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‘Glazers did not care for trophies, they feared paying out big bonuses to Man Utd players’, says former club staff

United’s Glazer ownership did not care about winning trophies, according to former club staff.

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In 2005, the Glazer family, including Joel, Bryan, and Avram Glazer, assumed control of Manchester United for £790 million. Their acquisition strategy, which involved leveraging the club’s assets to secure the necessary funds, immediately sparked fan outrage and saddled the Old Trafford institution with substantial debt.

Despite the early successes under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, culminating in their last league title in 2013, the period following Ferguson’s retirement has been marked by a noticeable decline in the club’s fortunes. Critics and some within the club have suggested that the Glazers were more focused on financial gain than on-field success.

A revelation from a former club employee to ESPN highlighted this sentiment, noting a lack of concern from the Glazer ownership over trophy wins, seeing the financial benefits of Champions League participation as sufficient. “United won nothing the year after Ronaldo and Tevez left. But the word around the club was that the Glazers weren’t too concerned because no trophies meant they didn’t have to pay big bonuses to the players. Being in the Champions League was what mattered, rather than actually winning it,” the source disclosed.

The summer of 2009 serves as a significant turning point, illustrating the ownership’s diminishing ambition. The departures of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a then-record £80m and Carlos Tevez’s switch to Manchester City, without adequate replacements, signaled a stark contrast in ambition compared to Manchester City’s aggressive investment in talent.

Manchester United’s response, with the acquisitions of Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan, and Mame Biram Diouf for a combined £24m, was underwhelming. This cautious approach in the transfer market became a pattern, one that even club legends like Wayne Rooney challenged, fearing the club’s declining competitive edge.

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s defense of the Glazers, insisting they never denied his funding requests, the narrative of frugality persisted. Rooney’s 2010 contract saga, where concerns over the club’s direction nearly led to his departure, underscored the growing unease regarding the club’s trajectory.

With the Glazers announcing their openness to a sale in November 2022 and the advent of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority takeover, there’s renewed optimism among the Manchester United faithful. However, the legacy of the Glazers’ tenure, split between Ferguson’s trophy-laden years and the subsequent era of underachievement, continues to spark debate among fans and pundits alike.

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