DEATH threats from disgruntled Manchester United fans towards the club’s owners, the Glazer family, around the time of their 2005 takeover were considered serious enough to prompt an FBI investigation.
American sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer provoked widespread resistance among United supporters when he assumed control of the club in a heavily leveraged £790m buyout.
FBI files made public yesterday claim a British man phoned the Glazers’ NFL franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on the day of the United takeover in May 2005 and said he wished Malcolm Glazer were dead.
Further calls in the same vein from Britain followed hours later and then the following day, with one man saying “I am giving you another warning” and issuing the Glazers with an ultimatum.
British police also investigated threats from militant anti-Glazer United supporters, though the FBI closed its case without prosecuting anyone as it could not identify the individuals behind the threats.
Malcolm Glazer passed control to his three sons less than a year after the buyout, having suffered two strokes. He died in May, aged 85.
Peaceful opposition to the Glazer regime remains, despite the club’s five Premier League titles and one Champions League triumph since their takeover.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have criticised the Glazers for draining money in the form of interest payments and failing to adequately reinvest the club’s enormous revenue.