10 Things the Glazers Deserve Credit for at Manchester United

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10 Things the Glazers Deserve Credit for at Manchester United
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

OK, let's be clear here. I would rather Manchester United was owned by somebody like Richard Branson with 25 percent of the shares held in Trust for United supporters and representation on the Board.

That's not going to happen.

I don't support the view that United should be owned entirely by its supporters. Mutual organisations have a mixed history and are in general much less enterprising and commercial than their incorporated rivals—in the UK at least.

The Equitable Life Assurance Society closed to business in 2000, eventually costing the UK taxpayer £1.5 billion, while its pensioners suffered a 30 percent reduction in income.

In 2007, Ebbsfleet United was taken over by MyFootballClub, which is a mutual organisation that had 27,000 members at the time.It now has 1,400.

An article in The Economist in April 2012 was unenthusiastic about mutual ownership of some football clubs like Ebbsfleet:

"An excess of democracy is still a problem at Ebbsfleet, according to Charles Webster, a longstanding fan and match commentator, who describes the set-up as a “talking shop”.

Now of course if the Red Knights' Manchester United bid had succeeded, they would have access to the advice of bankers and other senior financial figures like Jim O'Neill, Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs, the popular US banking giant....

It is believed, according to Wikipedia, that such a takeover would have involved retaining the Glazers' £500 million bond, so it is hard to see what would have changed. A further £700 million would have had to be borrowed from wealthy Manchester United fans. One presumes all these borrowings would require interest....

Of course, the club was then to be sold on to its fans. This would require, for example, each of the MUST members at the time to invest an average of £20,000.

As the above Economist article states, the Ebbsfleet Board have recently removed the power of the manager to sign players without the members' approval within 48 hours. Imagine the mayhem when posters on Bleacher can't decide between Modric, Sneijder, Moura, Strootman, Moutinho, Gaitan, Witsel, Khedira, etc., etc., for United's midfield...

So its more difficult than appears at first sight to turn back time. The Glazers aren't going away any time soon. Everybody has a right to criticise their buying the club in the first place, but we are where we are and things could be worse.

Finally, can I restate that I owe no allegiance to the Glazers or indeed to anyone except the Bleacher Report and its readers, to continue to try and write readable and thought-provoking articles about the sport and the club I love with an enduring passion.

(By the way, the two gentlemen in the picture are Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter who between them have run FIFA for the last 38 years. You can make your own minds up whether they have been good for football, or Silvio Berlusconi for that matter. Here is your starter for ten points.)

Sometimes the alternative can be far worse.

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