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Gary Neville: 16 questions the minority ownership of Manchester United must answer

Gary Neville: 16 questions the minority ownership of Manchester United must answer
Image credits: Manchester United / Twitter

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has posed 16 questions that the new proposed minority ownership of the club by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS needs to clarify.

This comes after a turbulent weekend for United, following the news that Sheikh Jassim has withdrawn from the takeover process after his propositions to buy 100% of Manchester United was rejected by the Glazers family.

He had presented a fully cash bid, clearing all old debt, with zero new debt. His final bid was double the club's market valuation, with an additional £1.25 billion in investment planned in his final bid.

Following this, Ratcliffe has edged closer towards taking on a 25% co-ownership deal with the Glazers, with him taking greater control of sporting matters. He has stated that he wants clauses attached to the deal to enable him to eventually stage a full takeover.

Neville reacted to this news on Sunday, questioning whether a minority investment will actually have an impact on an already 'struggling organisation'.

He highlighted six key 'non-negotiables' on a takeover, five of which were already proposed by him last year.

Gary Neville: 16 questions the minority ownership of Manchester United must answer
Image credits: Gary Neville /

These include a new sporting project, a new or developed Old Trafford, a new training ground, the full redevelopment of the surrounding land to boost the fans' experience, and to pay off the debt and stop taking dividends 'until the above is done'.

Lastly, he also added that the club needs leadership that is 'statesmanlike on major issues that enables a fairer, more inclusive and diverse game'. This has to build a 'positive environment and culture whilst adhering to the club's values and principles' and one that is willing to make tough decisions to prevent an 'erosion of the club's public image'.

Neville questioned whether a minority shareholder can actually implement such changes, yet he then pointed towards 16 questions that fans would like answering for further clarity:

'1) What does the distribution of funds look like? Is all the cash being taken out of the club?

2) Which Glazers are going or is it a family dilution?

3) How does it impact the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shareholders?

4) Does the executive stay the same?

5) Does the sporting side stay the same above the manager?

6) Who within the board has sporting control?

7) Are there future dilution clauses with the Glazer family in any deal you do as a minority shareholder? When are they?

8) We're maxed out on the credit card and debt. How is this deal going to change the capital structure and financial issues the club has?

9) Is any further debt being placed on the club?

10) Is any debt being paid off?

11) How does this deal impact the board composition?

12) How does a minority shareholder impact the negative culture within the entire organisation?

13) Old Trafford is tired and in need of significant redevelopment. How does this deal resolve this issue?

14) Will this deal allow the development of the training ground to its required standard?

15) Old Trafford requires significant investment on its surrounding land. Does this deal impact the requirement positively or does it leave it as a concrete wasteland?

16) How does a minority shareholder stop cultural decline across a whole organisation if the people who have overseen this decline still have a majority shareholding?'

Many of the questions, particularly two, four and 11 concern shareholding and leadership issues, two areas the club has struggled with massively over the past few years. Questions eight to 10 concern the huge amount of debt that the club is in, a problem that the Glazers have failed to address, with the club practically financing itself with no input from the owners, who instead have chosen to take dividends year after year. The final few queries target the redevelopment of the club, both physically and culturally, two points of concern which have been widely reported over the last decade.

At the very end of the day, there's only so much that a minority shareholder can do, as the majority shareholders, in this case the Glazers, will still ultimately have the final say on matters.

United was seemingly ready for a change a few months ago, yet the takeover process has practically been put on hold or completely been terminated, as the Glazers do not seem to be going anytime soon.


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