Talk of unrest among Manchester United supporters is nothing new, with the Glazer family having faced plenty of opposition across their time as owners, but could another takeover at Old Trafford be on the cards? A disgruntled fan base certainly hopes so, as the club lurches from one disaster to the next on and off the field, but it will take serious money to remove the current guardians of the club from their seats in the boardroom.
How deep will prospective buyers have to dig if interest in doing a deal is to be stepped up and how much did the Glazers invest in seizing control of Premier League heavyweights over the course of a drawn-out saga? GOAL takes a look…
How much would it cost to buy Man Utd?
There has been no official word when it comes to an asking price at Manchester United, but there have been plenty of reports suggesting that the Glazers would be looking for around £4 billion ($4.8bn) from any sale.
The latest global rich list from Forbes valued the Red Devils at around $4.6 billion (£3.8bn) - placing them third in the world – so any potential suitor would need to have deep pockets in order to get an agreement in place.
Chelsea recently changed hands for £4.25 billion ($5.1bn), as Roman Abramovich made way for a Todd Boehly-led consortium, and United would expect to generate a similar fee despite their recent struggles on the pitch.
How much did the Glazer family pay for Man Utd?
The Red Devils are owned by the six children of the late Malcolm Glazer – Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edwards – with each taking an equal share of a 90 per cent stake owned by their father following his death in 2014.
Glazer had first invested in United back in 2003 when buying a 3 per cent share of the club, with that stake increased to around 30% by the end of 2004.
In May 2005, when buying out J.P McManus and John Magnier, the Glazers completed a takeover worth a total of £790 million ($951m).
A loan of around £600m ($722m) was taken on to leverage a buy-out, with that decision immediately infuriating fans as the debts generated were leveraged onto the brand of the club and have subsequently cost them around £60m ($72m) a year in interest.
Who could bid to complete a takeover of Man Utd?
The Glazers have refused to bow to pressure down the years when it comes to calls for them to walk away from English football, but more protests against their ongoing presence are being planned and a takeover bid could be in the pipeline.
Michael Knighton, who famously had a deal for United agreed back in 1989 only to see it fall through after performing keepie-uppies on the Old Trafford pitch, is back in the frame as he endeavours to piece together a consortium that is capable of forcing the Glazers’ hand.
He has told Man Utd The Religion: “We are a club in crisis and we all know the reason why. We have an inept and frankly useless ownership who know little about this game of football.
“Everyone knows that we need new ownership of this football club and that is my aim and those are my objectives. I am making good progress, continuing to talk to the people, I have got some good pledges and good finance.
“We are now working on the offer document. Remember, it is a hostile bid - that simply means that the club isn't officially for sale. But my intention is to present these owners with a legitimate, potent and commercial offer to say: 'You have run out of road, it's time go, because your time is up'.
“We need to rid our football club of this ownership as they have had their day, time has run out and we have had 17 years of disappointment, really. It is time for them to go.”
There has been no word on who could join forces with Knighton, but Sir James Ratcliffe – the billionaire chemical engineer who is Britain’s richest man – is a United supporter and did form part of one of the bids for Chelsea earlier in the year.
Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has been linked with a move for the Red Devils in the past, while UFC superstar Conor McGregor is an ardent fan of the club and has admitted in the recent past that he would like to move into football ownership.
The outspoken Irishman said in March 2022 after being linked with bids for Celtic and Chelsea: “I do not speak in jest. I am exploring this, as I said.
“Celtic from Dermot Desmond, Manchester United from the Glazers, and now the recently up for sale Chelsea football club. All being explored. A football franchise purchase is in my future make no mistake about it.
“Everyday I ball. How wouldn't I lead a team of young, dedicated athletes to glory? I'm perfect for the job. Pray it's your team.”