By Nick Harris
1 June 2010
The Red Knights group of super-rich Manchester United fans who want buy the club from the Glazer family will react to reports that their plans are “in tatters” or “on ice” by releasing a statement to confirm they still intend to make an offer for the club.
Sportingintelligence has been told by well-placed sources that an official Red Knights statement will be issued tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, reiterating that the Knights will continue to develop proposals in the best long-term interests of the club and the fans.
As this website reported three months ago, the Knights’ plans always appeared to be massively ambitious, with various levels of involvement anticipated by fans with different means. By late March, the Knights decided to take the pressure off themselves by confirming no bid would be made during the 2009-10 season.
It was then reported that the group, led by the United fan and Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neill, had divisions within the ranks, although these reports were refuted by the Manchester United Supporters Trust, which has been behind the grass-roots green and gold campaign.
Last Friday the Glazer family announced they wouldn’t “entertain any offers” for the club, and this statement was followed by weekend reports saying the Knights’ plans were effectively over.
One well-placed source has told sportingintelligence today that “the Knights will pursue the plan as long as it takes.” Both MUST and the Knights are said to “relaxed” about the lack of a bid so far, insisting the Knights will not pay an inflated price for the club. The Glazers have reportedly rejected at least one £1.5bn bid in the past year, although the bidder’s identity has never been revealed, let alone any bid officially confirmed.
If there is any disharmony in the MUST-Knights alliance, then it would be understandable. MUST have invested enormous time, effort and resources into a campaign that perhaps won’t show any concrete signs of progress for some time yet. Various United fan groups have been here before, on several occasions, and lack of action could damage morale amongst activists. “Not true”, insist those involved with MUST and the Knights, although as recently as last week MUST mailshots to supporters were still using the phrase “ahead of the anticipated bid by the Red Knights.” That was suggestive of an imminent bid.
A bid might yet come soon; insiders always insisted a strategic first bid would come in the run-up to the World Cup. But in all probably that rapid bid will not now happen. Instead a statement will be released tomorrow to the effect that the Knights remain on their chargers, and won’t be going away. Ultimately, if the Glazers don’t want to sell, no amount of campaigning will change their minds. A big cash offer might, but that is not on the cards.
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