Man Utd: Fans protest against Glazers outside Old Trafford
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Manchester United are not for sale – despite the collapse of the European Super League (ESL) deal which would have helped the club’s American owners ease their spiralling debts.
The Florida-based Glazer family, who took over at Old Trafford in 2005, are braced for a fresh wave of fan protests following revelations that they played a leading role in the failed breakaway proposal.
But the Glazers still regard United as a valuable asset that will continue to bank them millions in dividends in the coming years.
And they have made it clear to senior members of staff that they will not be driven out of Old Trafford.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed it was business as usual for the Glazers – despite executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s decision to bring forward his resignation following the ESL debacle.
Solskjaer said: “I am very confident that they [the owners] will remain committed.
“I’ve had an open and good relationship with them and they’ve been very supportive of me. They have backed me.
“We have shown in the players we have signed, that we’re committed to improving – and that they’re committed to improving.
“There are other projects we work on, which we don’t always broadcast. It’s all about improving the club, the infrastructure, the facilities and the squad.
“We’ve had an apology from Joel Glazer – and I think that’s important.
“He’s told us how committed he is to helping us going forward. Unity and everyone coming together and working together for one common goal is the best way forward.”
United’s debts are once again close to £500million, 16 years after Malcolm Glazer completed a leveraged buy-out by borrowing heavily to secure ownership of the club.
The billionaire died in 2014, but his children have continued to reap rewards from the club.
It has been estimated that around £1.5billion has been spent servicing debts and dividend payments to the family.
Former United keeper Edwin van der Sar has been touted as a possible successor to Woodward after a remarkable record of success as chief executive of Ajax.
Solskjaer said: “It’s important we employ the right man.
“We can’t employ on sentiment. Having Man United’s best interests at heart is one of the criteria, of course.
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“But I’m not the one who writes the job description. My job now is to take care of results, but whoever comes in I am hopeful I can have a good working relationship with and I can provide results.”
Solskjaer was a United player when the Glazer takeover was completed and witnessed the open hostility of the fans.
In midweek, he was confronted by a group of militant supporters at the club’s training ground.
He is braced for more unrest – especially when fans are allowed back into stadiums – but believes his attempts to continue to rebuild his team will not be damaged by the failed attempt to launch the Super League.
Solskjaer said: “The market has changed after this year, but I’m still very positive and hopeful that we can follow through on the plans we’re working on.
“I don’t think that will change at all. I think we’ll still have a good opportunity to do what we have planned to do.
“I think the owners of every club that signed up for the proposal have got a job on their hands.”
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