More than 50 Manchester United supporters’ groups from across the world have signed an open letter to potential bidders for the club urging any new owners to unravel years of Glazer family failures.
Fans from Stretford to South Africa have spelt out a series of demands in the hope that a change of ownership can halt the gradual decline under the Glazers and prevent the club from being treated as little more than a “commercial asset” in the future.
The letter is signed by the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association, MUFC Women’s Supporters Club, Rainbow Devils and members of the United Fans’ Forum plus 48 official supporters’ club branches from around the globe.
The Glazers are considering selling the club and have instructed the investment bank Raine to find potential investors, 17 years after their debt-fuelled takeover put them on a collision course with fans who have protested against the money sucked out of the club, its running and the Americans’ role in the failed European Super League plot.
“We hope that we will have a new owner that will nurture, invest and, most of all, recognise that their role as the steward of Manchester United is to run the club in partnership with the supporters, in a way which recognises that a football club is far more than just a commercial asset,” the letter read.
The fans’ group have laid out a number of “principles” that they want to see put in place by any buyer “in order to secure the support of the fans”.
- A debt free takeover and an end to the heavily leveraged Glazer model that has “hung around our neck like a millstone”
- Urgent capital investment to modernise a decaying Old Trafford and the Carrington training ground and long-term guarantees on squad spending across all teams
- A shared ownership scheme with fans as partners and supporter and independent director representation on the main company board
- The words “football club” restored to the crest on the shirt
- A pledge never again to seek entry to a European Super League or equivalent competition
“The above requirements are proposed in the best interests of the club and the fans, and any good owner should not consider them excessive or unduly demanding,” the letter added.
“At this stage, we urge any prospective bidder to enter into a dialogue with fans. We believe that doing so will help them come up with the best offer possible, and the best plan possible.”