It may only be a gut feeling but one cannot help but sense that the hostility of Manchester United fans towards the clubs American owners is beginning to show early signs that it’s starting to turn. A protest organised against the Glazers on Sunday is reported to have attracted around 3000 people, a spit in the ocean when compared to the 75,000 who attended the Spurs game twenty four hours earlier It raises the question as to whether the Glazer family has embarked on a calculated public relations charm offensive to win over their critics.
Just in the last few weeks 1) Joel Glazer got directly involved in the Wayne Rooney dispute and was prepared to open the cheque book to ensure that the striker renews his contract. 2) The family committed a hefty transfer kitty to reinforce the playing squad even though Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that none of it will be used until the summer and 3) Gave the club an expensive go ahead to buy some of United legend Nobby Stiles’ medal collection at auction, something which the club had never previously done.
All those moves went down well with the majority of fans but you begin to wonder if there were other motives behind those unexpected decisions. Of course it could be no more than sheer coincidence that all this happened after fellow American investors Tom Hicks and George Gillett saw the Liverpool Football Club taken off them in a bitter high court battle.
Common sense must tell the Glazers that they could very well be heading down the same road with the debt loaded on to the club getting larger by the day. While it can be no more than pure speculation, if old man Malcolm Glazer is as seriously incapacitated with illness as has long been reported, the brothers may be contemplating cutting their losses before being forced to walk away from the club with nothing – as the former Liverpool owners did.
And it could happen sooner than most of us think. If the next set of accounts show a similar loss as they did recently, the Glazers may have very little option and could be prepared to invite offers for the club within 12 or 18 months. Or is that simply wishful thinking?
Will the Glazers be able to hang on to Manchester United in the long term?