Who Owns Manchester United? Meet the Glazer's

it was one of the biggest off-field

stories in years

in 2005 Manchester United the most

successful English football club in the

Premier League era for being sold to

American billionaire owners even in the

age where billionaires have begun to

invest in English football with little

thought of immediate profit with

everyone playing catch-up to Roman

Abramovich in Chelsea Malcolm Glazer was

still an unknown quantity in the UK at

least Glaser was the patriarch of a

business empire that had made hundreds

of millions of dollars in a vast array

of businesses that initially wouldn't

seem to be particularly lucrative he had

grown up in a poor Lithuanian Jewish

family in New York from the age of 15

after the premature death of his father

he would sell watches door-to-door

before building up a successful watch

making business and then moving into

real estate

his first allied corporation owns

millions of square feet of mall space

across America there's a range of other

businesses from media to old people's

homes to fish-processing Glaser was

openly spendthrift according to a 2005

profile in The Guardian journalist

Alan's and John met with Glaser to

discuss a potential biography Glaser

pointed its in John's trousers those

pants are Hugo Boss pants they cost $200

my pants they came from JC Penney 1995

on sale and you know something I like my

pants more than he likes his pants you

know why because I remember the day when

I didn't have twenty dollars to spend on

pants still that attitude translated

only partially into his business

dealings famously he was accused of

being a slumlord after emerged that his

holding company charged residents of one

trailer park $5.00 per month for a pet

and three dollars for any extra resident

after the first two in other words

children but the margins on extracting

pet fees in American trailer parks were

small bear compared to the world of

sports franchise ownership which

elevated Glaser into the public's

consciousness and turned him into a

billionaire despite knowing nothing

about American football Glazer bought

the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 for 192

million dollars which was then a record

price for an NFL franchise and installed

three of his sons joel brian and edward

to run it few thought the Glazers had

got a good deal as the Bucs have been on

a downward spiral

but soon the family came across a bright

idea the Bucks needed a new stadium to

make the team financially viable but

didn't want to pay the huge costs

themselves so they made an offer to the

city's administration the glazes would

pay for half but the public purse would

have to cough up for the rest otherwise

they'd moved the Bucks somewhere else

after a series of compromises were

rejected one city Politico came up with

a novel idea the community investment

tax this would be a 30-year half cent

sales tax that would be used to pay for

public infrastructure projects as well

as education and law enforcement it was

projected to raise 2.7 billion dollars

over three decades with the construction

costs of the new stadium piggybacking on

whatever was raised six percent would go

towards building the Bucks Stadium

residents local activists and

politicians were outraged that the

country's poorest residents would

effectively be paying for a franchise

owners stadium but when put to the vote

it passed 53 percent to 47 and in 1998

the Raymond James Stadium was completed

later a 103 foot 43 ton pirate ship

which had a cannon that fires every time

a point is scored was added in the end

the Glazers per virtually none of their

own money today

according to Forbes the Bucks are worth

981 million dollars five times what

Glazer paid for the success of the Bucs

made Manchester United an easy idea to

sell both Joel and Avram were keen

soccer fans and believed that United had

a huge international reputation unlike

any sports club or franchise in the

world and that they could be picked up

relatively cheaply Rupert Murdoch had

had the same epiphany and had already

attempted to buy the club for six

hundred and twenty three point four

million pounds for the deal was not

approved by the Labor Government's

monopolies and mergers Commission due to

a potential conflict of interest with

Murdoch's football broadcasting business

as far back as 2003 Glaser had been

quietly accumulating shares in

Manchester United at the behest of his

sons but it was an argument over a horse

that opened the door for a full takeover

John Magna and JB McManus owned close to

29% of Manchester United shares and had

invested in a successful racehorse

called the Rock of Gibraltar with then

coach Sir Alex Ferguson when Ferguson

fell out with the other owners over stud

rights it poisoned relations in the

boardroom McManus and Magna yet wanted

out and the Glazer family were there to

pick up the pieces

despite supporter shareholder activism

and the famous green and gold supporter

protests the glazes red football limited

were able to take control of the club

and take it private but they didn't use

their own money to buy the club they

used a financial instrument called an

LBO or a leveraged buyout something they

had used many times during the 80s and

90s essentially it involves borrowing

money against a future asset to buy that

asset after 75 years of being debt-free

Manchester United were suddenly hundreds

of millions of pounds in the red at one

point the glazes interest payments hit

60 million pound per year but the places

could still pay the huge interest

payments because of the club's continued

success on the pitch the booming TV

rights deals as well as rapid

exploitation of the club's commercial

potential after the takeover and until

his retirement

Ferguson's Manchester United won five

more Premier League titles alongside

three league cups the FIFA Club World

Cup and a second Champions League trophy

in 2016 the club announced that it had

become the first English club to earn

more than half a billion pounds in

revenue in a single financial year with

a record profit of 68 million they have

doubled the revenue over the course of

their tenure massively expanding

commercial contracts to cover an

official wine partner official tyre

partner and of course an official paint

partner in 2014 Malcolm Glazer died

after being ill for a long time

following a stroke Joel and Avram are

co-chairman and his four other children

are directors so how do you assess the


legacy on the one hand it could be

argued that the takeover and subsequent

rise in value of the club plus its

commercial operation has made it a huge

financial success

it is now according to Forbes the most

valuable soccer team in the world worth

an estimated three point six eight nine

billion dollars more even than rail

Madrid with josei Mourinho at the helm

the team is back challenging for the

title and has returned to the Champions

League but at what cost on the tenth

year anniversary of the purchase the

Manchester United supporters Trust

released a statement laying out just how

much money have been taken out of the

club not investing a single penny might

be considered an ownership crime by fans

at most clubs but far worse than that

they've actually extracted colossal sums

from Manchester United they wrote in

2015 when all interest and charges on

their leveraged buyout is added up plus

money they've paid themselves plus

related debt still on the club they've

taken more than 1 billion pounds and

it's still rising no owner in the

history of football in any country ever

has taken so much money from a club