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Group considers United bid

Financiers in secret meeting to discuss potential takeover offer

Last Updated: 02/03/10 9:07am

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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.

Big ask

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."

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