Man Utd fans set off flares as they protest against the Glazers
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Manchester United owners the Glazers are set to be the subject of a ‘hostile takeover bid’ from Michael Knighton. And, now, the businessman has opened up on his consortium and plans in the event that Sir Jim Ratcliffe doesn’t get involved. The 69-year-old has previously confessed he’s a fan of the Red Devils and, as a billionaire, has the finances required to oust the club’s controversial powerbrokers.
The Glazers have been in charge of United ever since 2005.
But while Sir Alex Ferguson’s genius ensured the trophies kept being won at first, the Red Devils have fallen behind their rivals in the years since his retirement in 2013.
Knighton is now eyeing United, with the 70-year-old recently revealing he was putting a consortium together as he looks to test the Glazers’ resolve.
And though he wants Ratcliffe to be part of his interested party, he’s now opened up on a back-up plan should the Ineos supremo refuse to get involved.
“The only backup plan is that the fans worldwide unite together with the major sponsors,” he said, speaking to The United Stand.
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“Let me tell you, as a former football club owner myself for ten years, when you know your time is up, as I did, you have to go.
“I’m not asking people to like me, I’m not asking people to agree with me.
“What I’m asking for is total unity from every podcaster, from every fan that loves my club, Manchester United.”
Knighton also proceeded to explain how he sees United’s structure being once he takes charge.
“You make a legitimate point, a fair point and a correct point,” he said when asked about potentially taking money out of United, like the Glazers have done over the years.
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“Let me tell you how I see the structure.
“A condition of the consortium people that I’ve been dealing with is that the fans must be given proper shares of at least 25.1 per cent.
“Collectively, they could own that, which means they could certainly have a real say in the management of the football club, and they could certainly block any initiative like the absurd and disgusting European Super League.
“Or, if the board said, ‘right, we are moving from Old Trafford’, I couldn’t support that. Old Trafford is a sacred shrine to me, and it’s got too many wonderful memories to ever relocate.
“But the answer to your question is this: look, you’re right, certainly equity funders would look for an investment return eventually.
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“What I have said is, if any investor puts their money in and wants it back, they are going to have to roll up those funds until Jim Ratcliffe comes in and gives them a modest premium on their holding.
“What they can’t be allowed to do is do what the Glazers have done and simply keep withdrawing huge dividends year on year as well to keep servicing their debt.
“That, I think, is a legitimate criticism of the regime.”
Knighton previously worked at United as a director between the years of 1989 to 1992.
And he was keen to hammer home that, during his stint with the Red Devils, he never took a single penny out of the club.
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“As a director, I never took one single half penny out of Manchester United in all my time there,” he said.
“I did ride on the team bus, although that was a benefit in kind.
“I did stay in hotels. I offered to pay myself, but the club didn’t take it.
“I even ran with my own car. I refused every other benefit the club offered, and I didn’t take one single penny.”
Whether Knighton’s takeover bid is successful remains to be seen. But United fans want the Glazers to go and, though they’ve not indicated they’re ready to walk away, now would perhaps be the wisest time to depart.
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