Boris Johnson comments on Man Utd fan protest at Old Trafford
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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has explained how much it would cost to oust the Glazer family out of Old Trafford following Manchester United fans’ protests on Sunday. The Red Devils’ home Premier League match with Liverpool was postponed after mass disruption was caused by the thousands in attendance.
United fans are angry that the billionaire Glazer brothers have not invested any of their own money into the club since their takeover 16 years ago, yet they continue to take dividends.
The debt of the loan taken out to purchase United was also transferred into the club’s name.
Not many people on the planet would be able to afford buying one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
And Maguire, author of The Price of Football, has explained how much it would realistically cost to buy the 13-time Premier League champions.
“At present the shares are worth about £2.1billion,” Maguire wrote in his Times column. “Anyone wanting to take over the club would have to pay a premium to persuade the Glazers to sell, so realistically a £3billion offer would be necessary, leaving them with a handsome profit.
“In addition, lenders may invoke a change of control clause and demand repayment from a new owner, which takes the overall price to about £4billion.”
Meanwhile, United legend Gary Neville has given his backing to the Glazer-out campaign.
“This is a consequence of the Manchester United owners’ actions two weeks ago,” he said of the protest. “There is a general distrust and dislike of the owners, but they weren’t protesting two or three weeks ago.
“The Glazer family are struggling to meet the financial requirements at this club and the fans are saying that their time is up.
“My view is quite simply that they’re going to make a fortune if they sell the club and if they were to put it up for sale now I think the time would be right, and it would be the honourable thing to do.
“There’s huge discontent, not just across Manchester United fans, but I think for football fans up and down the country and I think they are just saying enough is enough.
“The Glazer family have been resilient and stubborn for many, many years. I think they are struggling to meet the financial demands that this club needs and have done for some time.
“If you think about the club they picked up in 2004, it had the best stadium in the country, one of the best in Europe, it had the best training ground in this country, and probably one of the best in Europe.
“It had a team that was consistently getting to Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals regularly and winning the league every season or every other season.
“If you look at the club now, this stadium I know it looks great here but if you go behind the scenes it is rusting and rotten. If you look at the training ground it’s probably not even the top five in this country, they haven’t got to a Champions League semi-final for 10 years.
“We haven’t won a league here at Manchester United for eight years. The land around the ground is undeveloped, dormant and derelict while every other club seems to be developing the facilities and the fan experience.
“All football fans should unite today behind what Manchester United fans have done today because what happened two weeks ago was really dangerous for English football.
“Today there is anger. I would hope that tomorrow it switches towards mobilisation towards reform, regulation and behind the fan-led review.
“Maybe I’m being naive, but Manchester United and Liverpool should be acting like the grandfathers of English football, demonstrating compassion, spreading their wealth through the family and being fair.
“But they’ve demonstrated self-greed and tried to walk away with all the money themselves, letting the family struggle below. That’s not what you do at these clubs. An apology is not good enough.”
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