By Richard Martin
MANCHESTER, England – With INEOSCEO Jim Ratcliffe joining the race to buy Manchester United, fans of England’s most successful club are excited about a future free from the much derided Glazer family, who they have protested against since the Americans bought the club in 2005.
However, if recent incoming owners of Premier League clubs are anything to go by, supporters should brace themselves for more upheaval among the coaching staff and squad, just when things appear to be clicking on the pitch.
Confidence is flowing around Old Trafford after United beat local rivals and Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday for their ninth successive win in all competitions, the team’s longest run of victories since the days of Alex Ferguson.
Erik ten Hag, United’s sixth permanent manager since Ferguson left in 2013, has been one of the architects of the revival but would not necessarily be safe under new owners.
Installing a new manager swiftly after taking control of a club is a recurring theme across the Premier League, with incumbents rarely lasting much longer than a year.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly sacked Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel little more than three months after completing his takeover of the London club last year.
The U.S. tycoon has spent 445 million pounds ($550.64 million) on players but his team are currently floundering in 10th place under Tuchel’s successor Graham Potter.
Newcastle United’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium were even more ruthless when they took over the north-east club in 2021, sacking Steve Bruce 13 days later.
Successor Eddie Howe, backed by more than 200 million pounds in transfer spending, has been a roaring success, taking the team into third place in the table.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, who put their club up for sale last year, sacked Roy Hodgson three months after taking control in 2010 and appointed two more managers before landing on Juergen Klopp, who has been in charge since 2015.
But it took the Merseyside club’s owners almost a decade to land the team’s first Premier League title in 2020.
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke gave newly-appointed coach Unai Emery time when he assumed full ownership of the London club in September 2018 but sacked the Spaniard in November 2019.
Successor Mikel Arteta has taken Arsenal to the top of the league this campaign, his fourth at the helm, in a sign that success requires patience and a consistent strategy.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, by contrast, has got through seven managers in seven years and spent over 500 million pounds on players with little reward.
Frank Lampard’s struggling team face a second successive battle to avoid relegation and fans have been singing “sack the board” in recent matches.
United’s current owners have rarely meddled in the workings of the team and instead fans’ complaints with the Glazers centre around their leveraged buyout which loaded the club with debt, rising to 515 million pounds in September.
They also signed United up to the doomed European Super League in 2021, which led to fans storming Old Trafford before a match against Liverpool which was then postponed.
United’s next owners will be expected to plough even more money into the squad to compete with their big-spending rivals as well as overseeing the redevelopment of Old Trafford, which has not undergone any major work since 2006.
But fans only need look at United’s rivals to see that new ownership is far from a guarantee of instant success.
($1 = 0.8081 pounds)