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Red Knights: Saviors or Headache?

March 5, 2010

We want Glazer out!

It has been much publicized this past week that a group of wealthy Manchester United supporters called the Red Knights are lining up a massive takeover bid to take the club away from the Glazer family’s greedy hands. News of this very noble up taking has seen the Manchester United Supporters Trust’s (MUST) membership double the past few days, officially overtaking the official Manchester United membership scheme.

While I admire and support the Red Knights’ initiative to take the club back, I do have a few questions before I give them my 100% backing.

As a United fan, I want nothing more than getting the Glazers out of the club. Their sole purpose of generating maximum profits at the expense of the supporters and at the same time putting the club in unbelievable amounts of debt(and taking on new debt to pay off the original one is a catastrophe waiting to happen).

But, I’m also a rational businessman who in all cases, must look at or question any type of deals. Especially one that involves £1.5 billion and most importantly my beloved Manchester United. There are plenty of questions we should be asking the so called savior of Man United but the most important one I think every United fan should ask is “Who exactly would be running the club?”. The Red Knights’ plan or business model in order to raise the cash needed to buy off the Glazers is through finding 40 investors who would put up £25+ million each and they claim that they actually have another 20 businessmen willing to chip in. With 40-60 very powerful men comes very powerful ego. Who exactly gets to call the shots? Will it be given to the manager? David Gill the chief executive? or the fans, much like what they have at clubs like FC Barca or FC St. Pauli? Having too much egos and “I want a say” types could only hurt the club, just look at our rivals Liverpool… and they only have two owners!

I’ve read a few articles claiming that the would be possible owners will keep the club as a private entity in order to avoid attempts of hostile takeovers much like Murdoch and Glazer did, so fair enough. But there are still a lot of questions needed to be asked. Are ticket prices going down? Who will be chief exec? Where do we get money to buy players? And so on and on and on…

Again, sorry Liverpool FC, but their set up is textbook of what happens when too many egos are at the top. Owners want too much control, manager gets frustrated, players get unsettled, players play shit, results tumble, profits plummet and fans get disillusioned. All I’m trying to say is there should be more questions before we take the apple.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. comeonreds1 permalink
    March 5, 2010 3:21 pm

    Written yesterday 4th March, by me onVital Football co.uk

    I’ve total trust in Sir Alex. If Mr Gill was saying nuts, Sir Alex wouldn’t have stayed. Sir Alex is always planning for present and future and honors have been coming without stopping. Anybody investing in the Club, wants return. Does anyone think that if there are 20 or more investors they just put money to help United? Piperpool have two shareholders and look what they have achieved. Newcastle have the owner who used to wear their shirt and stay among their supporters. Look what happened to Newcastle! If supporters adhere to what the Red Knights are saying to boycot United, once supporters stop going to ground, it is very difficult to bring them back. If United are a Joke now, imagine being owned by 20 or more who all want to be seen as the savior of United!
    comeonreds1

  2. March 6, 2010 9:25 pm

    Glazers would not give up so easily i think, and as for the red knights, read that they’ll have to take a loan around 200M pounds as well to finance their bid, which could impact yet again on Man Utd given they are already in debt due to the Glazers, and like comeonreds1 said, just imagine the chaos if the red knights do succeed to take over, having more than 20 owners would just turn the club into a joke…

  3. March 6, 2010 11:11 pm

    Exactly. I think that a lot of fans are so hell bent on getting the Glazers out that they would take a deal from the Devil himself. This bid should really really be considered carefully because if not, we might actually end up missing the Glazers… Wow, never thought I’d ever say that!

  4. Hush permalink
    March 7, 2010 7:02 pm

    I think the best thing Utd can do it cut operating costs drastically for the time being, and take a few seasons without challenging for the title and do everything they can to maintain the position in the champions league. With a world-wide fanbase and a 76,000 seater stadium being in this position in the first place is through irresponsibility or ignorance.

    This mountain of debt has arrived by mindless spending in the aim to challenge for all the top prizes year after year. Often alot (not all) Utd supporters take winning trophies for granted and that mindset has not helped the club.

    As an Arsenal supporter, no trophies for 5 years, but a spanking new stadium, a young squad still competing for top honours, and possibly the healthiest financial figures outside Barca and Real Madrid.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the next 5 years compare between Arsenal and United.

    • March 7, 2010 9:09 pm

      You might as well dissolve the club for good. Taking the “Let’s just try to finish 4th” mentality is going against the very principle of United and Matt Busby. Being the best is the only thing good enough for Manchester United.

      You’ll have to define “mindless spending” and “operating costs”.

  5. Hush permalink
    March 7, 2010 9:54 pm

    By mindless spending I mean the transfer fees paid for players who don’t command regular starting places, for example 30m on Berba who plays every other game, another 30m on Nani and Anderson who warm the bench more often than not amongst others. By operating costs I mean a cut down on wage bill and transfer kitty during the forseeable future.

    Also I don’t mean Utd should resign to 4th, but realise that they can sustain the club at the highest level by staying in the top four and winning the league is not the be all and end all. I respect your comments about Matt Busby and his philosophy but like I said wanting to win everything here and hasn’t helped the clubs finances.

    I know Man Utd is a winning club with a great history, and Sir Alex wouldn’t take second place behind anybody, but sometimes you have to take one step backwards to take two steps forward.

    Other than this is there any other solution? (Apart from a Sugar Daddy)

  6. March 8, 2010 11:13 am

    two points

    firstly the glazers have dragged us thro the mud and that is why many fans (me inc) want them gone. They have mismanaged their finances and are now bleeding profit out of the club..the bond issue proposal outlines the money they need to extract from the profits to pay for THEIR debt! That is why we want them to sell..but yes, i do not want a glazers mark 2 whether they call themselves the Red Knights or the Red Herrings. Whoever takes the club on has to give us (the fans) the assurances we want, otherwise they wont get our backing. Theres lots of vocal Utd fans that havent got a clue about any of this..havent been within a 100 miles of Old Trafford..but most of us that go know that we wont support another set of Glazer like owners. The ideal scenario is that we can implement a Barcalona style model..but we shall see. its gonna be a long struggle but we are ready for this.

    Secondly, i love the new found superiority complex Arsenal fans now have over us! Cut operating costs? You havent got a clue. Arsenal’s figures have been great of late but if youre winning jack shit what does it all mean? It means nothing. Theres no doubt that Berbatov was overpriced..much like Reyes was..it happens..its typical of over inflated football business prices. But on the transfer front, wages, player recruitment, United have got that right (bench warmers? its about having a strong SQUAD!)..and it shows in silverware..something Wenger cannot boast. Oh and that bloke Nani who was a dud buy came to the Emirates the other day and destroyed you so have a think about that one. If Arsenal had spent £30m each on a Rio and a Rooney do we think they may well have won more in recent years? Or what about £11m on a teenage Ronaldo who we made a nearly £70m profit on?? Its not rocket science and i wouldnt describe it as ‘mindless spending’

    Im really irked by Arsenal fans at the mo..win something and then you can have an opinion..until then youre just a small team from Tottenham. I think when Arsenal took one step forward in that season when they went unbeaten, they then took ten steps back. Clever? Not at all..just rubbish id say. Anyone that says u have to take one step back to go two steps forward knows nothing about Manchester United..forget the arrogant glory supporter fanbase that also has no clue about the club..the real fans demand we play hard and we always play to win. It is the United way.

    Oh and all this stuff about Arsenal having a great youth team..well theres a better one that plays at Carrington for us..we just dont go on about it every five minutes.

    • March 9, 2010 3:50 am

      I detest that small team from Tottenham comment…. bleurgh! I’d rather go trophyless for yonks than be in the same group! good thing we’re still the small team with one mickey mouse cup to show for it!

  7. Hush permalink
    March 8, 2010 1:36 pm

    I don’t want to turn this into Man Utd vs Arsenal, but what you said about signing a Rooney or a Rio for 30m would win us the league, the fact is we didn’t try and sign these players because we didn’t have the funds and in reality neither did Utd, all these signings have been on borrowed money.

    I agree they have helped you win the league titles and the champions league over the last few years but it’s this mentality of lets win this cup now and worry about the money tommorow that has Utd in trouble.

    I know Arsenal haven’t won anything over the last few years, but I’m not going ape about it because I know that we have only become a ‘big’ club recently and the club is moving forwards.

    Finally I wasn’t talking about our youth team, our first team has the lowest average age, take out Arshavin, Gallas and Almunia and you have almost 10 years left in every other player. Having these players locked down on long term contracts means we can be prudent in the market and also command high fees if they are moved on.

    It’s a sad state of affairs that the biggest club in the world is in such a mess when it really need not be.

    • March 11, 2010 10:08 pm

      Hush, (various),
      Careful what you wish for! Stan Kroenke is hovering in the Emirates shadow while his holding in the club steadily creeps up. Maybe he’ll also need to leverage himself up to and beyond the hilt to take a controlling interest, just Malcolm Glazer and the boys.

      With reference to your initial post, which I quote part of here for your convenience….. This mountain of debt has arrived by mindless spending in the aim to challenge for all the top prizes year after year……..

      I think you’re thinking of Leeds United not Manchester United.

      • March 17, 2010 12:45 am

        this is my bug bear about Gunners at the moment.

        United do not spend excessively..we are committed to youth as much as Arsenal or any other team..we bring our players up the right way. The action of the Glazers is independent of the club, hence why we want them out. Arsenal have had the funds over the years..it was only five minutes ago that David Dein was saying they had x amount of millions to spend on players. If Wenger had actually purchased just one or two big names theres no doubt to me that the Goons would have won more trophies..

        One extra point…my season ticket at Old Trafford is £650 a season..the equivalent ticket at Arsenal is £1000..so where is that money Arsenal??? They rip their fans off as much as the Glazers are ripping us off…but despite the trophy success we are willing to stand up and protest. I do believe that prawn sandwiches are the order of the day at the Emirates. Kroenke will take Arsenal over v soon and u will be asking us how to take your club back.

        And despite all this..yes we are still the biggest club in the world.

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