The Manchester United fan group known as “The 1958” has voiced growing concerns over what they perceive as the Glazer family’s prolonging of the club’s ownership, labeling it a form of “hostage” situation. Amid mounting fears that the eagerly anticipated takeover might be “increasingly unlikely,” the consortium led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani remains in a holding pattern as the takeover saga unfolds. While earlier reports hinted at a possible change in ownership by October, recent developments have cast doubt on any significant progress being achieved.
Both Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe, with their contrasting offers, have been waiting in the wings while the Glazer family deliberates over the sale of the club. Despite a reported bid by Sheikh Jassim’s group in early June, the situation appears to have stagnated, prompting further frustration among the fan base. The Glazers, remaining silent on the matter, have failed to quell the rising unrest among supporters.
The possibility of a takeover emerged in November 2022 when the Glazers signaled their willingness to explore a potential sale, attracting the interest of Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe. Though initial bids were made in February of this year, the Glazers’ insistence on a valuation closer to £6 billion has led to a prolonged impasse. As a result, the drawn-out takeover negotiations have cast a shadow over the club’s preparations for the new Premier League season, leaving fans exasperated by the lack of clarity.
According to reports by the i, there is a genuine apprehension that the Glazers might not be inclined to relinquish control of the club, raising skepticism over the eventual outcome. United supporters, incensed by the perceived lack of progress, are planning repeated protests, with the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) leading the charge. Chris Rumsfitt, a spokesperson for MUST, expressed the mounting frustration among fans: “It is nine months and the hope of change has receded and fans are just exasperated, fed up and hoping desperately for some news. We feel the Glazers are holding the club and supporters hostage and it is holding back the club from making progress.”
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire weighed in on the situation, cautioning that the Glazers might be willing to wait even longer for their desired valuation of £6 billion to be met. Maguire emphasized the family’s focus on leveraging emerging technologies for potential financial gains, stating, “From their perspective, the Glazers can’t lose. They make a fortune in either dividends or management fees and while it creates a vacuum on the ground they’ve shown they don’t care.” The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the ownership transition has left Manchester United fans anxiously awaiting a resolution to the situation that has left the club in a state of limbo.
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