United fans will fight any bid by Glazer

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The Independent Online

Manchester United fans plan to fight what they call a "dirty war" if reports that Malcolm Glazer is seeking to take control turn out to be true.

Manchester United fans plan to fight what they call a "dirty war" if reports that Malcolm Glazer is seeking to take control turn out to be true.

The American billionaire's adviser Mehmet Dalman said Glazer, who currently owns a 19 per cent stake, is keen to own the club, either through further share purchases or board representation.

While there have been long-standing rumours that the owner of the American football franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers was keen to expand his sporting portfolio, the latest revelations are being treated seriously, by the fans at least.

No deal could be done without the involvement of John Magnier and JP McManus, who took their shareholding to 29 per cent earlier in the year but are not thought to be interested in a takeover. But the fans fear that Glazer would have to take on massive loans if he were to launch a bid and the interest, plus the American's personal profit, would come through increased ticket prices.

"We sent [Rupert] Murdoch packing and gave Magnier and McManus a bloody nose," said Jules Spencer, chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association. "If Glazer wants a fight, we will give him one. He is not welcome or wanted as the owner of United."

Supporters prevented Murdoch from taking control of the club when their opposition helped block the BSkyB bid in 1999 and were quick to air their views when it appeared Cubic Expression duo Magnier and McManus - who remain United's majority shareholders - were considering a takeover.

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