Manchester United's Ownership Issues: Who Should Run Man U?

Siva PrasadCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2010

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Manchester United fans protest against the Glazers, current owners of Manchester United in the Stretford End stand during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on January 23, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill has provided the latest update on the possibility of the Glazer family selling United, amidst news that a group of wealthy United fans are planning a takeover of the club.

Gill, the man once referred to by Sir Alex Ferguson as “sackable,” tried to defend the Glazer regime while questioning the workability of a takeover by the group dubbed the “Red Knights” at a Soccerex conference.

Soccernet quoted Gill as saying “The Glazers have no wish to sell and from our perspective they are running the club in the right way.”

The logic behind this sentence is up for debate, with United facing a debt of £700m. Then again, David Gill is paid £1.48m a year by the Glazers, so from his perspective the club must be in good hands.

As the BBC reported, Gill added, “There were questions about how a group of up to 40 wealthy individuals would be able to run the club.”

With the benefit of hindsight, they cannot possibly do much worse than the Glazers. While United have ruled the roost on the pitch, their owners have not been able to put in as good a performance.

Not only are the debts huge, but the owners also took £22.9m in management fees and loans out of the club, a move which when revealed served as further ammunition for disgruntled fans.

In short, there are lingering doubts as to whether the Glazers still have the financial mettle to run a club the size of Manchester United.

Not to say that Malcolm Glazer and his sons do not love their team. Gill mentioned that “although the Glazer family did not attend every match at Old Trafford they watched them all on television.”

"They are passionate about the club, they do understand sport," he added.

Sorry Mr Gill, but you can’t run a football club solely on long-distance love and fresh air, especially when most of it is probably borrowed.

Gill did fire one last salvo at dissenting United fans, pointing out the cases of clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City, and AC Milan, where it is the owners who make key decisions, “not the fans.”

Yet somehow, the most successful club in the World right now, FC Barcelona, are run by the fans.