When did the Glazers buy Manchester United? How much did they pay, who owned Premier League club before them

Thousands of Manchester United fans staged anti-Glazer protests before their victory against Liverpool on Monday.

Manchester United are one of the most decorated and successful clubs in world football.

Since the Premier League was formed in 1992, Manchester United have lifted the title on 13 occasions making them the most successful team in English football during that period.

Such success has seen the Red Devils become one of the most popular and marketable football clubs in the world.

However, since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, Manchester United have failed to win a Premier League title and they have endured a fall from grace.

During the post Fergie era, there has been vitriolic criticism of the club’s ownership and fans continued to vent their frustration towards the Glazers during their victory over rivals Liverpool.

The Manchester United group ‘The 1958’ staged a protest outside Old Trafford against the Glazer family as they believe the American owners are “systematically starving and killing the greatest football institution in world football, for greed.”

But who are the Glazers and how did they come to own Manchester United?

Thousands of Manchester United fans staged a protest against the Glazer family in the build up to their game against Liverpool (Getty Images)

Who are the Manchester United owners?

The Red Devils are owned by the six children of the late Malcolm Glazer: Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward Glazer.

When Malcolm Glazer died in 2014, the 90 per cent share he had in the club was distributed equally between the six children.

Spearheading the day to day running of the club are Joel and Avram Glazer, the other four children are directors of the football club.

When did the Glazers buy Manchester United?

Malcolm Glazer began to invest in Manchester United in 2003 and became the majority shareholder of the club by the end of 2005.

The Glazers initially made their money through real estate before expanding their ventures into banks, healthcare facilities and TV stations.

Summary of events since the Glazer takeover in 2005

Who were the Manchester United owners before the Glazers?

The previous owners of Manchester United were John Magnier and J.P McManus.

John Magnier, aged 74, is an Irish businessman who has made the majority of his money by being a stud owner.

J.P McManus likewise has also made his money from horse racing and is a racehorse owner. Additionally McManus has large shares in the betting company Ladbrokes.

The pair owned around 30% of the shares in the club and invested in an Irish racehorse called Rock of Gibraltar alongside manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The horse ran in Manchester United colours and like the football club enjoyed a period of sustained success at the time.

The horse was regarded as one of best flat racing horses in the world and it retired in 2002. It was around this time that the relationship between Magnier and Ferguson began to break down with the pair entering into a legal battle over the shares of the horse.

Whilst the conflict unfolded between Ferguson and the owners, Malcolm Glazer was building up his shares within Manchester United and the 3% share he owned in 2003 had increased to around 30% by the end of 2004.

Glazer completed his takeover of Manchester United in May 2005 by purchasing the shares from Magnier and McManus.

John Magnier was the former owner of Manchester United (Getty Images)

How much did the Glazers pay for Manchester United?

The American owners completed their takeover of Manchester United in 2005 for a total of £790 million.

When the Glazers completed their takeover of Manchester United they took out a loan of around £600 million to leverage a buy out.

The buyout of Manchester United brought about fan anger as the debts generated from the loan were leveraged onto the brand of the football club. The loans taken out by the Glazer family have cost the Red Devils around £60 million a year in terms of interest costs.

Following the American takeover in 2005 a large section of disgruntled fans formed FC United of Manchester. Supporters first considered forming a breakaway club during an attempted takeover by Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB in 1998. 

FC United, nicknamed the ‘Red Rebels’ are a fan owned club with 11 board members who are elected by members of the club.  They currently compete in The Northern Premier League in the seventh tier of English football.

How much debt are Manchester United in?

In 2022, it is estimated that Manchester United currently have debts of over £500 million as a result of the Glazer takeover that took place.

During the first 15 years of the Glazers’ tenure at Manchester United it is estimated that the club has paid over £800 million in terms of interest.

What is Manchester United’s net worth?

According to the Forbes rich list, Manchester United is the third richest football team in the world with an estimated value of £3.7 billion in May 2022.

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona have a higher value than Manchester United.

The proposal of the European Super League

Manchester United were amongst the founding members in the proposed formation of a European Super League in 2021, with Joel Glazer being unveiled as the vice chairman of the new breakaway league.

The European Super League was a proposed seasonal club competition that would be contested by 20 teams including the 12 founding members. Backlash against the announcement of the leagues formation led to nine of the clubs involved including all of the six English teams withdrawing from the competition.

Following the announcement of the European Super League thousands of fans gathered outside Old Trafford to protest against the formation of the European Super League.

In May 2021, fan protests led to Manchester United’s game against Liverpool being abandoned.

There continues to be unrest between Manchester United supporters and the American ownership and former board member Michael Knighton is planning to make a hostile bid to takeover the club. British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also rumoured to be interested in a takeover bid.

Businessman Michael Knighton who has been linked with a takeover at Manchester United was in attendance during the protest against Liverpool. (Getty Images)