Manchester United: Michael Knighton preparing bid to buy club from Glazer family

United fans protest against the Glazer family

Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton has stated he is preparing a bid to purchase the club.

United have been owned by the Glazer family since 2005, who have constantly received mass criticism from fans for the way in which they have run the club since gaining control.

Protests have come and gone over the years, but pressure is beginning to mount once again after failing to fully back new manager Erik ten Hag in the transfer market and bring the changes that the club needs to return to the top of the footballing world.

United fans protested once again ahead of their opening game of the 2022/23 season, a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton, with the crowds forcing the closure of the megastore before the game.

The increased pressure for the Glazer family to sell the club has prompted Knighton to speak out and declare that he has a consortium ready to launch a ‘hostile bid’ to buy the club from the current owners.

Who is Michael Knighton?

Knighton is a name that will sound familiar to older United fans.

The 70-year-old businessman tried to purchase the Red Devils in 1989 in a takeover deal worth £20 million – a record fee for a British club at that point.

Knighton’s HOSTILE MAN UTD TAKEOVER! (Football Terrace)

Martin Edwards, the club’s Chairman at the time, accepted the offer and Knighton even appeared on the pitch at Old Trafford in full kit, presented to fans while doing kick-ups.

But, his takeover deal would ultimately fall through as the fellow investors that were helping fund his takeover pulled out of the deal, leaving him unable to see through his promise of gaining total control and investing significantly.

It didn’t end his time associated with the club, though; Knighton would instead end up taking a seat among the board of directors as it became apparent that he could not fulfil the takeover before the deadline.

Knighton’s 2022 takeover bid

Speaking to United fan YouTube channel ‘Man Utd The Religion’, Knighton criticised the current owners and their proposed fan share supporters scheme and called United ‘a club in crisis’. You can watch the interview below.

In the interview, Knighton said: “We [Manchester United] have an inept and frankly useless ownership, who know little about this game of football.”

He added: “Everyone knows that we need new ownership of this football club, and that is my aim. Those are my objectives. I’m making good progress, and I continue to talk to people. I’ve got some good pledgers with good finance.

“We are now working on the offer document. Remember, it’s a hostile bid. That simply means the club isn’t officially for sale.

“But, my intention is to present these owners with a legitimate and potent and proper, commercial offer to say ‘you’ve run out of road, it’s time to go’.

“Frankly the fans worldwide have had enough of this regime… The club is in crisis, and it will remain in crisis whilst we’ve got this current ownership. That’s the situation.”

Knighton at Man Utd in 1989
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – SEPTEMBER 01: Business man Michael Knighton looks on from the stands circa 1989, Knighton had agreed to buy Manchester United but was unable to complete the takeover. (Photo by Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images)

Knighton continued in the sit-down interview, anticipating further protests and confirming his bid to buy the club: “They [the fans] will protest and quite rightly. It’s the only way they can vent their frustration and disappointment, and hope that the current ownership sit up and finally listen, and ultimately decide to finally sell their shareholding.

“My consortium is ready and waiting. The funds are pledged. The offer document is being drawn up and it will be presented.”

As Knighton stated, there has been no official line from the Glazer family that United is up for sale.

United fans in protest
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 02: The United Trinity statue is seen as fans protest Manchester United’s Glazer ownership outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on May 02, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

But with the club struggling to obtain their desired transfer targets and fan pressure continuing to mount, it feels like there are uncertain times ahead surrounding United and their ownership.

Successfully purchasing a football club is a time consuming and careful process at the best of times, so an attempt to complete a purchase of United will most certainly prove tricky. Whether or not Knighton can follow through on his desire to buy the club remains to be seen.

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