The Glazers are in the process of exploring ‘strategic alternatives’ for Manchester United, with two bidders going public about wanting to buy the club outright from the American family.
Manchester United fans have protested against the Glazer ownership for 17-years and we don’t feel that fight is over just yet. Reports suggest delays mean there’s little chance that the Glazers will get their wish of completing a sale by the end of March. It could take until the end of the season.
The two public bidders we know about including Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani. Both have made initial offers to The Raine Group about acquiring the biggest football club in the world.
United fans know who Sir Jim Ratcliffe is because of hits roots in Manchester, but Sheikh Jassim is a relatively unknown character from Qatar.
A report from The Athletic has revealed that in 2010, the Red Knights, a group of wealthy United fans, held talks with the Qatar royal family and Sheikh Jassim was among those present.
Sheikh Jassim would have been in his late twenties at the time.
“He seemed very interested in the idea,” a source told The Athletic, who recalls Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee overseeing the 2022 World Cup, being present.
For those of you who don’t remember the Red Knights from 2010, the group emerged around the time pressure was increasing on the Glazer family. The collective was led by Lord Jim O’Neill and it came at a time United were renowned for winning Premier League titles and reaching European Cup finals under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Laurie Whitwell reports: “But the group needed an anchor to propel their bid to the kind of money it was thought the Glazers might be tempted by. The Qataris showed some interest in the scheme, so members of the Red Knights took a flight to Doha to discuss it in detail, including how there should also be investments in the Manchester community. There was a meeting in London and several phone calls too.
“The investment sought from Qatar was between £500million and £750million, which, combined with the Red Knights’ cash pool, was seen as a sum that could get the Glazers to the table. An alternative proposal was that the Qataris might buy the club outright but enable fans to collectively purchase a 25 per cent stake to ensure representation.”
The source adds: “They weren’t dismissive of it. They are very diplomatic, though, it is quite often hard to read what they are genuinely trying to do.”
This is new material as far as the Red Knights are concerned. Fans were not aware that their bid was set to be funded by Qatar.
It’s also interesting that they were willing to give a bit back to the fans.
Get the most important Manchester United news, opinion, interviews and exclusive features with the Stretty Newsletter – Ad Free! Kick off your afternoon with the Stretty News verdict on all matters Manchester United.