Glazer family considering new investment or sale of Manchester United

'If it's true, Christmas has come early' - David Scott of Manchester United fan site Stretford Paddock

The Glazer family are exploring the potential sale of Manchester United after 17 years of ownership.

In a statement the club says the board was considering "new investment... a sale, or other transactions involving the Company".

It also said it would look at an "assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale."

Executive Co-Chairmen and Directors, Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer said they would seek to serve the best interests of the fans, shareholders and stakeholders.

They said: "We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future.

"Throughout this process we will remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”

The Raine Group, which facilitated the sale of Chelsea over the summer, is acting as United’s exclusive financial advisor, with Rothschild and Co performing the same role to the Glazer family shareholders.

A statement from the club said: "Manchester United announces process to explore strategic alternatives to enhance the club's growth.

"Manchester United plc, one of the most successful and historic sports clubs in the world, announces today that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club.

"The process is designed to enhance the club's future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.

"As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.

"This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders."

Fan discontent has grown under the Glazer tenure Credit: PA Media

The Glazers, an American family who made their money from real estate, took over at United with a £790 million leveraged buy-out in 2005.

But the Florida-based Glazer family have owned United since 2005 and have overseen a sharp decline in performances and results in recent years.

The record 20-time champions of England have not won a Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge in 2012-13 and no kind of silverware for five years.

Supporters have staged several"relentless" protests, claiming the club is "a mess", and calling the leadership "rotten".

The conflict came to boiling point in April 2021, when Joel Glazer (son of Malcom) was heavily involved in the founding of a potential European Super League.

At the time owner Joel Glazer apologised for failing "to show enough respect" for the club's "deep-rooted traditions."

What have the supporters said?

Responding to the news, the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), said anybody wanting to own or invest in the club had to be "committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions".

The group said: "Over the last 17 years Manchester United fans have been dismayed with the ownership of the club.

"Over that period, we have witnessed a decline on the playing side and a decline in our stadium. Until recently, any proper dialogue with fans groups had also been absent.

"Whilst supporters have long called for change, of course this has to be the right change.

"At this moment in time our club needs new investment more than ever. That requires new ownership.

"Any prospective new owner or investor has to be committed to the culture, ethos and best traditions of the club.

"They have to be willing to invest to restore United to former glories, and that investment must be real new money spent on the playing side and the stadium.

"Finally any new ownership structure must embed supporters, including a degree of fan share ownership, in their operating model.

"Manchester United's fans are its greatest asset and hold the key to unlocking the true value of any football club. That relationship has to be one of equals - sharing in ownership and and unified with the same goals."

Cristiano Ronaldo said he doesn't 'respect' Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (right) in an interview that broadcast this week. Credit: PA images

The announcement comes just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United with immediate effect.

The striker claimed he was being "pushed out" by Manchester United bosses in an interview with Piers Morgan.

Speaking to Piers Morgan, the 37-year-old criticised the way the club is run and took aim at the club's owners, manager and younger players during the interview.

Ronaldo said he did not respect boss Erik ten Hag, and claimed Wayne Rooney was jealous of him.

The owners of arch-rivals Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group, also based in the United States, are currently exploring similar options for the whole or partial sale of a club bought in 2010 for £300m but now worth at least 10 times that.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...