Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

United fans in the City our best hope for salvation

Posted by hakanrylander on January 26, 2010

Two articles in Telegraph today point to a remote but perhaps not completely impossible solution to our debt problems. Paul Marshall, co-founder of hedge fund Marshall Wace and a United fan, says it’s time for supporters to combine forces to return the club to the community – debt free. Marshall is highly critical of our present owners and says “debt has acted like a leech on the club, sucking money out of the football budget to feed the Glazers and their bankers”. As you might remember this fits well with the views of Between the Lines.

In a separate article Jim O’Neill, star economist at Goldman Sachs, declares that “there is too much leverage going on with Manchester United”, despite the fact that the investment bank is making millions in fees from the fund raising.

The idea is very appealing. For the club to be owned by the fans, Barcelona style, would be a perfect solution to the Glazer problem.

But it will be very difficult to realize. Most of all because of the huge amounts of money involved. By a very rough estimate it would cost us £1.2 billion to buy 100% of the shares and pay off all debt.  If each member was willing to pay £1,000 we would need 1.2 million(!) fans to sign up. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? On the other hand, United have over 6 million registered fans and more than 300 million fans worldwide, according to some sources. But apart from the difficulty in finding the money it would also take an awful lot of administration to create such an ownership structure.

Any initiative would depend heavily on the financial expertise of people such as Paul Marshall, Jim O’Neill or others with a similar standing. Hopefully the article by Mr Marshall and the statement by Mr O’Neill could trigger some discussions among United fans in the City. It would also take a lot of efforts and commitment from MUST and supporter clubs around the world to market the proposal. Maybe even bloggers could get involved.

It’s probably an impossible dream. But I think it’s worth a try.

Find out more in these highly interesting articles by Paul Marshall and about Jim O’Neill.


One Response to “United fans in the City our best hope for salvation”

  1. RoM Links said

    […] Between The Lines responds to this article. Win two tickets to the semi final second leg at Old Trafford. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "RoM Links", url: "" }); Author: Scott the Red   Filed Under: Manchester United News   No Comment    […]

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