MANCHESTER United were last night mourning the loss of owner Malcolm Glazer, who died aged 85.
The Glazer family purchased 90 per cent of shares in the 20-time Premier League champions in 2005 and sons Joel and Avi have most recently acted as United’s co-chairmen.
Their father’s death is thought unlikely to have a significant effect on the club’s ownership, with the remaining 10 per cent of shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Glazer, who also owns American Football franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had suffered a series of strokes in recent years.
A statement from United read: “The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the Glazer family tonight following the news that Malcolm Glazer has passed away. He was 85.
“Malcolm leaves behind his wife Linda, six children and 14 grandchildren. Staff at Manchester United extend deep and sincere condolences to them all at this difficult time.”
Upon his arrival at Old Trafford, Glazer faced a backlash from United supporters unhappy his £800m acquisition of United had been funded partly by loans secured against club assets.
Fans groups took to wearing scarves of their original colours, green and gold, and formed breakaway club FC United of Manchester who continue to climb the non-league pyramid.
Yet since 2005 United have won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League once, while the Glazers have sanctioned big-money signings of Dimitar Berbatov, Robin Van Persie and Juan Mata.
Vice-chairman of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust Sean Bones said: “It would be inappropriate for me to make any comment about the death of Malcolm Glazer as I didn’t know him, or his family, personally.
“However, as a supporter, I am aware of the detrimental effect the Glazers have had on the football club and the huge debt that has been placed on Manchester United.”
Glazer began his career aged 15, inheriting the family watch-part business following the death of his father. He later had several business interests and formed a charitable foundation.