Manchester United: US house owners’ checkered historical past of investing in Premier League golf equipment


One former Manchester United chief govt — Peter Kenyon — agrees with that characterization of his former group’s house owners.

“I am unsure the people who find themselves in that membership now know what the membership is all about.”

Sunday’s postponement of the sport between Manchester United and Liverpool attributable to fan protests — that at instances turned ugly — introduced into sharp focus the dissatisfaction of many supporters over the way in which the Glazer household have run the Premier League’s most profitable group.
Fans are seen protesting Manchester United's Glazer ownership outside the stadium.

Police estimate over 1,000 protesters invaded the pitch at United’s Outdated Trafford stadium forward of the match in opposition to Liverpool.

Some 200 folks additionally congregated outdoors The Lowry Lodge, Salford the place the United gamers have been staying forward of the match, to protest in opposition to the membership’s US house owners.

In response to the protest, Manchester United issued a press release, saying: “The membership has no need to see peaceable protestors punished, however will work with the police to establish these concerned in prison exercise, and also will subject its personal sanctions to any season ticket holder or member recognized … We stay dedicated to dialogue and engagement with our followers by way of the Followers discussion board and different acceptable channels.”
United followers’ discontent with the Glazers has intensified after six of England’s prime golf equipment signed up final month to affix the European Tremendous League (ESL) — a multibillion greenback competitors consisting of 12 of the largest groups in European soccer. Manchester United was one of many 12 golf equipment.

Though the enterprise fell aside lower than 48 hours after it was first introduced, the shortage of fan session galvanized many supporters — not simply at United — who’re intent on wresting again some semblance of management they pay good cash to look at.

The six founding Premier League members finally withdrew from the ESL, starting with Chelsea and Manchester Metropolis, following widespread criticism by followers, the media, politicians and even royalty.

The involvement of Arsenal and Liverpool within the failed Tremendous League challenge has additionally sparked discontent amongst followers for his or her respective house owners, Kroenke and Henry — together with Liverpool’s chairman, Tom Werner.

Arsenal, for instance, expenses followers as much as $132 to attend a recreation.

On Monday, the Premier League issued a press release saying it acknowledged “the energy of feeling and the best of followers to know what is going on” when addressing the Outdated Trafford protests.

“We’re dedicated to sustaining shut dialogue with supporters and their representatives, as we work with The FA and Authorities to establish options, however ask that every one protests are peaceable,” added the assertion.

CNN has reached out to the Glazer household, Kroenke and Henry for remark.

The United Trinity statue is seen as fans protest Manchester United's Glazer ownership outside the stadium.


Since taking on Manchester United in 2005, the Glazer household — which additionally owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers — has by no means actually received followers over.

“After sixteen years not one member of the Glazer household has ever had a lot as a dialog with us,” mentioned the Manchester United Supporters Belief (MUST), a bunch of greater than 200,000 membership supporters, mentioned in a press release on Monday.

When the Glazer household took over the membership, followers who spoke to CNN feared it could be saddled with debt and that the household was purely in its model, rivaled solely by Actual Madrid, and revenues. Manchester United was a debt-free membership earlier than the Glazers purchased the group.

In accordance with the membership’s newest accounts launched on March 4, 2021, the web debt of the membership is $630.7 million (£455.5 million). In December 2019, earlier than the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the membership’s web debt had reached $283.16 million (£203.6 million).

Joel and Avram Glazer looks on as they attend a training session.

The Glazer’s precedence is success on the pitch and the household can level to web funding of $240.3 million (€200m) in participant acquisitions over the previous two years which is greater than another main European membership. It has totaled over $1.081 billion (€900m) since 2013.

Sunday wasn’t the primary time United followers staged a protest. In 2010, MUST organized a protest through which followers wore inexperienced and gold scarves to video games, the membership’s authentic colours — ditching the ironic pink and white neckwear.

Whereas the Glazers level to a meteoric uptick within the membership’s business revenues, MUST is looking for a extra fan-oriented possession mannequin after Sunday’s protests.

In its Monday assertion, MUST outlined a four-point plan to “rebalance the present possession construction within the favour of supporters,” demanding a response from the Glazers by Friday.

A part of that plan referred to as for a “share scheme” which might give followers related voting rights to the Glazer household.

One of many factors consists of Manchester United followers being supplied the chance to purchase Glazer household shares within the membership till they’ve been “lowered to a minority or certainly being purchased out altogether.”

That sort of mannequin is a nod to the 50+1 possession rule prevalent in German soccer, the place exterior traders and business companions — similar to Audi or Adidas — aren’t allowed to achieve management, as a substitute making certain members, usually additionally followers, retain majority possession of golf equipment.
Arsenal Stan Kroenke looks on prior to the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal.

Genie out of the bottle

Whereas Manchester United and the Glazers are at present within the highlight, followers have directed their anger at different US-based house owners in latest weeks attributable to their participation within the ESL.

At Arsenal, protests just a few weekends in the past befell outdoors the Emirates Stadium in London demanding Kroenke promote his shares within the membership.

Though Arsenal fan and Spotify founder Daniel Ek introduced his intention to submit a bid for the membership, Kroenke has insisted there isn’t any intention to promote.

At Liverpool, which has prided itself on the shut connection to its followers — symbolized by a slogan “This Means Extra” — the information that the membership had signed up for the ESL wasn’t properly obtained.

Liverpool owner John W. Henry (left) and chairman Tom Werner after the UEFA Champions League Final at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid.

Subsequently, in a video posted on Liverpool’s social media, membership proprietor Henry, regarded as one of many principal drivers behind the Tremendous League, reduce a contrite determine.

“Over these final 48 hours, you have been very clear that it could not stand. We heard you. I heard you. And I need to apologize to Jurgen [Klopp, manager], Billy [Hogan, CEO], to the gamers and to everybody who works so laborious at Liverpool to make our followers proud,” Henry, proprietor of MLB giants Boston Pink Sox, mentioned. “They’ve completely no duty for this disruption.

“They have been essentially the most disrupted, and unfairly so. That is what hurts most. They love their membership and work to make you proud each single day. I do know the complete Liverpool group has the experience, management and fervour essential to rebuild belief and assist us transfer ahead.”

Joseph DaGrosa, a US investor and chairman of Kapital Soccer Group who has been in possession discussions with Premier League golf equipment up to now, says present house owners have run into hassle by “look[ing] at membership possession like proudly owning another enterprise — that’s, with a revenue motive foremost of their minds”

“We by no means believed the Tremendous League would transfer ahead as a result of we knew it would not by no means get the assist from followers,” DaGrosa instructed CNN Sport.

“Whereas we weren’t in any respect shocked by the precise response from followers, we now have been shocked at how rapidly the state of affairs escalated and the protests which have taken place.”

Arsenal fans hold placards during a protest against the club's owner Stan Kroenke.

The precise final result that protesting followers need varies.

Some want to see completely different house owners at their golf equipment, whereas others want to see the 50+1 possession mannequin utilized in Germany to be applied within the UK, however the message is obvious: no extra to the perceived asset stripping of golf equipment, or house owners which can be solely targeted on income era.

Whether or not the UK authorities would intervene to implement laws to change the material of soccer possession legal guidelines stays unclear.

Nonetheless, what the previous few weeks have proven is that the genie is out of the bottle — followers need to see these English golf equipment genuinely take heed to them.

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