Michael Knighton: I'm preparing hostile takeover bid for Manchester United

·3-min read
Knighton, left, tried to buy Man Utd in 1989, before a controversial reign at Carlisle, bottom right. Top right, the Glazer family (photos: PA / News & Star)
Knighton, left, tried to buy Man Utd in 1989, before a controversial reign at Carlisle, bottom right. Top right, the Glazer family (photos: PA / News & Star)

Controversial former Carlisle United owner Michael Knighton has claimed he is preparing a “hostile bid” to take over Manchester United.

The ex-Blues supremo insists he has financial backers supporting an offer that will be tabled soon.

Knighton has described the Glazer family as “inept” owners of the Old Trafford club.

He has now raised the unlikely prospect of unseating the Americans after 17 years.

But he has not named the people he says is backing his bid, or given any other details.

Knighton, who had a turbulent reign at Carlisle from 1992-2002, spoke out in a YouTube video on the ‘Man Utd The Religion’ channel.

The man who had tried to take over Man Utd in 1989 before serving as a director for three years, described the Red Devils as “a club in crisis”.

He said: “We have an inept and frankly useless ownership who know little about this game of football.

News and Star: Knighton pictured in Carlisle last October
News and Star: Knighton pictured in Carlisle last October

Knighton pictured in Carlisle last October

“Everyone knows that we need new ownership of this football club. That is my aim, those are my objectives.

“I’m making good progress, I continue to talk to the people, I’ve got some good pledges with good finance.

“We are now working on the offer document. It’s a hostile bid – that simply means the club isn’t officially to sale. But my intention is to present these owners with a legitimate, potent, and proper commercial offer to say, ‘You’ve run out of road, it’s time to go’.”

Man Utd fans staged their latest protest against the Glazers ahead of their opening-day Premier League defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.

Knighton also described a recently-announced fan share scheme at Old Trafford as a “sop” to supporters.

It has been reported that the scheme would comprise new shares issued in a ‘B’ category, matching those owned by the Glazers, and have ten times the voting power of the ‘A’ shares owned by other investors.

News and Star: Man Utd lost to Brighton in their first Premier League game of the new season (photo: PA)
News and Star: Man Utd lost to Brighton in their first Premier League game of the new season (photo: PA)

Man Utd lost to Brighton in their first Premier League game of the new season (photo: PA)

Knighton added: “I’ll retract all my comments if I see the Glazers saying there’s a block of shares for fans to use at their will to block any initiative the whole fan group are unhappy with.

“I cannot support any mechanism which is going to be seen to be keeping the current ownership in power.

“They’ve had their day. We’ve had 17 years of disappointment and it’s time for them to go.

“I’m putting this bid together. I don’t need to be the spokesperson. I just want to see Manchester United in the hands of proper football people with proper vision. We need to put our club back where it belongs.

“I’m speaking to the right people, we’ve got some good people on board, and we will make a formal hostile bid.”

Knighton said he “guaranteed” his bid would be tabled “very shortly”.

News and Star: Man Utd fans have been protesting against the Glazers (photo: PA)
News and Star: Man Utd fans have been protesting against the Glazers (photo: PA)

Man Utd fans have been protesting against the Glazers (photo: PA)

The former Carlisle owner has been out of football since his Brunton Park tenure ended bitterly in 2002.

After initially leading the Blues to success in the 1990s, his reign descended into controversy, fan protests and on-field struggle, before he sold the club to John Courtenay.

The former businessman returned to the city last year for his first public appearance in Carlisle for 19 years, in an event at the Old Fire Station.

READ MORE: Michael Knighton interview on Carlisle United: "I take full responsibility for everything..."