In recent times, there has been a shift of power in the English Premier League from The Theatre of Dreams to United’s most fierce rivals – Liverpool and just across the town – Manchester City. The recent successes can be attributed to their owners as much as the players, and it raises the question of what Manchester United’s owners doing wrong. Let’s take a look.
A TAKEOVER THAT PLUNGED UNITED INTO DEBT
Current Manchester United owners – The Glazer family bought the club in 2003 with the help of numerous bank loans. During the transition of full ownership i.e. from 2003 – 2006, United didn’t win a single Premier League but after the takeover was complete, The Red Devils won three consecutive English crowns from 2007 – 2009 in a glorious period which also brought a European Champions League crown. The initial signs looked promising but the way the takeover was completed raised many questions.
The Glazers acquired the club through a leveraged buyout, where they took loans which amounted to more than £650 million and secured the remaining money (roughly £250 million) by leveraging the assets of the club itself. This move put United into crippling debt and most of the money that was generated in the forthcoming seasons was extracted by The Glazers to repay those debts. This was also a golden period for United as they won 3 Premier League titles successively, a Champions Cup, A Club World Cup, and a couple of League Cups
THE RISE OF THE ‘NOISY NEIGHBOURS’
Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City for roughly £1 billion and there were waves that a shift in power could be in place as City were now one of the richest clubs in world football. This was only confirmed in the 2011 – 12 season where they won their first-ever Premier League crown following a last-minute goal from Argentine forward Sergio Aguero (“Aguerooooooooo still haunts me to this day”).
United did their best to hold on but was robbed at the last minute. Plenty of blame can also be put on the owners as there was a serious lack of investment that year in the club while the ‘noisy neighbors’ were spending cash for fun.
The following season was Sir Alex’s last season as United manager as United won the title. It served as a final adieu to the Scottish legend, and that is where the real journey downhill began.
THE POST-FERGUSON ERA