Manchester United fans’ group are seeking clarity on the future of the 20-time Premier League champions amid speculation that British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is set to take a 25 per cent minority stake in the club.
United owners, the Glazer family, announced in 2022 that they were exploring strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth with full sale options.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani recently withdrew his attempt to buy the club.
Ratcliffe was the other frontrunner during several rounds of bidding. The founder of petrochemicals giant Ineos will now settle for a 25 per cent stake for around £1.3billion.
Ineos will reportedly seek to take control of the sporting side of United’s business in return for its investment.
The Glazers have been unpopular with supporters since their takeover in 2005 for £790 million and plunged the club into huge debts.
The club’s debt has risen to £970 million, according to figures released in March, despite investment in their stadium and training ground.
“It would be wildly optimistic to think the Glazers are acting in the interests of supporters or are making ownership decisions which don’t centre on their own priorities,” Manchester United Supporters Trust said in a statement.
“However, what supporters should expect at the very least now is some clarity and an end to this process.
“Furthermore the outcome must include new investment into the club. It cannot be solely about the interests of shareholders, whether existing or new.
“We call upon all parties to put Manchester United’s interests before their own interests.”
Also, former United captain Gary Neville has raised concerns over how much impact a minority investment can have in turning the club’s fortunes on and off the field.
“My preference is and always will be now for a Glazer family full exit. They have overstayed their welcome in Manchester yet seem oblivious to this fact,” Neville posted on social media.
“How does a minority shareholder stop cultural decline across a whole organisation if the people who have overseen this decline still have a majority shareholding?”
United’s fortunes have faded under the Glazers’ reign. The Red Devils have not won the Premier League since former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and last won the Champions League in 2008.
United currently sit 10th in the Premier League and have lost their first two Champions League group stage matches for the first time in the club’s history.