LONDON, Nov 28 — Gary Neville has called on the Glazer family to ensure a “more pleasant exit” from Old Trafford should they sell Manchester United by engaging with the club’s supporters over potential new owners.
The US-based Glazers said earlier this week they were prepared to sell the club, potentially bringing down the curtain on an acrimonious 17 years in charge.
The Glazers have been unpopular with supporters ever since a £790 million (RM4.1 billion) leveraged takeover in 2005 burdened the club with huge debts.
Frustration towards the Americans has only grown during a nine-year decline in results on the pitch since Alex Ferguson’s retirement as manager in 2013.
The Red Devils have not won the Premier League title since Ferguson’s final campaign in 2012/2013 and have failed to win any trophy since 2017.
United currently sit fifth in the Premier League, 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.
Former United and England defender turned football pundit Neville told Sky Sports on Sunday: “The Glazer family will never get a great exit from Manchester United, but they could have a more pleasant exit if they do it right.
“Over the next couple of months, I’d like to see them engage properly with the fans about who is going to take over the club.”
Neville, who spent his entire senior playing career of nearly 20 years at United, added the Glazers did not have the cash to compete with Europe’s leading clubs.
“I’ve been saying for six months that the Glazers would have to sell or part-sell,” he said. “There is a need for equity and cash in the club, just for the investment they’re going to have to put into the stadium, the training ground and the sporting project.
“They haven’t got enough money.”
Analysts have valued United at £5 billion ($6 billion).
British billionaire and United fan Jim Ratcliffe is seen as a front runner to buy the club, while Saudi Arabia sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has said the Gulf state would back a private bid.
Neville, however, warned: “Manchester United can’t be handing over to an owner that basically screams against what the club stands for or what the club wants.
“So there are manifesto pledges that I think are really important — like the fan voice, the fan experience, and maybe even positions for fans on the board.” — AFP