Football finance expert Kieran Maguire looked at what it would take for the owners of billionaires, the Glaser family, to pack up and sell Manchester United football club.
In a very detailed column for The Times, Maguire confirmed that when the Glaser family took a controlling stake in Man United in 2005 for around £ 790 million, the club had £ 6 million in the bank and zero debt.
Fast forward 16 years and the picture is far less rosy.
On Sunday afternoon, thousands of fans expressed their displeasure during a tense protest in front of Old Trafford – the club’s iconic stadium.
The misery of the fans is accumulated by the recently collapsed plans to create a pioneer breakaway league in favor of the European Super League.
Going out on the grass at Old Trafford just hours before their Premier League match against Liverpool rivals, Man United fans were heard chanting “We want Glazers to come out! “We want Glazers out!” ”
In what is now becoming a widespread movement designed to force the Glaser family to leave the club, Maguire hinted at what it could take for Manchester United to change hands.
“Currently, the shares are worth about 2.1 billion pounds,” Maguire writes. “Anyone who wants to take over the club will have to pay a premium to persuade the Glazers to sell, so a real £ 3bn offer will really be needed, which will leave them with a nice profit.
“In addition, lenders can invoke a change in the control clause and demand payment from a new owner, which brings out a total cost of around £ 4 billion.”
Although there are several suggestions that a 50 + 1 ownership model could be introduced – the same as that of the Bundesliga – Maguire warned that the idea may not work as well as fans think.
“The rule of the German Bundesliga 50 + 1 has also been upheld by some,” he added. “The German FA does not allow every single investor to own more than half of the shares in a club. This allows fans’ views to be presented in the boardroom if they act collectively to vote in directors.
“It is unlikely that such an idea will work in England, as it will potentially require huge compensation for existing shareholders.
“An alternative approach can be achieved through FA or government legislation requiring fans to appoint non-executive directors. These directors can vote in board meetings and even have the right to veto key decisions such as resigning from the league, moving the stadium more than ten miles and changing the colors of the club, combing, etc.
“This does not require financial costs for the participants.”