Malcolm Glazer, the head of the family that own , died on Wednesday morning aged 86, in his hometown of Tampa.
While Glazer drove the controversial process that took control of United for the family in 2005 by leveraging the club with a £500m-plus debt, his recent failing health had meant that two of his sons, Joel and Avram, took on the hands-on role of leading the club. His passing should have little if any effect on the overall structure of the club, with the family retaining a 90% share with the remaining 10% listed on the New York stock exchange.
A statement from the 20-times champions last night said: “The thoughts of all at the club are with the family at this time.”
Glazer’s death was announced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL franchise the family also owns. “The are saddened to announce the passing of owner/president Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning,” read the statement. “Known among his league peers as a pioneering thinker, Glazer infused his team and employees with the determination and dedication to be the best in the NFL. Glazer’s commitment to building a championship organisation has provided the foundation for continued success, on and off the field.
“Mr Glazer’s long-established estate succession plan has assured the Buccaneers will remain with the Glazer family for generations to come. Linda Glazer, along with their five sons and daughter, will continue to own and operate the team as they have throughout the family’s ownership.”
Despite the hostility to Glazer’s purchase of United, his ownership coincided with the most successful era of the club’s history. Since 2005 United have won five Premier League titles, the 2008 Champions League and reached European Cup finals in 2009 and 2011.
Born in Rochester, New York, as one of seven children, Glazer took over the family watch-parts business at the age 15 following the death of his father and then continued his foray into the professional world, investing in other businesses. He owned or was a substantial shareholder of a diverse portfolio of international holdings and public companies including First Allied, Zapata Corporation, Houlihan’s restaurant chain, Harley Davidson, Formica, Tonka, Specialty Equipment and Omega Protein. He leaves behind his wife, six children and 14 grandchildren.
Nonetheless a grassroots club FC United was founded by a group of dissatisfied supporters and accepted into the North West Counties Football League months after the takeover was completed. “The Glazers’ ownership of Manchester United is a product of the lack of regulation that we have in the game,” the general manager, Andy Walsh, told the Manchester Evening News. “Malcolm Glazer took advantage of that and his passing does not change that fact. The Glazer family still own Manchester United Football Club. The takeover of Manchester United caused a lot of pain in this city.”