A BID for Manchester United by wealthy fans could materialise by the end of the season.
Football’s “Mr Fixit” Keith Harris, who has advised on the sale of clubs including Chelsea and West Ham, says he is “very confident” he could pull together enough investors to make a bid for the Old Trafford club.
The life-long United fan says he has been approached by investors who are desperate to wrest control of the club from its much-maligned American owners. A deal would probably be partially funded from the terraces but mostly from private investors.
He told City A.M.: “I’m very confident we could have the funds by the end of this season. A deal will go through eventually, I'm sure of that. It's just a matter of timing. I will invest time and effort in this and it’s possible someone like me could have an overseeing role.”
He says the key now is for fans to force the Glazers around the table: “There are 58,000 season ticket holders and if they vote with their feet it could hit the Glazers hard – it would affect the bonds for a start – and it could bring them to the table.”
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust chief executive Duncan Drasdo also says he has been contacted by investors. He told City A.M.: “I have been approached by very wealthy supporters.
The best window for a buyout is towards the end of this season – I really believe it is a possibility.
“Supporters need to indicate that they want a change of ownership – and they would have to get involved in buying shares if they are serious about it.
“I have never experienced what is happening now. The idea of buying out the club is spreading like a virus.”
The tipping point in any deal would be in convincing the Glazers to consider bids for the club. They are unlikely to recoup the £790m they paid and a deal would have to be struck for the vast debts – valued at £716m and costing the club an estimated £42 m a season in interest alone.
United have been bullish about the deal, saying the club is not for sale. David Gill yesterday told fans the club would not be forced to sell Wayne Rooney.