Manchester United fans: Glazers 'must not just look at the highest bidder'

Video report by ITV Granada Reports' sports correspondent, David Chisnall.

Manchester United fans have urged the Glazer family to sell quickly but to leave the club in the right hands - not just whoever makes the highest bid.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) wrote an open letter to the American owners following their announcement, on Tuesday 21 November, they were "exploring strategic alternatives", which could include a possible sale.

MUST welcomed news that the unpopular owners could be on their way out after 17 years of control at Old Trafford, but added the note of caution regarding who might replace them.

Writing on social media the Trust used social media to tell the Glazers it is "time for change".

The open letter criticises the Glazers for their record with the club, before urging them to sell as quickly as possible.

They said the statement from the Glazers was what "most Manchester United fans have wanted to hear for the last 17 years", adding "fans will want to carefully scrutinise any new prospective owner".

The trust also urged the board "to move with speed" around a potential sale, claiming, "in football, any sort of hiatus or uncertainty is disastrous.

"If you have decided to sell, we urge you to do it quickly to allow the club to move on without any delay."

A protest in May 2021 against the Glazers at Old Trafford caused a game between Manchester United and Liverpool to be postponed. Credit: ITV News/PA

In April 2022 another supporter's group began a series of "constant, relentless, peaceful and legal protests" against the Glazer owners.

Calling the leadership "rotten", the 1958 group said: “The club’s a mess so we need to act and raise awareness again."

MUST also used the opportunity to ask for a fan stake to be considered by any new owners.

The Trust said "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 unified with the same goals."

After years of rebuffing demands that they sell up, the Glazers now seem prepared to relinquish control.

The Glazers say Sir Jim "brings a wealth of commercial experience" Credit: PA images

In a statement issued by Manchester United, executive co-chairmen and directors Avram and Joel Glazer said: "We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximises 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 statement also said several initiatives will be looked into to strengthen the club, including "including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale... and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders."

Should the Glazers decide not to sell, they could still look for an investment partner to raise capital in order to fund a much-needed redevelopment of Old Trafford.

The open letter in full.

"Last night you made a statement that most Manchester United fans have wanted to hear for the last 17 years. Manchester United, it is perfectly clear, is up for sale.

"You, more than anyone, can see we are in desperate need of new investment, and that can only come with new ownership.

"The last 17 years has been characterised by debt and decline - on-the-field and off it.

"The vast majority of United fans will agree with the conclusion you appear to have also reached - it's time for change.

"Fans will want to carefully scrutinise any new prospective owner - most of all we implore them not to repeat the mistakes you did - of alienating the fans that represent the greatest asset of Manchester United.

Manchester United Supporters Trust open letter on Twitter Credit: Twitter: @MU_ST

"You have made huge amounts of money from Manchester United.

"Hundreds of millions of pounds out, without a single penny of investment in. Whatever commercial objective you had in 2005, we suspect you have met it.

"So now you can do two things for your legacy - the first is to prioritise the best interests of Manchester United Football Club over the financial interests of the selling shareholders.

"Our club, at this moment in time more than ever, needs the right ownership and that should be the priority rather than simply the highest bidders and highest return for you.

"Second, we implore you to move with speed. In football, any sort of hiatus or uncertainty is disastrous.

"If you have decided to sell, we urge you to do it quickly to allow the club to move on without any delay.

"We have a terrific new manager, and we see can all see recent progress on the field.

"So, conclude your review process as quickly as possible, identify the best new ownership for the Football Club, and get the sale done so Erik Ten Hag has the certainty he needs to invest in the playing squad and we bring in the much needed investment for the stadium to restore Manchester United to its proper position.

"Now is the time for change in the best interests of Manchester United."

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