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Ex-Man Utd owner Glazer dies aged 86

BBC News logo BBC News 28/05/2014 BBC News

Malcolm Glazer

Malcolm Glazer
© Getty Images

Malcolm Glazer, the billionaire who led a controversial takeover of Manchester United, has died at the age of 86.

The Glazer family purchased United for £790m in May 2005 amid protests from the Premier League club's fans.

However, they went on to win five Premier League titles and the Champions League under his ownership.

The New York-born American's sons, Joel and Avram, took over the day-to-day running of the club after their father suffered a stroke in April 2006.

"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with his family tonight," said a spokesman for the Premier League club.

The Glazer family retain a 90% share in United - split equally among Glazer's six children - with 10% listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Glazer, who never actually stepped foot inside Old Trafford, gradually bought out United shareholders between 2003 and 2005.

His takeover was largely funded by loans secured against the club's assets, a move that took them heavily into debt and sat uneasily with many fans at Old Trafford.

Manchester United Supporters' Trust vice-chair Sean Bones said: "It would be inappropriate for me to make any comment about the death of Malcolm Glazer as I didn't know him or his family personally.

"However, as a supporter, I am aware of the detrimental effect the Glazers have had on the football club and the huge debt that has been placed on Manchester United."

Supporters' group Shareholders United were one of the most vociferous anti-Glazer voices during the takeover, and in the aftermath.

In 2010, a group of lifelong United fans made up of City bankers and lawyers set up the Red Knights consortium in an attempt to buy the club with the support of fans, but their plans failed.

The club had no debts before the Glazer family takeover but now owe around £400m. Yet, despite a turbulent 2013-14 season which resulted in the sacking of manager David Moyes, United still generate record revenue, with turnover set to exceed £418m in the 2013-14 financial year.

Glazer was also the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, turning the American football franchise into Super Bowl winners following his takeover in 1995.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: "Malcolm's commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy."

Glazer's business career started when he took over the family watch-parts business aged 15, following the death of his father.

He continued to invest in other businesses and acquired a diverse portfolio of international holdings and public companies, including First Allied, Zapata Corporation, Houlihan's Restaurant Chain, Harley Davidson, Formica, Tonka, Specialty Equipment and Omega Protein.

Glazer is survived by his wife Linda, his six children and 14 grandchildren.

Fans demonstrate against Malcolm Glazer © Getty Images Fans demonstrate against Malcolm Glazer

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