Red Knights reveal United intentions
Sickened by the huge amount of debt the Glazers' took on to complete their controversial takeover in 2005, the Red Knights are intent on launching a takeover bid. Described as a group of "high net worth individuals", the Red Knights include Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs and a one-time friend of Sir Alex Ferguson. Although plans are at a very early stage and no contact has been made with the Glazers, who have always stressed they are not interested in a deal, a meeting in London on Monday between the key individuals involved in the Red Knights project went through various scenarios and will now look at formulating a plan to raise in excess of £1billion. "We can confirm that a group of high net worth individuals, who support Manchester United (known as the "Red Knights"), met in London yesterday," a statement released on behalf of the Red Knights read. "This group is supportive of current management but are looking at the feasibility of putting together a proposal to be put to the Glazer family regarding the ownership of Manchester United. "These discussions are in early stages and no contact has been made with the Glazer family." Leading football deal-maker Keith Harris is also involved and has previously suggested some kind of boycott may be required to reduce United's current profits and wreck the Glazers' present business plan. There is certainly a groundswell of opinion against the Glazers and the current "Green and Gold campaign" so in evidence at Wembley on Sunday has proved incredibly popular. As a starting measure, the Red Knights are urging supporters to join the Manchester United Supporters Trust, which has been vehemently opposed to the Glazers from day one. "For such a proposal to be viable it would require the involvement and support of Manchester United supporters worldwide," the statement continued. "The Red Knights have been liaising with the Manchester United Supporters Trust and their representatives attended yesterday's meeting. "As a first step, the Red Knights want supporters to demonstrate their commitment by joining the free online membership of the Supporters Trust, www.joinmust.org. "Any new ownership model would aim not only to put the club on a sound financial footing, but would also aim to put the supporters at the heart of everything the club does." Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of MUST, welcomed Tuesday's news. He said: "I can confirm that we were present at the 'secret' meeting of the Red Knight Group yesterday and have been involved in discussions for some time. "This development is hugely welcome as there is a genuine desire to see a change of ownership at Manchester United. "Initially the Red Knight Group has effectively set a challenge to Manchester United supporters to demonstrate they wish to see an alternative ownership proposal developed. "In the first instance supporters are being asked to do this simply by joining the free online membership of the Supporters Trust (MUST) and swelling its ranks to an initial target of at least 100,000. "It is also essential for a majority of two key groups, the Old Trafford season ticket holders and those with executive facilities, to show their appetite for participation by joining the MUST online campaign."