Fans expect exit of Glazers

MANCHESTER UNITED supporters opposed to Malcolm Glazer’s ownership do not believe the American will still be in control at Old Trafford in five years’ time.

After a relatively quiet period, discussion of the Glazer family’s handling of United has gone back onto the agenda following comments made by former chief executive Martin Edwards in a new book by Andy Mitten, ‘Glory, Glory...: Man Utd In The 90s’.

Edwards is deeply concerned at the rising debt mountain, which currently stands at almost £700 million (€761m), that the Glazers placed on the Old Trafford outfit once they had completed their controversial takeover in 2005.

The position is slightly odd in that, during the family’s control, United have won three Premier League titles on the trot and reached successive European Cup finals, plus a semi-final.

Manager Alex Ferguson has consistently backed the Glazers’ ownership as well, which hardly hints at a club in crisis.

Nevertheless, it is fairly self-evident the debt cannot go on rising in the manner it has been and, at some stage, action will have to be taken to get it down.

Some feel that will result in the Glazers either selling a significant stake in the club or pulling out altogether, knowing they could probably raise a sum way beyond the £790m (€860m) they originally paid for what has become a worldwide marketing phenomenon.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), who as Shareholders’ United bitterly opposed the Americans’ involvement, are adamant the latter option is the one that will be taken, at which point they need to be in a position to at least get a stake in United’s future.

“We share Martin Edwards’ concerns about the future,” said MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo.

“That is precisely the reason why we have begun building a huge online network of Manchester United supporters and ‘Reds In Business’.

“I think it is unlikely that the Glazer family will still be the owners of Manchester United in five years’ time, so supporters need to prepare now if they want to have a say in the future ownership of the club.”

Of course, Edwards was hardly a fans’ favourite himself, having recommended a buy-out by BSkyB, which supporters claim credit for wrecking.

However, while he has no wish to run down the club to which he is still attached through his position as honorary life president, he does worry what will happen in the future.

“The crunch time will come when they (the Glazer) exit,” he said in the book.

“Will they saddle the club with the debt or just sell the club on for a profit because that’s all they are interested in?

“How will they leave the club?

Meanwhile, Le Havre have denied United’s claim that FIFA have cleared Paul Pogba to join the Barclays Premier League champions.

The two clubs have been embroiled in a bitter feud over the teenager and the issue appeared to be resolved when United released a statement on Wednesday night saying they had been authorised by FIFA to register Pogba “with immediate effect”.

However, Le Havre insist no firm decision has yet been made by world football’s governing body.

“Contrary to what Manchester United state on their official website FIFA have not validated the transfer of Paul Pogba but, as they normally do in this type of case, have issued a provisional international certificate,” read a statement on Le Havre’s website.

“The decision of the international body is therefore a non-event and is normal procedure.”

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