There has been much vitriol about the Glazers family’s ownership of Man United and the huge debts they have saddled Man United with, not to mention the increasing interest payments. There has also been talk about an Asian consortium putting together a 1 billion dollar bid to buy out the ownership from the Glazers family. The jury is still out on the pros and cons of both the options, but I have a different take on the subject. While it’s not rocket science to comprehend how these spiralling debts can hasten the demise of a football club (look at Leeds, Newcastle and now Portsmouth) it becomes imperative for fans to get a grip. Man United definitely needs to get into new hands where the revenues from the Theatre of Dreams aren’t used to service the debts or personal loans of the owners. I propose the fans all over the world to take over the club through a trust/ association ala the MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust). Here is my plan:
I assume Manchester United has 500 million fans worldwide. (Wiki Answers lists the number at 320 million, but let’s assume). If each fan were to contribute one dollar’s equivalent, we could garner $ 500 million. This is neither enough, nor practical. Here is how/ why. Being a fan of Man United doesn’t mean one has to have money; what about children or people from third world countries and fans that’re actually trying to make ends meet or don’t have money to spare? A practical model for this would be equity. Fans buy shares of Man United according to their appetite, wealth and fancy. Assuming each share’s face value to be $1 and further assuming about 8.65 million fans do not buy any shares due to reasons mentioned above or otherwise, we can raise $ 1.10 Billion. Here is how:
Now, it is safe to further assume that there will be some wealthy/ affluent fans that will be willing to buy 1,000 shares each while there will be some fans too that would barely buy a single share for $1.
So, here is the deal: Buy out the Glazers by paying them $ 1 Billion. That leaves us with $ 100 million in cash. This can be used as the transfer kitty for the summer window. These shares bought will not be the actual Man United shares traded on the exchange. They will be the shares/ equity in the Trust – the MUST or other such investment vehicle. The shareholders of the trust will vote for the executive council – CEO and other officials through online voting or other such means so that it is purely democratic. The people elected as a result will run the club. Although I agree it’s a half baked idea and lots of fans would have thought about this idea or even worked on it, I though I should share it with you so maybe someone can fine tune this proposal. After all, fans know best(at least better than the Glazers)!
Read more of Mayank Arya work at ‘The Aryan Expedition’