With the news that Manchester United’s current owners, the Glazers, are claiming that they will remain in the role until at least 2017, so to have developments come that a mixture of city bankers and lawyers, who are called the Red Knights, are involved in a takeover bid for the club. The men are all said to be lifelong United fans.
The men behind the plan are called Keith Harris, Paul Marshall, Mark Rawlinson, Richard Hytner and Jim O’Neill. Harris, who is a stockbroker, is the man leading the campaign and has been involved in several Premier League club takeovers, including welcoming Roman Abramovich to Chelsea.
It has been well documented that United’s mounting debt is becoming a massive concern and the football finance experts are offering the Old Trafford club a lifeline. Of the potential takeover, Harris said: “We can lend our weight to doing something for the good of United and for the good of football – none of the takeovers that I have been involved in have involved any debt, they’ve been takeovers by people who’ve wanted to be involved for reasons other than money.”
In order to oust the current ownership, the Red Knights have been working alongside the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) and have been looking at putting together a proposal that can be put to the Glazer family. Whether or not the Glazers will co-operate in this high-profile matter remains to be seen, but the fans may well start showing their support to the cause if they want the Glazers out.
One of the men, Jim O’Neill, who is an economist was previously an Old Trafford director and is meant to be a close friend of Sir Alex Ferguson. Paul Marshall is a partner at the hedge fund Marshall Wace, whilst Richard Hytner is in the advertising agency and Mark Rawlinson is a lawyer. If the supporters group, MUST, is to provide their backing then they will want to see if the five men are serious about the takeover along with any likelihood of the Glazers selling.
The Red Knights apparently need £1bn to buy United and will be happy to know that their plan has the backing of anti-Glazer groups and it has been reported that MUST has nearly 30,000 new members joining them recently. Harris is hoping that the Glazers will listen and be persuaded to sell. He said: “If this is an opportunity for the Glazers to take money and go, then I would hope they would listen carefully to that providing the money can be raised and I am confident it can be.”
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