May.29 - Malcolm Glazer was a divisive figure at Manchester United. While business strategies are unlikely to be affected, the former owner's death could prove a psychological milestone for a club craving change. Ivor Bennett reports.
He presided over one of the most successful eras in Manchester United's history. But Malcolm Glazer's death is unlikely to trigger an outpouring of grief from supporters. A controversial takeover made him an unpopular figure for many. Even former players took sides as the club's original colours became a banner of protest. Under Glazer, Manchester United went from the richest club in the world to the one most in debt. Exploiting the club's commercial clout staved off the feared financial collapse. But it may not be for long, says David Buik from Panmure Gordon. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID BUIK, MARKET COMMENTATOR, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "That franchise of being the biggest name in football is being challenged by Real Madrid, by Barcelona, by Chelsea, and Liverpool of course, and is not that far ahead of the game of everybody else. They need to retrace the franchise, because they need the income to stay ahead of everybody else." The owners of NFL outfit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazer family purchased United for nearly 800 million pounds in 2005. But it was a takeover largely funded by loans, plunging the club deep into debt. At the last count, 385 million pounds. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID BUIK, MARKET COMMENTATOR, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "It's ludicrous, and it's only because Manchester is such a big club, United, that they are in a position to service that debt. But it will be very closely watched by its bankers." For someone who never actually went to Old Trafford, Glazer has had an extraordinary impact on Manchester United. WIth his 90 percent stake being shared amongst his children, his legacy is likely to continue for some time yet.