Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Manchester United suitors Red Knights appoint advisers

Fans protest
Fans have launched numerous protests against the club's debts

The Red Knights group eyeing a possible bid for Manchester United will be advised by investment bank Nomura, the Japanese firm has said.

The group of financiers has met the football club's supporters, who have been running a vocal campaign to bring about a change of ownership.

Manchester United was bought by the Glazer family for £800m in 2005.

The Nomura team will be led by two bankers who advised the club at the time of the Glazers' takeover.

"Nomura will work closely with the Red Knights, the Manchester United Supporters' Trust and other potential investors to co-ordinate and formulate the proposal to be put to the Glazer family," the financiers said in a statement.

"Nomura is beginning its role by contacting the many expressions of financial support the Red Knights have received to date."

The Red Knights group includes Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill, lawyer Mark Rawlinson and financier Keith Harris.

"Ultimately they would like to get hundreds of thousands of potential members around the world and for each of them to have a stake in the club," said BBC Sport's Dan Roan.

"It's unprecedented - we've seen it happen in Spain with Madrid and Barcelona, but to actually buy the club off a tycoon is a new one.

"They quite like the idea of this club being democratic - they think its part of a campaign that may sweep through football."

The Glazers' reign has been controversial, with many fans opposed to the huge levels of debt that Red Football, the club's holding firm, took on to finance the takeover. Red Football now has more than £700m of debts.

Fans protesting against the Glazers have been wearing green and gold scarves - the colours of Newton Heath before it was renamed Manchester United in 1902 - at games this season.

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