Gary Neville has called on the Glazer family to ‘remove themselves’ from Manchester United as potential buyers await a ruling on their takeover bid.
It has recently been reported that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been identified as the preferred bidder to buy the club from the Glazer family, but has not been given the green light to begin the takeover.
And as tensions around the situation begin to mount, former United defender Neville has cracked down on the current owners for their running of the club.
Speaking CBS SportsNeville was asked who he would prefer from the potential takeover options, to which he said, “I have not heard the commitments made by any of the bids.
“At the moment there is the Jim Ratcliffe offer, the Qatari offer and a number of US investment funds. I don’t want private equity in an English football club, I’ll be very clear about that.
Gary Neville recently took aim at the owners of Manchester United in a segment on CBS Sport
The Glazer family announced they are considering selling United in November 2022 after 18 years of highly controversial ownership
‘I don’t think it works. I think football is about emotion. Believe it or not, in Manchester I have a partnership with a US private equity fund and in other areas of life I like international investments.
“But I don’t think you can go into that with football clubs just because you want to see a return. When it comes to current bids, right now I think Jim Ratcliffe has its merits, the Qatari bid has its own merits.
Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (above) is believed to be one of the candidates leading the bidding war
My main concern at the moment is that the Glazer family will sell and they will remove themselves from the club. They will make a lot of money, well done for that.
“They have proven to be very smart businessmen, but now it is time to hand over control as the club has deteriorated under their ownership.”
After announcing during the World Cup that they were looking for new revenue streams, be it an investment in the club or an outright sale, there has been much speculation surrounding United and its potential next owners.
For months it seemed like a battle between two candidates: the British billionaire Ratcliffe and the Qatari former banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
It is clear that Ratcliffe’s £5bn offer is the Glazers’ preferred option, with the American owners themselves remaining at the club as minority shareholders.
“The problem is with Man United, 20 years ago, when the Glazer family joined the club, they had the biggest football stadium in the world, they had the best training ground in the UK, the best team in Europe,” Neville continued.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe would have been identified as the Glazers’ preferred bidder after six months
Neville claimed his ‘main concern’ was that the Glazers would ‘remove themselves’ from the club
“We’re in a situation right now where all three of those things are third or fourth rate. Assets have deteriorated, infrastructure has deteriorated, team performance has deteriorated.
‘In the meantime, they have raised over £1 billion. That’s where the criticism of the Glazer family comes from.’
There are said to have been complications during the bidding process, which lasted all year due to Joel and Avram Glazer’s desire to stay at the club.
The Raine Group, the New York-based commercial bank that has overseen the sale, is said to be close to confirming that the process will continue with Ratcliffe’s bid leading the way.
Throughout the bidding process, there has been constant muttering of US banks and financial institutions such as Carlyle purchasing a minority stake in the club.
“Where I’ve been critical, with respect to US investment, is where private equity is involved,” the former United star continued.
‘I do not believe that your intention in buying a football club should be for financial purposes. It should be for sporting purposes and to enhance the richness of that asset in terms of the fan experience and infrastructure.
The United fullback called Crystal Palace co-owner Steve Parish an example of good American ownership at a Premier League club
“From what I’ve seen over the years, there’s quite a bit of expectation from US-domiciled funds that when they come in, they expect a return on their investment and make decisions based on that.
“I think there are some good American owners in the PL. The owners of Crystal Palace with Steve Parish. They are individuals, they put their own money into it and they are embedded in the club and the culture.
‘And that’s how it works. I think if it’s someone else’s money and you’re spending money out of a fund and it’s money that no one knows where it came from, I don’t like that very much.
“What I generally like is an ownership that anchors itself. You want owners who are passionate about the fans, the community, the club, the stadium and the history.’