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Sky News sources understand leading city financiers have met to discuss a potential takeover bid for Premier League champions Manchester United.
Representatives from law firm Freshfields and investment bank Goldman Sachs, among others, are understood to have been involved in the secret meeting.
Informally known as 'the Red Knights', the group held talks regarding a potential offer to buy out the Glazer family, who are unpopular with United fans.
The mammoth debts at Old Trafford have recently sparked a green and gold protest from supporters as the fans call on the Glazers to leave the club.
A £500million bonds issue has been used to help refinance the debts, and Sky sources understand the Glazers are not looking to sell.
However, Keith Harris, who has been involved with the group considering a potential takeover, recently called on supporters to start boycotting matches in an attempt to force the Glazers' hand.
Harris said last week: "Turning up to games 10 minutes late and things like that just doesn't do the job.
"The green and gold protest is fabulous, a symbolic and significant message to the owners. It is like the white handkerchiefs in Spain. But that won't force the Glazers to sell to us.
"However, if enough people - and I am talking about thousands - stop turning up to matches and do not renew their tickets, then that does it. The supporters have to hurt the Glazers in their pockets.
"They have to be prepared to take the pain of not watching their club in order to achieve a long-term gain. Supporters have to be galvanised to say, 'We will not come. We will not buy programmes and merchandise'.
"It's a big ask, it's a risk, but that is what must happen. The Glazers are thick-skinned and seem impervious to protest. They will not be impervious to enormous drops in their revenue.
"I would not talk about this if I didn't have full confidence in our ability to raise the money to do this. I never talk publicly unless I have confidence. Getting the money together is the easy bit.
"But we can't make an offer until the Glazers are placed in a position where they are forced to consider it."
Most people are missing the point here. The Glazers are killing our club and need to be forced out. They will not leave whilst they are able to asset strip and suck money out of the club. The short term pain is vital for the long term goal. I gave up my ticket when the Glazers took over and I can't wait for them to leave so I can get MY seat back. I would rather not win anything for a couple of years than have to explain to my grandchildren what Manchester United were because the Glazers are going to kill United. Anybody that genuinely loves this club and not just the glory that goes with it would understand that all moves to oust these parasites must be supported at all costs. It is never about the trophies or the star players, it is about the club that we love and ensuring that they are still around in 50 years rather than ensuring that they are premier league champions this year or next year. Love United. Hate Glazer.
Posted 21:39 1st March 2010
I completely agree that we need new owners. But what Keith Harris fails to realise is that all season tickets are paid for up front, meaning that the home Premier League games that are still to come between now and May have already been paid for by United fans - the Glazers already have our money! So boycotting matches is simply cutting off your nose to spite your face and is completely pointless. Plus, as Scott Duncan pointed out, it would have a detrimental effect on the team's performances. Anything that will harm the team is a stupid way to go. Also, who's to say that whoever takes over from the Glazers aren't going to be even worse? Add to that the fact that the Glazers aren't going to sell anyway. I'm just not sure whether I trust this guy or not...tricky times ahead for us.
Posted 21:38 1st March 2010
a few points. firstly i am fully behind the red knights in putting together a consortium to attempt tobuy the club secondly Keith Harris is right a boycott is what is needed to drive this parasitic family out of OUR club thirdly, as fans we do not need to be blinded by success on the pitch, getting the Glazers out now is of upmost importance to the continuing health and success of OUR club, if that means we have to foresake success in the short term by boycotting and shock horror actually losing one or two games then in my opinion so be it, i would much rather do that than risk having no club left to support when the glazers run us into the ground. the fans are rising, uniting together, join and be part of the revolution that will see and help get the club back into the hands of people in it for the love of the game and not the love of the $$$ they can take out of it
Posted 21:37 1st March 2010
I'm a true Utd fan and a season ticket holder, i want the glazers out more than anything, but if I don't renew my season ticket who says I will ever get it back again when the glazers are out, this is why people are reluctant to do it.
Posted 21:27 1st March 2010
The problem we've got is that if we boycott games then there are thousands of people behind us who want our seats, and if we pay for the seat and don't turn up so there is an empty seat they'll have got their money anyway. Is there any way we can form a human wall around the megastore and each programme kiosk until kickoff so they loose mercendise money? Surely this is possible?
Posted 21:21 1st March 2010
I am a Man Utd fan and I agree we need new owners ,but if fans don't turn up to games it may harm the teams performance in their games, games we need to win.
Posted 20:54 1st March 2010
i dont fully agree with boycotting matches there has 2 b another way. we need support 4 those on the pitch its not there fault and we need 2 stay on as top club in england takin honours leaving,12th man (fans) behind isnt goin 2 help the club or team
Posted 20:54 1st March 2010
if these companys buy united will they provide the money for new players the amount needed and how long would the club have to wait for the money to be provided
Posted 20:53 1st March 2010
Ill keep it short and sweet. What Keith Harris has said is the biggest load of rubbish i have ever read, i buy united shirts because im a proud fan. I buy other bits and bobs of merchandise because im proud to show i support this club and someone telling me not to so it will hurt the Glazers pockets is a cheap way of saying 'stop buying stuff so we can get the club cheaper when they panic.'
Posted 20:52 1st March 2010
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