12 years on: The highs & lows of the Glazer family's Manchester United ownership

source: talksport

It’s been 12 years since the Florida-based Glazer family took control of English giants Manchester United.

The move was controversial and the journey since the 2005 takeover has been topsy-turvy.

But how are the family, who made their fortune in real estate, thought of after being in charge of one of the world’s biggest football clubs for that amount of time?

Here we look back at the highs and lows of the high-profile ownership.

Glory, Glory Man United

Regardless of the contentious financial circumstances in which the Glazers took control of Manchester United, the on-pitch success during their time hasn’t dwindled.

Since the 2005 takeover the Red Devils have won a total of 12 trophies – five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, four League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League.

Of course it helps when you possess one of the world’s greatest ever managers, in Sir Alex Ferguson, to deliver the silverware, but United have continued to pick up trophies since the long-serving boss retired.

David Moyes aside, Louis van Gaal claimed a long-awaited FA Cup and Jose Mourinho won two titles in his first season with a League Cup and Europa League (sorry Jose – we’re not including the Community Shield).

While the Red Devils have struggled in the Premier League lately the Glazers, and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, have sanctioned huge transfer moves in a quest to guide the club back to the top.  

One thing is for sure right now – you can’t accuse the Glazer family of failing to splash the cash.

However, many United fans may point accusingly to the lack of big spending in Ferguson’s final few years particularly when Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record fee in 2009.

In that same summer transfer window the incoming players to United were Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen.

While Valencia has obviously been a success for Manchester United, the calibre of signings didn’t match the quality of the outgoing.

As a result a number of United fans believed the Glazers’ failure to reinvest properly at the time meant the club’s squad, which could have grown to be compared with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, remained a level below.

Debt, Debt and More Debt

Perhaps one of the reasons the Glazers didn’t spend the big bucks in Ferguson’s final years is because they physically couldn’t.

When the family bought the club they financed the move by taking out loans and putting the subsequent debt into the club – it soon rose to astronomical records.

By 2010 the club had a staggering £716.5million worth of debt, but this has now reduced significantly.

The most recent figures, in May 2017, showed the club’s debt stood at ‘just’ £366.3million thanks to increased club revenue, the weak pound, and a host of other factors.

Protests, Knights and FC United

To say there have been disconcerting voices to the way the Glazers bought the club and lumped the team with debt would be an understatement.

The 2005 takeover was the catalyst for the creation of FC United of Manchester – a club set up by disenfranchised Red Devils fans who set about forming a fan-owned club they could be proud of.

The team is currently the largest fan-owned club in the UK by number of members, has risen to play in the National League North and serves as a permanent reminder of the discontent with the current Manchester United set-up.

Protests also stemmed from supporters that remained with the club as the ‘Love United Hate Glazer’ campaign grew louder amid the club’s financial concerns.

The green and gold protest scarves, based on the colours of Newton Heath, became a familiar sight at Old Trafford, particularly when ex-United great David Beckham draped one of them around his neck on his return to the club with AC Milan in 2010.

Then came the Red Knights – a group of wealthy fans interested in purchasing the club from the Glazers but who were ultimately unable to because of the astronomical asking price.

A Turning Tide?

Yet here we are in 2017 and there are no more protest scarves to be seen, just a low level of grumbling.

Surprisingly, as United’s performance slump arrived, tolerance of the ownership seems to have grown.

Splashing the cash on extravagant signings will help improve fan relations and, with a manager like Mourinho recruited, it’s surely just a matter of time until the club returns to being competitive in the league.

The reduction of club debt and the growth of revenue has allowed for United to spend in an attempt to become top dog and, so long as the fans see ambition, they will tolerate the ownership.

After 12 years that’s how we can see the Glazers tenure at United – it is now a marriage characterised by tolerance so long as there is continuing evidence to create a successful side.

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