Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
March 5, 2010
Posted: 1811 GMT

As a supporter of what I would (naturally) call the greatest football club in the world I have often asked myself who should own Manchester United. It is - despite all the wrangling, media interest and punditry - a very simple question to answer: each and every loyal supporter who follows the club should “own” Man United for the simple reason that long-term they are the only ones to exclusively have the club's interest at heart.

Who would you want to own Manchester United?

The much-maligned Glazers are not the absolute epitome of corporate evil that they are often painted to be; but neither are they red devils to the core. The Glazers' are businessmen interested in printing money, and in good times Manchester United can be an ATM; that's why they own the club now. To put the club in so much debt for such an aim is, in my view, unreasonable and a threat to the future of the club.

The Red Knights, a group of high-net worth individuals who wish to ride to Manchester United's aid, are to be lauded for their offer. As an interim solution to the Glazer ownership I would be happy to see them raise cash to buy them out and reduce the debt quicksharp. The fact that they are fans first and investors second is what instantly puts them above the Glazers. But much like Gillett and Hicks at Liverrpool, high-profile investors can fall out, financial plans are behest to the unforseen; friendships forged under the banner of football can easily go the way of John Terry and Wayne Bridge.

Alex Ferguson has always maintained there is no player bigger than the club, using that mantra to justify the sale of Jaap Stam, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. Likewise a football club is also much more than just the sum of its players and its management, it is ultimately supported by its supporters. They are the ones who buy tickets, merchandise, read the advertising and buy their pie and pint at half time. So if there is a viable business model for giving every single fan an investment in their team then that is the underlying answer to football ownership; a way of making the club accountable to those who both fund and care about it most.

Who do you think should own Manchester United?  The Glazers, the fans, or the Red Knights?

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Edyie   March 5th, 2010 6:30 pm ET

the Red Knights ..... "The fact that they are fans first and investors second is what instantly puts them above the Glazers" lets give them the benefit of doubt with all the love they have for the game its a good investment!

skippy   March 5th, 2010 7:38 pm ET

Quite right with your point that the Glazers use the club as an ATM, but unless they are giving up the club for the welfare of the Game they will keep milking until the FANS ENMASSE walk away!
Fans deserve to be treated better than they are currently and the Glazers have no regard for anything other than the benefit to themselves, who knows they could show common sense but i for one would prefer to see the Fans walk away than let the Cow add one more cent to the Glazers lifestyle.

Theresa   March 5th, 2010 8:01 pm ET

Richard A. Quest.

He puts the 'Man' in 'Manchester'.

I'm serious. He's the Man.

Thomas Larsen   March 5th, 2010 8:49 pm ET

I agree that it is unfortunate that the Glazers of the world are allowed to put at peril an institution that is a cultural institution as much as anything. The Man U give meaning to the lives of their countless fans who otherwise struggle with life's daily problems.
I don't know the particulars of how its done but The Greenbay Packers of the American NFL have figured out a way of having the citizens of their city (and state?) own their club. It would be interesting to see if that is a model that can be molded and used elsewhere.

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[...] Who do you think should own Manchester United? [...]

Miami   March 10th, 2010 6:43 pm ET

The Glazer's ownership is just like the majority of USA NFL owners: it is a business opportunity. Clubs owned by fans should be controlled by a single interest with the minority spread among the remaining fans. Someone has to lead or else you end up with anarchy and short sighted goals.

The Green Bay Packers of the NFL are an anomaly, a legacy from a bygone era. They are an ideal and the cannot be duplicated in today's corporate sporting world.

Gregory K   March 10th, 2010 7:30 pm ET

None of them.
Sir Alex of course , No question !!

Vic   March 13th, 2010 4:47 am ET

the fans should own knights should look at barca for strategies

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