. Anyone know what the Brits think of Randy Lerner who owns Aston Villa? I seem to recall he had turned that club around by hiring a top notch management team, sort of like what he’s finally done with the Browns.

  5. Cabble says: Mar 2, 2010 11:31 AM

    I don’t think it’s the issue of American ownership of English clubs, just the Glazers in general. The vast majority of Aston Villa fans are happy to have Randy Lerner as an owner, the same goes for Arsenal fans and Stan Kroenke.
    Where there are issues are with the loading of the clubs with record levels of debt as has happened with the Glazers and United and also with George Gillett and Tom Hicks at Liverpool. There is justifiably a climate of fear amongst fans that the clubs could be dismantled to service debts, and with the demise recently of Portsmouth due to financial mismanagement only adding extra fear.
    @KILLER FIN easy to say sell the club, much harder to find someone willing to saddle themselves with the burden of servicing $1.1 Billion of Debt

  6. ih8crouch says: Mar 2, 2010 11:31 AM

    Florio,
    Being a Manchester United Season Ticket holder i am in a good position to reply here.
    Its nothing to do with the fact it is an american owning the club. It has to do with the fact that Glazer financed his deal to purchase the club based on a Debt of around £ 700 Million. The club was debt free before that Jerk turned up. In the last year we sold the Best Player in the World for £80,000,000 and have yet to see this be invested in more players. Rumours are in the british press we will be forced to sell up to 15 players next year to finance to stabalise this debt. Also add on to this a possible 11% ticket price increase (they did a 95% increase in parking charges in the last few years ;) cheers for that one)
    This club is as big as any in the world but give it a few years the cracks will show and it could all come crumbling down because of this idiot.
    Most big clubs in england are under forign ownership Russians, Arabs, Americans (randy lerner, Kronke and also them two clowns who own Liverpool lol… etc)
    Trust me here we DONT care where the owner comes from its all about the debt he brought

  7. Gooner says: Mar 2, 2010 11:36 AM

    It is untrue that us English folk have not warmed to American ownership of our clubs. What we dislike are poor owners, which has nothing to do with their nationality.
    The owner of the Cleveland Browns and Aston Villa FC, Randy Lerner, has proved a model owner as has Stan Kroenke who owns considerable chunks of the St Louis Rams and Arsenal FC.
    In contrast, the Glazers financed their purchase of Manchester United by saddling the club with huge debt. Glazer’s sons have taken fat salaries out (for what?) and alienating fans by a variety of actions including, most recently, sacking a long-serving Steward for trying to return a confiscated anti-Glazer banner to a fan.
    …and don’t get me started on Hicks and Gillette who own Liverpool FC and have proved every bit as incompetent as the Glazers.

  8. east96street says: Mar 2, 2010 11:36 AM

    The question you seem to be ignoring is why isn’t the NFL forcing the Glazers to sell the Bucs? I was under the impression that the NFL requires their owners to be financially solvent and able to meet their financial obligations. It is obvious that is not the case with the Glazers. They tried to get the interest rate on the debt renegotiated and failed. That indicates they don’t have the financial means to do it. The Glazer financial house is teetering on the brink and to have an NFL owner go bankrupt would be a huge embarrassment to the League. Not to mention it would cause a fire sale of the Bucs which, in turn, would devalue each other team.

  9. tombrookshire says: Mar 2, 2010 11:43 AM

    The Glazers are circling the drain at this point. Bucs and MU are both likely to go up for sale before long. Bucs may be another candidate for a move to L.A. Free agency and the draft will be a good yardstick to see how much time they have left as owners.

  10. TFBuckFutter says: Mar 2, 2010 11:48 AM

    “And the cash issues regarding the soccer club have caused many Bucs fans to wonder whether profits from owning a pro football team are being diverted to the Manchester United debt and not being devoted to acquiring better football players. (There’s no evidence that this is actually occurring.)”
    Really? The Bucs’ roster and coaching situation doesn’t qualify as evidence?

  11. Slow Joe says: Mar 2, 2010 11:53 AM

    Are soccer teams corporations? How do hostile takeovers happen?
    I know that American football teams are sole proprietorships (excepting Green Bay) and cannot be “taken over”. They can only be sold if the owner intentionally sells them.
    Can a group do a hostile takeover of the Packers? That’d be funny. LA Packers!

  12. tinshaker says: Mar 2, 2010 11:53 AM

    Florio,
    You got it all wrong. If anything, the Glazers have used Manchester United to squeeze funds to pay themselves and keep the Bucs up and running, not the other way around.
    The Buccaneers can’t sell seats or merchandise or even win games. Manchester United on the other hand is one of the biggest and most successful sports franchises in the entire world.
    They sell loads of merch, are always sold out, and win championships (including the Carling Cup this past week) and have not spent much cash since selling off Ronaldo. There’s no reason for their debt to keep growing other than the Owners taking ridiculous bonuses and loans out on the profits.
    This is all the Glazers fault – don’t blame it on English football fans – they didn’t run up the debt.

  13. Nobe says: Mar 2, 2010 11:58 AM

    Report: I understand that Man U is moving to L.A. after the Raiders move to Canada.
    Man U will play in the NFL, and are widely projected to win three more games this year than the Toronto (Rump) Raiders.
    Rump Raiders v. Rough Riders to be played in exhibition season.
    Becks will be reunited with his old chums at the club.

  14. Hosstyle In Tampa says: Mar 2, 2010 12:01 PM

    I wish these comment sections were limited to the Brits. It’s nice to be able to read a comment without inserting my own grammar and spelling corrections. Cheers

  15. Mean D says: Mar 2, 2010 12:01 PM

    And the cash issues regarding the soccer club have caused many Bucs fans to wonder whether profits from owning a pro football team are being diverted to the Manchester United debt and not being devoted to acquiring better football players. (There’s no evidence that this is actually occurring.)
    WHAT!!! I believe we have had one of the lowest salaries as a team for about 5 years. And don’t get me started on Radio.

  16. Emmet50 says: Mar 2, 2010 12:08 PM

    blastfurniss, one of the big differences between the NFL and and English soccer is that the manager of the soccer team is all powerful. There is no GM,team president, or Mike Martzesque co-ordinators. Therefore you only need to make one successful appointment and success should follow, as along as the owner has a reasonable amount of money. Lerner got Martin O’Neill who had an excellent track record and was only out of work because he took a year off to care for his wife who was seriously ill. Lerner also endeared himself to the locals with gestures such as putting his own money into renovating a run down pub near the stadium and putting a charitable orgainisation’s name (acorn) on the front of the team’s jersey instead of a corporate sponsor

  17. Adam says: Mar 2, 2010 12:19 PM

    So this counts as tampering, right?

  18. DCall says: Mar 2, 2010 12:20 PM

    How can they be this far in debt, they just sold Christiano Ronaldo for 130 million and havent purchased his replacement yet. I can see why the Brits are so pissed off! Man U is like the Cowboys here, one of the biggest names in the sport, probably third in the world next to Real Madrid and Barcelona.
    This seems more just like the Glaziers ideology of athlete management. They sell there best players and pocket the money! The Bucs and Red Devils rosters only verify that.

  19. Jason Ofthetower says: Mar 2, 2010 12:58 PM

    tombrookshire says:
    “The Glazers are circling the drain at this point. Bucs and MU are both likely to go up for sale before long. Bucs may be another candidate for a move to L.A. Free agency and the draft will be a good yardstick to see how much time they have left as owners.”
    Uh, no, the Bucs aren’t a good candidate for relocation. They have great support from the community and one of the best (i.e. most profitable) stadium leases in the NFL. It’s why despite the lean times, the Bucs continue to be one of the most profitable franchises in the NFL and why the NFL has stayed mum on the Glazer’s situation.
    The Glazers have a standing offer from Eddie Debartolo for the team and he has no intention of moving it to LA.
    If the Glazers go panick mode and are forced to sell, they will stay in Tampa.

  20. HarrisonHits says: Mar 2, 2010 1:17 PM

    “And the cash issues regarding the soccer club have caused many Bucs fans to wonder whether profits from owning a pro football team are being diverted to the Manchester United debt and not being devoted to acquiring better football players. (There’s no evidence that this is actually occurring.)”
    Except a 3-13 record from a team that not that long ago was substantially better. Glazers are wretchedly horrible owners.

  21. Mangy66 says: Mar 2, 2010 2:35 PM

    Hey Florio (a.k.a. The Perez Hilton of Football),
    You forgot to mention that the Redskins signed Albert “The Baconator” Haynesworth to a contract shortly after midnight on the first day of free agency.
    You’re slipping man.
    Regards,
    Your Friendly Neighborhood Redskins Fan

  22. Deb says: Mar 2, 2010 5:35 PM

    Someone compared the Glazers stewardship of Man United to a Brit owner taking the NY Yankees belly-up. Perfect comparison. I’m no fan of the sport, but Man U is the crown jewel of British soccer franchises and it should be illegal for these idiots to drive it into the ground. As for the Bucs, I agree with easy96street: Why does the NFL allow them to carry this kind of debt? Aren’t the owners of NFL franchises supposed to have their finances in order? The Glazers couldn’t bring order to the finances of a lemonade stand on St. Pete Beach. They need to be stripped of both teams.

  23. witdog67 says: Mar 3, 2010 12:43 AM

    From a BBC article yesterday:
    “The club had a successful bond issue in January, raising £504m investment, which will cover most of the £509m the club owes to international banks.
    Unlike that bank debt, the bonds do not have to be paid off until 2017.
    That is the same year when punishing Payment in Kind (PIK) loans from hedge funds – for which the Glazers are responsible – are due to be paid.
    Those PIKs have a stringent 14.25% interest rate, and by converting their bank debts into bonds, the Glazers are now free to start repaying the PIK loans.
    So, to a certain extent the financial situation at the club has been stabilised. ”
    Another BBC article:
    “US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer took over the club for £800m in 2005.
    But his reign has been controversial, with many fans opposed to the huge levels of debt that Red Football, the club’s holding firm, took on to finance the takeover.
    By June last year, the club’s debt passed £700m for the first time.
    In January, Manchester United successfully raised £504m through a bond issue, meaning the Premier League club will be able to pay off nearly all their outstanding debts.
    The club faces an annual interest bill of £45m a year on the bonds.
    Revenue in the last three months of 2009 rose to £87m, from £74.4m in 2008.
    Manchester United’s cash balance stands at £122.1m, up from £8.6m.
    There was increased income generated from matchday revenues and its TV rights, particularly from the elite Champions League competition.
    Media revenues rose 33% to £53.4m. ”
    ****Do your homework , NOT just tabloid fear-mongering.*****
    The Bucs will be back – someday?!

  24. Deb says: Mar 3, 2010 12:31 PM

    @witdog67 …
    I don’t read tabloids. The debt they’ve been carrying on Man United has been reported in the mainstream press for months. The mess that is the Bucs was evident last season. But perhaps they do have more financial prowess than I originally thought. Maybe they could run a profitable lemonade stand. That still doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best people to run a sports franchise.
    But hey, the Bucs aren’t my team. If you’re content to wait until the Glazers finish refinancing Man U and finally get around to their American football franchise, good for you. Your post reminds me of that song from “West Side Story”: “There’s a place for us … somehow … someday …”
    But I think everyone died in the end.

  25. witdog67 says: Mar 3, 2010 10:11 PM

    Never saw westside story, should I have ? No thanks.
    I’m just saying that the press is repeating the same thing over and over. The echo-chamber is obvious. When did “repeating what I heard somewhere is a cool job” replace journalism as a major in our universities. I found this info on the net in 30 seconds.
    The BBC says things have stabalized. If you do the math, MUFC makes a huge yearly profit that they use to pay off the debt. Will they be in debt for 20 years or so? Maybe, but they “charged” the whole team on a credit card! They’re paying it off with the MUFC’s own revenues. That’s called using credit/leverege to aquire an asset. A billion dollar asset/investment is a longterm commitment….. you think? And there has never been any proof or hints of real evidence that they are shortchanging the Bucs. In fact the soccer team is held by a seperate corporation, so funds are not mingled and it would probably be obvious if they were.
    3-13 were the results. QB play and coaching hesitation/mishaps caused it. Who would the Glazers spend money onlast year in FA? Which guys could have been signed? We tried by getting Winslow and Ward and over paying Bryant. The guys we let go, name veteran guys – all were out of the league. NOBODY wanted Brooks,Dunn,Garcia,Hilliard ect. ! That only proves we overpaid them for an extra year (maybe?).
    Fact is, we drafted below average, and gave up 4 1st rounders and 3 2nd rounders this decade for Keyshawn and Gruden. The cupboard was getting bare. That’s the yearly cycles of football for you.

  26. Deb says: Mar 3, 2010 11:51 PM

    @witdog67 …
    Okay, okay, I’d better quit before this gets ugly. LOL Not a soccer fan, but Man United is to some of my friends in the UK what the Steelers are to me, and if some Brit bought them, I’d lose my mind. So I’m just piling on the Glazers because I don’t like them. No, it’s not terribly objective, but I’m not being paid to follow this story. If I were, I would have done my homework–as I usually do when discussing American football. They still taught research when I got my journalism degree.
    You’re right, of course, about the cycles of football. It will be interesting to see what Morris does next year. I’m expecting some improvement.
    As for West Side Story … it’s a musical, so that may not be up your alley, but it is a great film–more drama than most musicals. It’s an urban gang take on Romeo & Juliet (and not everyone dies in the end ;-)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!