Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have demanded that any new owner of the club must commit to backing manager Erik ten Hag.
After years of fan protests and calls for the club to be sold, the Glazer family put United up for sale in November. A number of bids came in around the February 17 deadline, including from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari bidder Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Former owners of AC Milan, Elliott Investment Management – an American hedge fund – are believed to have been interested as well.
Having pushed for a change of ownership for so many years, many United fans are understandably anxious to find the right kind of owner.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have been at the forefront of the anti-Glazer movement, and in a recent statement have insisted that any potential new owner must back manager Erik ten Hag.
“At the commencement of the sale process, MUST was very clear about our list of asks for any new owner of Manchester United,” the statement read.
“These were to restore the Club to the top of European football, invest in the teams, the wider Club and the stadium, to ensure financial stability, and to work in true partnership with fans at all times. These principles have been backed to date by 150 fan groups from all across the world.
“Any bid will be judged against these criteria, but with the news of the specific bids coming in further considerations arise. There are questions about sporting integrity given the exceptionally close links between some bidders and the owners of other European clubs including PSG and Nice. There are also questions about whether any bids will also be based on high levels of debt.
“We also note the importance that any owner respects the rights of all people, particularly women and the LGBTQ+ community. Concerns have been raised by other fans groups which we fully support.
“We urge all bidders to open a dialogue with fans groups alongside the bidding process with the club, in order to discuss their proposals including the above issues.
“Finally, everyone can see the progress the team is making under Erik ten Hag. After the frustrations of the last decade, it is clear that enormous strides are being taken. Any prospective bidder needs to explicitly commit to backing Erik and his plans to restore United to glory.”
Image: AlamyTen Hag has done an admirable job of turning United’s fortunes around this season, building a side on course for Champions League qualification from the wreckage left behind by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
The Dutch coach will deliver United’s first piece of silverware since 2017 should his side beat Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final next Sunday.