Manchester United’s proposed fan share scheme is at a critical juncture with no guarantee it will go ahead. The United co-chairman Joel Glazer announced the move last May after supporter protests – a group of about 100 broke into Old Trafford causing the Premier Leaguer fixture with Liverpool to be postponed – about the Glazer family’s ownership of the club. The protests were ignited by United’s decision to join the short-lived European Super League in April.
Glazer hoped the prospect of fans owning shares in the club would be in place for the start of this season but, as the first anniversary of the Super League’s collapse approaches, it remains, at best, a work in progress.
“We have worked hard since last summer to design a fans’ share scheme which would open a path for fans to build a meaningful ownership stake in the club,” a United spokesperson said. “Significant progress has been made, but this is a complex project and we are continuing to work towards a robust and attractive proposal for fans.”
United are in negotiations with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust regarding a further round of demands and counter-proposals from the body after agreement was reached on an initial tranche of shares. Discussions have entered a final, sensitive stage after extensive consultation with legal and financial advisers.
Must’s position is that United’s offer is not acceptable while the club’s stance is that they are working through the final demands of the trust. It is understood one of the trust’s issues relates to a technicality regarding the Glazers’ share-voting power.
As part of the process, Glazer is in discussion with his five siblings – Avram, Darcie, Kevin, Bryan and Edward. All of them have to sign off on a final agreement.
If the fan share scheme does go ahead, the new shares issued would be part of a “B” category, meaning they would match those owned by the Glazers and have 10 times the voting weight of “A” category, which are owned by most investors.