What the papers say

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Updated: 9 hours 26 min ago

'One of my idols': Marcus Rashford pays tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo – video

Sun, 11/27/2022 - 18:58

Marcus Rashford has said his former Manchester United teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, is 'one of my idols' and to have had the experience of playing alongside him was 'unbelievable'. The England forward said of Ronaldo: 'He's someone I’ve always looked up to. So, to have the opportunity to play with him is unbelievable and you know I’ll take that with me and it’s something that I can keep with me forever.'

Manchester United announced this week that Ronaldo would leave the club with immediate effect, bringing to a bitter end his second spell at Old Trafford after he gave an explosive media interview, claiming he felt 'betrayed' by the club.

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Manchester United fans must wait: football’s biggest sale will take time

Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:00

Cristiano Ronaldo is gone and the Glazers are going, but despite such seismic shifts selling Old Trafford will not be a quick deal

In the space of four hours and eight minutes on Tuesday, Manchester United put out two statements that will surely go down in the club’s history. First, the mutual termination of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract was announced at 5.30pm and it was later confirmed the Glazer family were open to selling up. Most United fans welcomed the news. Their ageing prima donna was heading for the exit and there was renewed hope the unpopular American owners might pack up.

It had taken fewer than 10 days from Ronaldo’s melodramatic broadside at United, delivered via Piers Morgan’s knockabout questioning, to the No 7 shirt being vacated. Those in the firing line included the owners, coaches past and present and the club’s training facilities. There was no way back for Ronaldo, not that he wanted one. When his contract was ripped up, the club and player got what they desired.

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David Beckham and a Manchester United bid – what could go wrong? | Marina Hyde

Fri, 11/25/2022 - 15:47

There is no more elegant pivot than moaning about the World Cup in Qatar to begging a Gulf state to come and buy your club

“When I want a peerage,” sniffed Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe), “I shall buy one like an honest man.” So yes: I want to begin with an apology for a ridiculous statement in my most recent column, which held that David Beckham’s mega-lucrative Qatar promotional deal meant he has been “wearing the face of a man who knows he is never going to get his knighthood now”. This was obviously wrong. Having been paid a reported £150m for his work shilling for the Qatari regime, David is in fact even better placed to buy a knighthood than he was before, and could easily run to a peerage.

But could David also be involved in the purchase of something else? Namely, Manchester United football club, which you’ll have noted is back on the market after the adored Glazer family have finally decided to cash out of the club they bought with some debt back in 2005. Can you cash out of something you never put cash into? Amazingly, yes. High finance is magic, and I’ve got a huge amount of time for it.

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Money taking and bad decision-making: the Glazers' legacy at Manchester United – explainer video

Fri, 11/25/2022 - 08:20

The Guardian's John Brewin explains the lasting legacy of the Glazer family at Manchester United as they put the club up for sale after 17 years of ownership. The overall picture has been rather grim for fans, with bad management decisions, a lack of investment and the existence of the club as the Glazers' personal bank summarising their reign. For the Glazers, however, it was a very successful ownership with huge financial gains. 

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Saudi government would back private bids for Manchester United or Liverpool

Thu, 11/24/2022 - 20:15
  • Sports minister talks of strong interest in English clubs
  • Saudi Arabia may also place a bid to host a future World Cup

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister, has said his government would definitely support any private sector bids from the country for Manchester United or Liverpool.

While the Saudi Public Investment Fund backed the purchase of Newcastle United last winter, Prince Abdulaziz said private businesses in his country have a strong interest in English football’s most successful clubs, with both instructing banks regarding potential investment or sale.

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We love Brazilian skill, so why do we criticise their flair players so much?

Thu, 11/24/2022 - 08:00

Antony, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paquetá have all been mocked or scolded for playing with panache and trickery

By Tom Sanderson for the Guardian Sport Network

The World Cup has finally started and, for some Brazil players, representing their national team may prove a welcome break from the day job. Manager Tite included 12 players from the Premier League in his 26-man squad – second only to England – and 22 in total from European clubs. Brazilian players have increasingly made home in Europe but their style is not always feted. At least once a month this season a young, skilful Brazilian has been criticised for doing what they do best: entertaining fans, expressing themselves and exhibiting their art.

Most recently, it was Antony’s turn to suffer a media pile-on in his adopted home. The São Paulo product was one of new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s marquee signings in the summer. The Dutchman convinced the club to pay Ajax £82m – an Eredivisie record – for the 22-year-old. The forward has enjoyed a strong start in England, setting a record as the first United player to score in his first three Premier League games. He was generally well received by fans and the media. Until he did the unthinkable and tried to pull off a trick during a 3-0 win over Sheriff in the Europa League.

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Manchester United need owners who see supporters as partners not problems | Andy Green

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 21:00

Better owners try to understand the institution they own and look to work with the cultural groove of the club

After 17 years, Manchester United are finally on the market and the roundly detested ownership of the Glazer family appears to be coming to an end. But what does a good, and realistic, outcome for United supporters look like? What can a football fan reasonably expect of an owner of their club in 2022?

The simpler days of the local businessman (always a man) chairing the board, putting their hand in their own pocket to build a new stand or to sign a new player, compares favourably in fans’ minds to a world of sovereign-wealth funds, oligarchs or American “sports entrepreneurs”. Yet the reality of those days was never as good as our sepia-tinted collective memories suggest, and all recent transactions for Premier League clubs indicate it will be financially driven buyers looking to acquire England’s leading clubs. Even local lad Sir Jim Ratcliffe is motivated more by his belief that top-flight teams will continue to grow in value, than his support for United. After all, he tried to buy Chelsea.

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Fans can celebrate Glazers’ sale of Manchester United as ownership tide turns | Barney Ronay

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 20:00

It is hard not to conclude that this – and Liverpool being up for sale – is related to failure of the European Super League

How can you sell something you never actually paid for? How is it possible to make profit without risk or jeopardy, or indeed any sign of expertise along the way? What is this miracle commodity, this blend of metal, plastic, turf and other people’s monetised joy?

Welcome to football capitalism 101 and the metaphysical puzzle of the Glazer ownership of Manchester United. No wonder they call leveraged buy-outs the beautiful game. It is, in the end, one you just can’t lose.

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The Guardian view on Manchester United up for sale: give fans a say in the future | Editorial

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 19:00

The Glazer family’s leveraged buyout of the club was a sporting scandal in plain sight

The acquisition of Manchester United by the American Glazer family in 2005 was the most egregious example of carpet-bagging in sporting history. In order to buy one of the most famous and profitable football institutions in the world, the Glazers raised £540m worth of debt and then loaded it on to the club itself. Over the past 17 years, against a backdrop of supporter protests and a decline in performance on the pitch, the Glazer ownership has cost the club more than £1.5bn in interest payments, debt and other outgoings. The family have used Manchester United as their private ATM, personally extracting vast sums in dividend payments and “management fees”, and organising soft loans to their other companies. Their ruthlessly exploitative modus operandi has been a sporting scandal in plain sight.

Little wonder then, that United supporters are jubilant at the sudden announcement that the Glazers are now open to offers for the club. The scuppering of unpopular plans for a lucrative European Super League, along with the post-Abramovich sale of Chelsea to American buyers for a £4.25bn investment, appears to have convinced the family that now might be the right time to cash out. Earlier this month, the American owners of Liverpool came to the same conclusion, putting another world-famous English institution on the market. According to Forbes, United are worth £3.9bn, but that figure may rise dramatically in a bidding war. Early reports suggest the Glazers may be hoping for £6bn.

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Glazer’s supposedly reckless financial Man Utd gamble has proved a triumph

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 19:00

Malcolm Glazer’s purchase of the team was an enormous risk. As his sons prepare their exit, they appear on the precipice of victory

The Glazers, assuming they find a buyer, will depart Old Trafford as loathed by Manchester United fans as they were on arrival. They won’t give a damn, obviously. Malcolm Glazer, the penny-pinching patriarch who led the £800m takeover in 2005, was never hard to read and nor are his sons. They are interested in sporting success to the extent that it delivers financial success for them.

By the time Glazer died in 2014, the club’s equity was valued by the market at £1.5bn, which was a commercial triumph given the thin sliver of hard cash, as opposed oodles of debt, that supported the buyout. Leverage turned a good investment into an excellent one – for the Glazers, that is, rather than the club.

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Who might have the money to buy Manchester United?

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 19:00

Oligarchs and fans are an unlikely bet but UK and overseas billionaires and sovereign wealth funds are in running to meet £3.7bn price tag

Manchester United fans have been protesting against the Glazer family’s ownership of their club since before they bought it 17 years ago. Now, the Glazers may be leaving the club after hoisting the for sale sign above Old Trafford with a target price of more than $4.5bn (£3.7bn) – roughly three times what they paid for it in a debt-fuelled buyout in 2005.

At that price the dream of a fan-led buyout looks extremely unlikely, but who might have enough money to buy Man U?

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‘Good riddance’: fans in Old Trafford rejoice Glazers’ decision to sell Manchester United

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 17:45

Supporters in Old Trafford share scathing views of outgoing owners of 17 years

The view in Old Trafford on Wednesday afternoon was far more subdued than expected after the Glazer family quietly announced plans to sell Manchester United after 17 years of ownership late on Tuesday.

The disparaging banners and burning effigies of Malcolm Glazer of past protests were nowhere to be seen. In fact, the grounds were almost empty. Those who did speak to the Guardian, however, were scathing about the outgoing owners.

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‘At last’: Manchester United fans on the Glazers’ plan to sell up

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 17:19

Seven followers of the world-famous football club share their hopes and fears for its next ownership

Manchester United has been put up for sale after the club’s owners, the Glazer family, announced that they were “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives”.

The development could mean the end of the Glazers’ 17-year ownership of the club, a controversial era for many fans.

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Royal Mail staff to strike over Black Friday and in run-up to Christmas after ‘final’ pay offer rejected – as it happened

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 15:03

Series of 48-hour postal strikes to go ahead while transport secretary Mark Harper prepares to meet RMT boss Mick Lynch on Thursday to discuss rail strikes

Halfords has launched a drive to fill 1,000 technician roles over the next 12 months by targeting more retired and female recruits, as the UK’s tight labour market pushes employers to think up new hiring strategies.

Announcing a halving of interim profits as customers cut discretionary spending amid the cost of living crisis, the motoring and cycling retailer warned that its full-year results will be at the lower end of expectations. Its shares fell more than 6% on the news.

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Potential sale of Manchester United could inspire overhaul of Old Trafford

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 13:21

Vision and ambition required to transform crumbling ground and Tottenham’s new stadium is illustration of what can be achieved

Old Trafford: the gleaming jewel in the crown that is Manchester United. A destination venue with a wow factor that teems heritage, culture, modernity, warmth, light and vision. The ground revamped and overhauled or even downsized for the club’s vaunted youth teams to finally have a permanent home while a fresh 110,000-capacity stadium – perhaps named New Old Trafford – is built for the successors of Billy Meredith, George Best, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney to grace. All of this part of a Manchester United HQ that develops the vast plot of land owned at M16 0RA.

With the Glazers offering notice they may sell, an architect is hardly required to see how a new owner could transform a crumbling and patched-up Old Trafford that has had zero fresh structural redevelopment since Malcolm Glazer bought the club in 2005.

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Manchester United Supporters Trust calls on Glazers to sell club quickly

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 12:17
  • Must also demand sale is in ‘best interests' of United
  • Four of the six Glazer siblings have wanted to sell for a while

Manchester United have been privately telling fan groups that the Glazers want the best new owner for the club – and will not necessarily accept the highest price in any sale.

The news will be greeted with deep scepticism in many quarters but it could reassure some supporters who fear the club could be sold to a petro-chemical state with a dubious human rights record.

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Timeline: Glazers and their turbulent reign at Manchester United

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 10:42

Glazer family took control of club in 2005 with more than £500m debt, causing much fan unrest ever since

2003 Malcolm Glazer buys a 2.9% stake in Manchester United in March, which increases before the end of the year.

2004 Glazer’s stake in club reaches almost 20% in June and nears 30% in October. He makes bids for the club in October and December and removes three directors.

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Manchester United fans, how do you feel about the club being put up for sale?

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 10:38

We would like to hear from fans around the world after the Glazer family announced plans to leave Old Trafford

Manchester United has been put up for sale by the club’s owners, the Glazer family, who have announced that they are “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives”. The news that the family’s controversial 17-year ownership could be ending came on the day Cristiano Ronaldo left the club.

We would like to speak to Manchester United fans around the world about their views on the developments at the club. How do you feel about the team’s future? Would you welcome new ownership of the club?

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Manchester United up for sale as Glazers announce plans to leave Old Trafford

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 22:24
  • Family’s controversial era could be over after 17 years
  • News comes on day Cristiano Ronaldo left the club

The Glazer family has announced it is “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives” for Manchester United, potentially bringing an end to its 17-year ownership of the club.

On the day it was also confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo had left Old Trafford by mutual consent, a statement from United on Tuesday night revealed plans to identify new investment that could lead to a potential sale. The club said the process led by their American owners will consider a number of options “including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”.

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Ronaldo wanted to be centre-stage but now has to head for the exit door | Jonathan Wilson

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 21:37

Striker is right in saying Manchester United have made mistakes but the club’s worst error was to re-sign him

The saddest aspect of Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan was that so much of it was so accurate. He correctly identified that Manchester United has not evolved much since he left, that the club has been undermined by terrible decision-making. When historians of the future come to write of United’s post-Ferguson struggles, the transcript will provide a very useful precis. But in his diagnosis there is a blind spot: the worst decision United have made since 2013 was to re-sign him.

This, perhaps, is the tragedy of the great sportsman. Ronaldo may be a preening narcissist, and ego of such overwhelming gravity that he inevitably dominates any club for whom he plays, but he has also been one of the greatest footballers of all time and is all the more remarkable for having made himself so. The comparison with Lionel Messi is hackneyed but irresistible. Messi has often seemed almost diffident, as though a great talent acts through him and he a semi‑willing conduit. Ronaldo has, with tremendous single‑mindedness and strength of will, worked and worked to transform his ability into something extraordinary.

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