A Manchester United fan group have written an open letter to the US private equity firm looking to buy shares in the club, warning them against a purchase.
Apollo have been in talks with the Red Devils owners, the Glazer family, over the prospect of buying a minority stake in the club.
Although sections of the Glazer family have been keen to sell their amid growing frustrations and protests from fans, co-owners Avram and Joe Glazer are unlikely to sell their shares and want to retain the day-to-day control of the Old Trafford outfit.
But despite the prospect of the Glazers, who have proven hugely unpopular among the United fanbase since their 2005 takeover, selling the club, United fans group BoycottGlazers have insisted the prospect of Apollo buying shares is not a welcome one.
The supporters group have written an open letter to the firm on Twitter urging them they are not welcome, citing links with the disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as well as links to fraud.
They also accuse the bid of ‘trying to kill’ a potential takeover from Sir Jim Ratcliffe who as Britain’s richest man and a self-confessed United supporter has admitted he would be interested in buying United and is likely to be a much more popular owner for fans.
The open letter says: ‘It has come to the attention of Manchester United supporters that your management group wishes to invest in our football club as the behest of the owners. Let us be blunt: much like reviled Glazer family, you are not welcome in Manchester. Do not invest.
Manchester United supporters have long been against the ownership of the Glazer family
‘Thanks to boycotts and protests, the Glazer ownership is now in its death throes. You will find no profit, no return on your investment, no lucrative carve up. For as long as the Glazer family owns our football club we will not only sustain but also increase our initiatives, and continue to depress the club’s revenue streams that prop up the hateful absentee owners. Supporters will no longer allow the club to be a piggy bank for unscrupulous owners, or an asset stripping exercise for notorious equity firms.
‘We say ‘notorious’ because it has come to light that Apollo’s founder Leon Black has a chequered past with disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, including financial aid that sustained his sexual predation lifestyle, not to mention allegations of rape and sexual assault by Black himself. We note too that your firm has had some rather unfortunate scandals regarding fraud.
‘We say this genuinely and respectfully: for the sake of your company, your subsidiaries, your assets, do not go near our club.
‘If you do, the biggest sports club supporter base in the world will do everything in our power to tarnish your reputation & and ensure it is synonymous with everything you hoped the world had forgotten.’
Leon Black left the Apollo group last year, with the equity firm in talks over buying United
The open letter, which was published on Twitter also contained a caption that tagged in the equity firm accusing them of trying to kill off a bid from Ratcliffe to buy the club outright.
In addition they urged fellow fans to respectfully email Apollo’s board of directors to warn them off investing into the Premier League giants.
In light of the allegations, Apollo released a statement back in January 2021 following an independent review in which they reported key findings reading: ‘Apollo never retained Epstein for any services and Epstein never invested in any Apollo-managed funds.
United fans have been concerned over Apollo’s past links with disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
‘Epstein regularly advised Mr. Black on trust and estate planning, tax issues, philanthropic endeavors, and the operation of his Family Office.
‘All fees paid to Mr. Epstein by Mr. Black or his Family Office were for bona fide tax, estate planning and other related services, and the amounts were intended to be proportional to the value provided by Mr. Epstein.
‘Epstein’s advice was vetted by respected professional advisors; and Dechert found no evidence that Mr. Black was involved in any way with Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities at any time.
‘The findings of the report are consistent with statements made by Mr. Black and Apollo regarding the prior relationship.’
In addition, in March last year Leon Black left the company to be succeeded as CEO and non-executive chairman of the board of directors by co-founder Marc Rowan and Jay Clayton.
Ratcliffe made a last-gasp bid to buy Chelsea for $4.25bn (£3.52bn) back in May and appears to have his sights on owning a football club.
Ineos revealed that company founder and Britain’s richest man has plans to buy the record Premier League holders after reacting to previous news regarding potential investment in the club.
Manchester United appear open to at least selling a minority of the club’s shares
Britain’s richest man and United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe has shown an interest in buying the club
‘If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,’ the spokesman told The Times.
‘If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership,’ the spokesman added.
Ineos then added that Ratcliffe would use investment to upgrade current infrastructure such as the deteriorating Old Trafford, stating there is a need to press the ‘reset’ button.
‘This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent.
‘Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.’
However, co-owners Avram (left) and Joel (right) Glazer do not wish to sell the club
United have started the season in terrible fashion and lost 4-0 at Brentford on Saturday
United are in crisis on the pitch with last weekend’s 4-0 defeat at Brentford leaving them bottom of the Premier League table amid their worst start to a campaign for 30 years.
It comes following a disastrous campaign where they could only scrap a sixth placed finish under turbulent reigns of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his interim successor Ralf Rangnick.
United’s next match comes in what is already looking like a crucial clash against bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday night at Old Trafford and supporters have already targeted the match to lead protests against the Glazer family.
Although the planned protests were set to go ahead before news of a potential United sale became public, the 1958 group were adamant fans should still come out in protest. They tweeted: ‘No complacency! This is not over!
‘It’s time to push hard to the finish line! Monday we expect large numbers. This is a chance for every United fan to be on the right side of history.
‘Do not let this pass! Time to unite and put all differences aside. Lets get our club back.’