Who Owns Manchester United? The fans, the players or Malcolm Glazer?
“If the purchase of Chelsea by Roman Abramovich is anything to go by, Manyoo fans will roll over and take it for the sake of their team.”
“If Glazer runs it like a company, with no emotional connection, the team cannot last. He’ll cut trade players and cut costs as soon as we lose a season. This short term outlook will have long term repercussions.
Ironically, we need Glazer to run it like a brand with the loyalty and love that one should bring to the game (and by extension that one would bring to a brand). Unfortunately, it seems that he is not a fan and it seems unlikely he’ll run the business like anything more than a commodity.”
Christie Green, Consultant - May 27, 2005
As a die-hard Manchester United fan, it scares me terribly to know that my beloved club will be under private ownership and be run by an American who doesn't know the heritage and core identity of the club. United's heart and soul has been sold to the devil - and now our Board can really be labelled the Red Devils! The brand may not be as strong as before and loyal fans may decide to leave and begin their own club.
Glazer will be of no harm if he leaves the club the way it is and just invests in transfer fees instead of putting up tickest prices and selling our key players, But our club is now in debt and we may lose our competitve edge in the local and European leagues.
It's dark days for the club, and as fans, we need to hear Glazer explain himself and his vision for the club.
Turning clubs into commercial businesses has been the trend over the last 10 years in Europe.
However why be like everybody else when you can be different? Look at Barcelona. Barcelona is an example of a very strong brand which has been managed differently. They are still a club owned by its members, they do not have shirts with company names on, etc. And still Barcelona's economy is extremely strong and healthy.
I think Manchester's customers/fans will stay loyal to the brand. But in the long run this could hurt the brand.
Glazer seems a tough businessman, and it is hard to think he would destroy something so valuable as the Man Utd brand -- or that has cost him so much. I beleive he WILL be harder on players to perform, and that is no bad thing, as there are too many overpaid under-performers in most teams these days.
This could be the wake-up call for them to really earn their money?
Norman Clark, Principal, Associates in Training - May 30, 2005
It strikes me that a core attribute of the Man U brand has been this essence of fan ownership. This real and perceived ownership has been the emotional bond that makes the Man U brand a cut above other football clubs. It has been this bond that has allowed them to open up Man U cafes, charge handsome fees for viewing ‘exclusive’ content on their website and for selling pant-loads of merchandise worldwide. Take this away and you have a diminished asset.
What will be the long-term impact on the brand?
The brand will no doubt survive, most fans will forget and go on supporting the team and merchandise will still be sold.
Unfortunately the magic that made the brand famous will be gone and brand will be less of a powerhouse than it once was.
Perhaps a good analogy for the United States market would be if Richard Branson bought the Green Bay Packers.
John Hall, Vice President, Strategic Planner, The Cossette Group - May 30, 2005