Manchester United have announced that the company’s Board of Directors are exploring strategic alternatives as they look to enhance the club’s growth, one of which is a potential sale of the club.
A statement on their official website on Tuesday read: “Manchester United plc (NYSE:MANU), one of the most successful and historic sports clubs in the world, announces today that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) is commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club. The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalise on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.
“As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company. This will include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale, each in the context of enhancing the long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders.”
The United supporters are still protesting against the Glazer family, who 17 years ago, completed a £790million takeover of the Premier League’s most successful team by investing just £270million of their own money into the deal. The rest was borrowed against United, instantly plunging the club into more than £500million worth of debt. Until that point, United had been debt-free.
Whilst supporters are fed up with the club still having to pay out huge sums of money from their own coffers on debt repayments, as opposed to the Glazer’s investing their own money into the club, they’re also frustrated by how distant the owners have made themselves over the 17 years.
The family are often reluctant to comment on general matters, they don’t actively engage with fans and they’ve ultimately created an image that implies that they simply don’t care about the club – something Cristiano Ronaldo was keen to state during his recent infamous interview that helped spell the end of his time at Old Trafford. It comes as no surprise then that the decision has been welcomed by United‘s fanbase.
‘Kroenke Out’, which was primarily aimed at majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, echoed around the Emirates Stadium for several years before the ownership started to listen and act on their fans’ frustrations. Protests peaked when the Gunners became one of the founding members of the European Super League, which would have effectively ended the pyramid system of European football and placed Arsenal in a closed league without prospects for meritocratic relegation and promotion.
The family were pushed to sell the club but later released a statement saying that they wouldn’t. Since then, though, they’ve been far more involved with everyday processes. Josh Kroenke (Stan’s son and heir to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment) in particular has restored much of the supporters’ faith that the family do in fact care about the club and the project is not just a business to them.
In addition to attending regular fan forums, Kroenke is often present at the training ground as well as matchdays at the Emirates Stadium. The ownership have also significantly backed the Gunners more in the transfer market since the protests, whilst they’ve also shown tremendous faith in manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu, who’ve helped transform the mentality at the club in recent seasons.
Arsenal sit top of the league at Christmas for the first time in more than a decade and there’s real belief that this sea…