The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have issued an open letter addressed to parties interested in buying the club.
Offers were made from Qatar’s Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani and Ineos, who are owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, on Friday. There are also reports of bids from Qatar and America.
In response, the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) have issued a statement outlining principles any prospective owner should align with.
“We understand very well why you wish to buy the Club. We believe Manchester United is the greatest sporting institution in the world and hope we will have a new owner that will nurture, invest and, most of all, recognise that their role as the steward of Manchester United is to run the club in partnership with the supporters, in a way which recognises that a football club is far more than just a commercial asset,” said the statement.
“As you contemplate the nature of any offer you may wish to make to the present owners, we believe it may be helpful to you to understand what supporters want from any new owner, in order to secure the support of the fans.
“The principles below are based on our longstanding principles established over two decades as the Supporters Trust and regular open consultation with our fans. Concurrent with the publication of this open letter we have initiated a further comprehensive consultation process reaching out to every fan group and supporter globally.”
MUST then set out a number of criteria new owners should abide by which includes the management of debt, equity and investment.
“Any successful bid should not be based on debt and should include a commitment to replace existing debt, and fund future capital expenditure, through new share issues,” MUST state. “The first priority for profits should always be reinvestment into the club,” they add, before requesting fans are seen as ‘partners’ while underlining that investment is in needed in the stadium, training ground and playing squad.
MUST also give recommendations relating to governance and ‘the soul of the sporting organisation’.
“Heritage issues including club colours, name, playing location and name of the stadium are matters of vital concern to supporters. Any consideration to change them should require definitive consent of fans,” is on point MUST outlined, while also stating the club should not look to enter a European Super League.