September 8, 2011 / 9:34 AM / in 6 years

Singapore IPO plans infuriate Man Utd fans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The sagging popularity of Manchester United’s American owners has touched a new low with the $1 billion flotation plan in Singapore that would consolidate the Glazer family’s control over the English Premier League giants.

Manchester United's Patrice Evra (R) celebrates with teammates as he lifts the trophy after defeating Aston Villa during the English League Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Sources have told Reuters the club plans to use a two-tier system of shares in Singapore.

This would minimise any new shareholders’ influence, something that clearly has not gone down well with fans at home.

“It is certainly disappointing,” Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of Manchester United Supporters Trust, told Reuters.

”Clearly the degree of control by one majority shareholder has to be a major concern for any conventional investor thinking of purchasing shares primarily seeking a return on investment.

Manchester United wants to raise cash to help reduce its near-$500 million debt pile but many of the club’s estimated 333 million global fans are sceptical of the Glazers who bought the club in 2005.

“We want to see the majority of the profits that Manchester United generates invested back into the football club,” said Drasdo.

“There are so many better uses for Manchester United’s profits than sending the money to Florida or into interest or debt payments on the Glazer’s debts which they transferred onto our club or indeed into excessive dividend payments resulting from an excessive valuation at IPO.”

Season ticket holder Paul Davidson was harsher in his criticism.

“They (the Glazers) will still control the purse strings and the political machinations,” the teacher said.

“In their defence they did spend a fair whack on those three players in the transfer window (Ashley Young, David de Gea and Phil Jones) which has gone some way to suggesting they have put cash into the team on the odd occasion... but I‘m still very sceptical about it all,” he added.

”I can’t help feeling there’s some sort of Machiavellian motive. I‘m not convinced it’s ultimately going to benefit the club.

”They (the Glazers)... don’t give a flying monkey’s about what people think.

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