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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
What will be the Glazer effect?
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Malcolm Glazer
Glazer has refused to give up on fight for Old Trafford
Manchester United fans awoke on Friday the 13th to confront what they always feared would be the nightmare scenario at "The Theatre of Dreams".

It is the spectre, in financial terms, of ageing American tycoon Malcolm Glazer standing at the gates of Old Trafford.

Glazer has become a reviled figure at Manchester United without ever setting foot inside the ground.

Glazer not only acquired Manchester United. He also announced, for those who did not know, that every dream and passion in English football is up for sale
James Lawton - The Independent

He is seen as an outsider from across the Atlantic who will take Manchester United away from the people and into the hands of market forces.

But the 76-year-old has simply refused to go away despite the protests - and whether United's fans like it or not, he is about to become their paymaster.

So what are the implications for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson and the club's supporters?

SIR ALEX FERGUSON'S FUTURE?

Ferguson has been against Glazer's takeover and has backed United fans in their opposition - he is as loyal to them as they are to him.

He will want assurances about his own position, and how Glazer's arrival will impact on his firepower in the transfer market.

Ferguson's future is 100% secure under the Glazer takeover, although not necessarily as the long-term coach
Harry Harris - Daily Express

Glazer, for all his distance from Old Trafford, will know Ferguson retains massive popularity and will not want to further fire up the wrath of his new customers by unseating a legend almost immediately after winning control.

Talk of a new five-year contract for Ferguson may be wide of the mark, but initially Glazer's arrival may even strengthen his position.

The great unknown is Ferguson's own reaction.

Ferguson's footballing senses are fine-tuned to perfection, and if he feels Glazer will be an adversary, or will damage United, he may take matters into his own hands. An intriguing time is in prospect.

ARE MANCHESTER UNITED IN CRISIS?

It is currently a crisis caused by nothing more than uncertainty.

There is no proof yet that Glazer's takeover would be bad for Manchester United, other than it takes the club's ownership out of English hands.

Much has been said about United's "heart and soul" being ripped out, but Old Trafford was opened up to market forces went it went public 14 years ago - the start of a period of spectacular success.

"Not for sale" is the great rallying call for Old Trafford's faithful, but in reality almost everything at Manchester United has been for sale since that day. A hollow cry from this mega-rich and mega-marketable club.

Foreign ownership of Manchester United simply reflects what has already happened to players and managers without any diminution in the loyalty of fans
The Guardian editorial comment

If Glazer, as his thousands of detractors insist, is purely in it for the money, then he is highly unlikely to adopt policies that would ruin a club that became the most profitable in the world into the ground.

If Manchester United's level of success goes down, so does the value of Glazer's investment.

But Glazer in no benefactor in the mould of Roman Abramovich. He is a businessman who will want a return on his investment - an investment that will plunge him deep into debt.

Until Glazer states his intentions, the air of uncertainty - and the protests - will continue.

BIG BUCKS FOR TRANSFERS?

Ferguson will reportedly be handed a constant 20m-a-year transfer fund. Sounds good when you say it, but not so clever in practice.

This amount of cash would be heaven-sent for almost every other club, but when new champions Chelsea have an owner who might find 20m down the back of his settee, Glazer will hardly cool the rage of United's fans with this sort of talk.

No more - indeed possibly less - generous than the current regime and about the same transfer kitty on offer at newly-promoted Wigan Athletic.

GLAZER PRICE INCREASES?

Glazer's investment will need to be recouped somewhere - fans fear prices will be hiked up almost as high as his trousers, whether it is season tickets or car park spaces.

It may make Glazer unpopular, but it seems clear he is not bothered about winning any contests there.

Ferguson deserves another season but his famous club do not deserve an American predator like Glazer
Henry Winter - Daily Telegraph

United have kept ticket prices down, although they recently caused a stir by raising some season tickets by 27%. You can be sure Glazer will be looking for more, although perhaps not instantly.

And while thousands of United fans say they will stay away, Glazer will be confident their places will be taken by others only too happy to buy into the worldwide brand.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC News' James Pearce



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