By Pete Wilson
7 May 2010
The Manchester United Supporters Trust has accused the Glazer family of ‘cynical’ tactics in the increasingly bitter battle for control of the club. Three well-sourced newspaper articles today reported that the Glazers have turned down offers of up to £1.5bn for United over the past couple of years. That £1.5bn bid was the highest and apparently came from the Middle East, the reports said, adding the Glazers do not want to sell.
MUST’s chief executive, Duncan Drasdo, has today hit out at what he calls a “PR manoeuvre”, saying: “It’s cynical and smacks of desperation coming just ahead of the last game of the season and an anticipated bid from the Red Knights [group of super-rich fans].
“Could anyone seriously believe the Glazers would reject a vastly overvalued bid of £1.5bn just at the time when they were so desperate for money last year? They have been taking personal loans out of Manchester United as well as scrabbling around to refinance the debt with the recent bond issue while their businesses in America are reported to be in deep trouble.
“In any case this supposed bid was prior to the launch of the recent supporters Green & Gold campaign so has no bearing on the current situation. Anyone still interested in making a bid for United would be extremely foolish not to talk to supporters and the Red Knights but it is of course very possible they are now part of the Red Knight consortium anyway. There can only be one deal in town for the Glazers and so this kind of PR spin won’t impact on the price.
“If they really don’t want to sell and the supporters campaign is having no impact then there would be no need to start this recent PR offensive would there?
“The only logical explanation can be that firstly they are interested in selling and this is all about trying to push up the price. Secondly they are rattled by the supporters protest and desperately hoping to damp it down. Thousands of supporters are expected to delay renewal of season tickets at least to the first deadline on 13 June and many others have committed to not renewing until the Glazers sell.
“This pressure will come on top of the collapse in demand for tickets and executive facilities which has come as a result of the economic conditions. We have seen unsold tickets and hospitality even for the biggest games this season so a season ticket is seen as an expensive irrelevance for those who’d prefer to pick and choose which games they want to attend.
“The smugness of boasting about ‘owning the best house on the hill’ is breathtaking and will disgust many supporters who have endured eye-watering ticket price rises since the Glazers took over. Whoever is advising them on PR has scored a spectacular own goal with this strategy. This spin that the Glazers intend to try to cling on to ownership will only make supporters more angry and far from reducing the opposition this is going to grow the protest and make fans more determined. This is not going away and they are hugely underestimating Manchester United supporters if they think otherwise. Supporters have a key role in sending that message to them.”