Michael Knighton has acknowledged that the primary goal of his takeover bid for Manchester United is to “smoke out” a competing proposal from the significantly wealthier Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Knighton made his plans to lead a consortium, which he claims is backed by “good finance,” public last week. His goal is to present the Glazer family with a hostile takeover offer.
However, he has now acknowledged that even if the takeover is successful, his group would not have all the resources to invest as new owners would need to.
The 70-year-old retired businessman famously tried to purchase United from former chairman Martin Edwards back in 1989. He was last involved in football in 2002 as the owner of Carlisle as they entered voluntary administration.
He even made an entrance in front of the crowd by parading around the Old Trafford pitch while juggling a ball after his £20 million offer was accepted. The deal, however, fell through when his backers withdrew, and Knighton ultimately decided to settle for a position on the United board.
Knighton is a fervent supporter of United and has expressed his desire to see the Glazer ownership end in new comments. He went on to say that he has been in talks with “small-time billionaires” since the spring, calling them this time his backers.
“They are small-time billionaires that I have been speaking to for three to four months now,” Knighton said of his consortium’s make-up to ITV News.
“When I was approached by some fan groups, oddly enough, saying ‘look, our club is dying on its feet, would you please do something?’ I made a few phone calls and I’ve been pulling this consortium together ever since.”