As has been widely reported, Manchester United are on the brink of offering hugely overpriced shares through the New York stock exchange. For the past seven years United fans have learned more about the nature of hedge funds and aggressive takeovers than we ever thought necessary. These past few weeks, it seems as if a new low has been reached.
On Thursday morning, Sir Alex Ferguson took the unusual step of issuing a statement to refute reports he will gain personally from the float. This is atypical because, until now, he has been benignly supportive of the ownership regime.
In 2005, the takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family had two enormous impacts on our club. Firstly, it loaded massive debt onto a previously profitable organisation. Secondly, it divided the fans. This is the greatest tragedy.
I wish FC United of Manchester the best of luck. It is not on my agenda to call those involved with that club traitors, as some do. Nonetheless, I am a Manchester United fan and I follow the team. Seeing the Glazers take so much money out of the club feels like watching a close relative suffering from a dreadful illness.
Those sums of money should not be underestimated either. There are reports that we have paid out more money in bankers fees and interest since 2005 than Fergie has spent on players in the last twenty years. It makes one weep. It also explains why Juventus are poised to sign Robin Van Persie and we are not. It also explains why Real Madrid have enticed Luka Modric and we have not. I could go on.
Although there are as many opinions as people, it is hard for any but the most pig-headed to say they have completely abandoned loyalty to the club. We are all upset about this, but a culture of blame is not going to solve anything. The club must prevail, looking at the fates of Portsmouth and Rangers is a sombre warning of what could happen.
“I've spent 25 years of my life pushing this club forward and not only could I not have done it without those fans, I do it for them”, said Sir Alex this week. Being angry with him is not going to solve anything. Divided we fall, United we stand.
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