Manchester

Manchester United's Glazer family threats probed by FBI

Malcolm Glazer Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Glazer was the target of malicious phone calls at the time of his 2005 takeover

The FBI investigated threats against Manchester United's late owner Malcolm Glazer and his family, newly released documents have revealed.

Threatening calls and emails were made to the billionaire, whose 2005 takeover of the club was fiercely opposed, according to Associated Press.

One threat involved a man with a British accent who made menacing calls saying he wished Mr Glazer was "dead".

No-one was charged as the source of the threats could not be identified.

The FBI released more than 120 pages of records, including details of the threats, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press news agency.

The papers show that on 12 May 2005 - the day Mr Glazer became the majority shareholder at Old Trafford - a man with a British accent called the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the American football franchise also owned by the Glazer family.

He ended the call by saying he wished Mr Glazer was dead.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Glazer's ownership of Manchester United was unpopular with a section of fans

A second call, made by a man identifying himself as a member of a supporters' group, warned that Mr Glazer's family would be in danger unless he backed down from his takeover bid.

In a third call, a man claiming to be the same caller said he knew people who "were ready to take action against Glazer".

The caller said: "I am giving you another warning" and set a deadline for Mr Glazer to abandon his takeover bid.

Manchester United and the Glazers

  • Malcolm Glazer, born in Rochester, New York, bought Manchester United in a £790m takeover completed in 2005
  • Mr Glazer suffered a stroke in April 2006, resulting in his sons Joel and Avram taking over the day-to-day running of the club
  • A group of fans and business leaders known as the Red Knights planned a takeover in 2010 but later backed out, reportedly claiming they would only pay a "sensible" price
  • Mr Glazer died on 28 May 2014, aged 85, leaving his sons to continue running the club
  • The Old Trafford-based club recorded a record revenue of £433.2m for the 2013-14 financial year, with profits of £23.8m
  • Next year's results are expected to be significantly smaller after the club failed to qualify for the Champions League during the 2013-14 season

Glazer, who never actually set foot inside Old Trafford, gradually bought out United shareholders between 2003 and 2005 before launching a £790m takeover largely funded by loans secured against the club's assets.

At the time, many Manchester United supporters opposed foreign ownership, and launched protests, fearing the businessman could sell off the stadium, raise prices and saddle the club with debt.

Greater Manchester Police also investigated alleged threats made against the American, who died in May aged 85, but no-one was charged.

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