The revelation [that the Glazers had turned down a £1.5bn bid by an Arab consortium late last year] represents depressing news for those fans who have been campaigning for the Glazers’ removal and had hoped that the hostility shown towards the Americans would help to persuade them to sever their ties with the club. More than 150,000 people have joined the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, the group co-ordinating the anti-Glazer movement, and the protests have become increasingly voluble since the release of a bond prospectus in January that laid bare the Glazers’ business model.
The Glazer family are said to be unmoved by the animosity and thick-skinned enough not to allow it to affect their planning. They are described as enjoying the prestige of being associated with a winning team. That paints a bleak picture for the former United director Jim O’Neill, now the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, who had been hoping to move into power at Old Trafford via the Red Knights, the group of “high net value individuals” that also includes the former Football League chairman Keith Harris.
An offer from the Red Knights is anticipated in the coming weeks but, even if it is substantially higher than the £800m initially discussed, the Glazers will reject it out of hand and offer no indication of a price that might tempt them to consider a sale. This could be seen as a negotiating tactic, but the Glazers’ message is “thanks but no thanks”.
..the Glazers are already thinking far enough ahead to be talking about refinancing their debts in 2017. They accept they could have been more open with the supporters and are aware of the misgivings about the £700m worth of debts they have brought to the club. They also hope to be at Old Trafford more next season. Avi Glazer has been a regular visitor but his brother Bryan has found it harder because his children are younger.