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Unread 03-03-2010, 09:10 AM
Default Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!


A GROUP of rich and well-connected Manchester United fans sat around a table in a London law office last week.
Nine of them, all well off from dealings in the financial markets, decided they wanted to save their club from the Glazers.

They gathered against the backdrop of fan unrest at Old Trafford and mass protest against the American family's debt-laden ownership.

Hell, they even went to the trouble of asking for the backing of the Manchester United Supporters Trust, who have so far not committed.

Then, when news of the revolution 'leaked' late on Monday night, the saviours were called the Red Knights.

Sound like a fairytale? That's because it is.

Led by football financier Keith Harris, Red Knights have less chance of buying England's biggest club than Orville has of flying.

Orville's puppet master - another Keith Harris - is no relation to the self-styled leader of the Red Knights.

But when it comes to pulling strings in takeovers, lifelong United fan Harris is almost always quoted.

In fact, if you Google his name alongside football you will get 84,000 search results in under a second.

It's safe to say that here is a man who likes the sound of his own voice. Last Friday, it was Harris who headed the round table of Red Knights.

Among them, were some of the brightest men in the UK banking industry.

Jim O'Neill is head of global economic research at investment bank Goldman Sachs. A close friend of Alex Ferguson, he was briefly on the United board.

Mark Rawlinson is a senior partner in law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He was an advisor to United during the Glazer takeover five years ago.

Paul Marshall is co-founder of one of the City's most influential hedge funds. Then there's Richard Hytner, another high-flier, who is deputy chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi's global company.

Each of them have two things in common: They are United fans but don't have anywhere near enough money to buy out the Glazers.

We could name more but the picture is already pretty clear - they're all faceless.

Their grand plan: To find 40 rich United fans to chip in 20million each for a takeover. Eureka, I hear you cry!

Simply find, recruit and persuade JUST the 40 to spare that in the middle of the worst recession for 50 years.

That only gets the Red Knights up to 800m. That's OK, as apparently if they raise that, they are confident they can borrow 200m.

But hang on, isn't debt the reason they want to buy it from Malcolm Glazer?

On that matter, yesterday it was announced the debt dropped from 538.1m to 507.5m.

Red Football Ltd, the Glazers' holding company for United, revealed turnover was up 19 per cent for the six months up to December, compared to the year before.

Then there's the small case of Red Knights' bid being 200m short of the 1.2bn current value. And who will actually run the club if they gain control?

Red Knights would boldly put themselves up for that task on the basis that the whole thing was their idea.

Let's get this straight. Nine fans want to buy the club with other people's money.

As one City expert said yesterday: "They've as much chance of buying United as my gran has of playing."

But that's OK, as long as Harris gets a chance to promote himself as the Svengali of football takeovers.

He was involved in Randy Lerner's Aston Villa buyout and Thaksin Shinawatra's at Manchester City. More recently, he failed to find buyers for Everton and Newcastle.

This is not the first time he has claimed an interest in United - it's the third.

So what chance of him leading the club out of the Glazer era to a promised land?

Well, let's just say the Red Knights are more likely to turn out to be Red Dwarves.
Deary me, this 'comment' from a reader:

I actually dont mind the glazers as long as Utd keep winning trophies, we always have money available to buy new players and the manager is in control of all things football!! If any of those things change then i'll rethink my position but until now, nothings changed and i wont fall for any shrewd business men thinking they can simply walk in and take advantage of the Utd fans fears!!
Unread 03-03-2010, 09:18 AM
waynes ear's
Default Re: Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!

did tufty steal your login?
Unread 03-03-2010, 09:20 AM
Default Re: Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!

No mate, just saw it reading The Sun online and thought others would want to read it.
Unread 03-03-2010, 09:38 AM
waynes ear's
Default Re: Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!

prepare for flak. Top reds dont read the sun

Unread 03-03-2010, 09:41 AM
Default Re: Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!

Originally Posted by waynes ear's
prepare for flak. Top reds dont read the sun

Neither do I, intentionally, anyway. I saw it on the 'papers' this morning on SSN before coming to work so fancied a quick butchers.
Unread 03-03-2010, 10:31 AM
MUFC One Love
Default Re: Red Knights. More like Red Dwarves!

It will probably happen now then if the papers are writing the idea off etc.
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