Premier League giants Manchester United are going through a tumultuous time and much of it, according to the majority of fans and pundits, have come because of their owners, the Glazer family. The Glazers bought Manchester United in 2005 after taking a huge loan and since then have added the loan on the club while taking out dividends regularly. A recent report also revealed that the Glazers have taken more than a billion pounds out of the club since they took over, but the club is not suffering from a financial aspect of the situation.
The Red Devils have somewhat lost their identity since their legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson retired a decade ago. They have not won the Premier League since and have signed controversial players with little output on the field. The fans have been vocal regarding a change of ownership of the club for a long time and former board member Michael Knighton has revealed he is planning a hostile takeover of Manchester United.
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It is not the first time for the 70-year-old to try to buy Manchester United. In the late 1980s, Knighton made a £20 million takeover bid for the club, which was a record figure in Great Britain at the time. Knighton, who was a former footballer himself, promised to invest £10 million in Old Trafford, the club’s home ground. However, he later backed out of the deal in exchange for a seat on the club’s board.
When Knighton made his record takeover bid to buy Manchester United in 1989, the club had just finished in the 12th position in the First Division and were knocked out in the sixth round and third round of the FA Cup and League cup respectively.
He later went on to buy English fourth division club Carlisle United in 1992, where he appointed himself as the manager later. Knighton also promised the club’s fans to bring the club back to the English top-flight, where they had not been in the previous two decades.
Carlisle United began strongly under the ownership of Knighton as they were promoted to the Second Division in three years. However, they were relegated in 1997 and returned to Division Two, but won the Football League trophy.
However, the fans began to express their resentment towards Knighton at this time, as he had built a reputation of making rash decisions, which hurt the club’s aims. The highlight of his tenure at Carlisle United was full of controversies, one of which was suing a local newspaper for ‘publicly humiliating’ him because of his previous claim of witnessing a UFO in 1976.
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He sacked Carlisle United manager Mervyn Day, who was a fan favourite in the 1997-98 season and appointed himself as the manager. A relegation for the club followed that decision and they began underwhelmingly in the next season. It forced him to resign from his role and appoint Nigel Pearson. Following that season, Knighton remained as the owner of the club but never spent much.
Carlisle United were put in voluntary administration in 2002. In the past few years, there were three takeover attempts at the club, all of which failed, much like Manchester United of the modern era. Knighton also fired a manager for speaking about one of the failed attempts. The club was later sold to John Courtenay in July 2002.