Manchester United’s former director Michael Knighton has claimed he is planning a takeover of the Red Devils in the hope to end the Glazer Family’s controversial ownership of the club.
The Glazer’s have been in charge of the Old Trafford side since they were gradually able to buy out United shareholders between 2003 and 2005.
Since Malcom Glazer’s death in 2006, the family has owned a 90% stake in the club which has been split equally among his six children.
In recent years, the Glazer’s have caused huge fan unrest as they have used their ownership as leverage against significant debt and went on to cause yet more damage when the European Super League was suggested.
Knighton, who spent several years on the board at Old Trafford, now believes it is time to end the reign of the “inept” owners of the club.
Who is Michael Knighton
Knighton is a 70-year-old business man best known for his historic involvement with Manchester United and Carlisle United.
As a teenager, Knighton spent a year as an apprentice with Coventry City but his football career was soon cut short after a thigh injury.
He went on to study physical education, philosophy, politics and Mandarin Chinese at Durham University before becoming a PE and geography teacher.
Knighton became headmaster of what is now Huddersfield Grammar School in 1980, ultimately buying the school in 1983.
A year later, the Derbyshire born businessman stopped teaching to focus on property interests.
In 1992, Knighton bought Carlisle United who were in the bottom division of the Football League at the time and he hoped to rebuild them to Premier League glory (a league they hadn’t seen since 1974-75).
After a few years in the north, Knighton became increasingly unpopular with fans and an independent supporters’ trust (now known as The United Trust) was formed to protest against his control.
Eventually in 2002, Knighton was pushed out and he has reportedly never returned to the city.
Michael Knighton with Manchester United
Knighton’s first dalliance with the public came in August 1989 when he made a £20 million for Manchester United which was a record figure for a British Football Club at the time.
After successfully seeking backers to help with the bid, Knighton abandoned his bid for control in exchange for a seat on the board.
Now, Knighton has said he wishes to remove the ‘inept’ owners of the club in a new bid to take over the Red Devils.
Speaking to Man Utd the Religion, Knighton said: “We are a club in crisis and we all know the reason why. We have an inept and frankly useless ownership who know little about this game of football. Everyone knows that we need new ownership of this football club and that is my aim and those are my objectives.
“I am making good progress, continuing to talk to the people, I have got some good pledges and good finance. We are now working on the offer document. Remember, it is a hostile bid - that simply means that the club isn’t officially for sale. But my intention is to present these owners with a legitimate, potent and commercial offer to say: ‘You have run out of road, it’s time to go, because your time is up.’”
Who is in Michael Knighton’s consortium?
It is currently unknown who will feature in Knighton’s consortium but Knighton has assured fans that he is busy planning and securing names.
Knighton has hopes that Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe will join the consortium but Mr Ratcliffe (who was recently linked with a move to buy Chelsea) has not made any noise.
Knighton said that Ratcliffe could “solve all our problems. My consortium is ready and waiting. The funds are pledged. The offer document is being drawn out and it will be presented. Until Jim comes, my consortium will be placing their bid very shortly, that I can guarantee you.”
What is Michael Knighton’s net worth?
Knighton is estimated to have a net worth of around £5.7 million ($7m). Most of his income has come from his real estate businesses.