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Man. United's U.S. Owners Keeping A Low Profile

Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family, would still not win any popularity contests in the city, but they are at least "coming to be regarded as the least worst owners of the top four clubs" in England, says Matt Dickinson. Although that might sound like damning them with faint praise, "it is a whole lot more praise than they are used to." Being liked more than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich or Liverpool's feuding co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks may not be much to brag about, but it's a start.
 
The Americans are not doing anything particularly well with the club, it's more that they're not doing anything at all. Thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson and his players, the team keeps on winning league titles, and on Wednesday will appear in the Champions League final. Apart from some Americanization on the business side, such as putting up ticket prices to squeeze yet more money out of the fans, the Glazers have "left it to David Gill, the chief executive, to bring in the vast profits that help to make the huge interest repayments (£42million [$84 million] annually)" that the club became burdened with after the Glazers' takeover.
 
They've been to a few high-profile games, but have largely given up the pretense of being fans by tacitly demonstrating that their involvement with Manchester United is a business relationship. "They have had the sense, at least, to know their place in the scheme of things," says Dickinson, and until Sir Alex calls it a day, they will not face "anything more challenging than to fine-tune a thriving company."

Read the whole story at Times Online »

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