“Manchester United’s real owners — the entities that have title to the assets of the business — are now the banks,” wrote Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital, and an avowed Manchester United fan.
Leverage, however, has worked well for Glazer over the years. The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Glazer grew up in upstate New York and inherited his father’s watch-parts business. He expanded into real-estate and in the 1980s used junk bonds to help grow an empire that included real estate, food proceesing, health care and broadcasting.
In 1995, he broke into the sports world with the purchase of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $192 million. With the help of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, he built a new stadium and grew the team into Super Bowl champions in 2003.
When he acquired Manchester United in a controversial take-over, the team's fans were instantly critical, saying ticket prices would rise, player payrolls would fall and the commercial strains of so much debt would eventually threaten a 144-year-old franchise.
Even today, longtime fans hold protests against the Glazers and criticize their ownership through popular chants and songs.Page 2 of 3 | Prev Page | Next Page