Dyke urges United to resist 'risk' of Glazer bid

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The Independent Football

Malcolm Glazer will "endanger the very existence" of Manchester United if he succeeds in his efforts to buy the club. That was the claim made by Greg Dyke, a former member of the Old Trafford board.

Malcolm Glazer will "endanger the very existence" of Manchester United if he succeeds in his efforts to buy the club. That was the claim made by Greg Dyke, a former member of the Old Trafford board.

Glazer is this week expected to launch a restructured £800m bid to take control of the Premiership club after the United plc board formally rejected the American's previous approach in February because of the large debt it would impose on the club.

Dyke, who was a director of the club when Rupert Murdoch mounted an unsuccessful takeover bid in 1998, has warned against Glazer's intervention, insisting the likely structure of the businessman's bid would expose the club to the same financial dangers that plunged Leeds United into crisis.

"Manchester United has not borrowed piles of money. It has built a stadium and a team out of its annual cashflows, not hocked itself to the bank like almost every other club has done," said the former BBC director general.

"Glazer will endanger the very existence of the club if it has a few fallow years. The profits will disappear overnight, for example, if the club does not qualify for the Champions' League."

Supporters groups opposed to the takeover have expressed fears that Glazer's plans would result in higher ticket prices and possibly even lead to the sale of the club's Old Trafford stadium. Dyke urged David Gill, the club's chief executive, and his fellow directors to do all they can to resist any further bids from the American.

"I agree with the current board and most of the fans when they express real concerns about Malcolm Glazer's potential bid for the company," said Dyke. "The only way he can afford it is by taking on a massive amount of debt. Fans and the board have asked if it is a business that can carry huge debts. My answer is no. The risk is too great.

"I cannot believe that the law says the board should sell the business if Glazer bids a high enough price. If that's what the law says, it's an ass. It means Manchester United could become the next Leeds United. It's not in the best interests of football, Manchester or the club.

"Perhaps what we are learning from this experience is that football clubs are not suited to being public companies in the first place."

Ryan Giggs has not given up hope of recovering from a hamstring strain ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Newcastle United. The winger picked up the injury against Blackburn on 2 April and missed the embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Norwich City last Saturday.

"If all goes to plan I will start training some time during the week," Giggs said. "If there are no setbacks we will see what happens, but at this stage I honestly don't know if I'll make it."

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