United's Glazers sink to a new low with only 4% of fans backing them

Just 4% of Man United fans back the Glazers – the worst rating in the Premier League – as our poll finds Man City’s Sheikh Mansour the ‘most damaging’… but where does your owner rank?

  • Survey was taken by more than 100,000 fans of the 20 Premier League clubs
  • Manchester United’s he Glazers attracted the least support of any set of owners 
  • Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour was voted most damaging to football health

Manchester United’s owners have earned an approval rating of just four per cent from the club’s fans.

In a survey of more than 100,000 fans of the 20 Premier League clubs, the Glazers attracted the least support of any set of owners.

The figure of four per cent of fans who felt the Americans were doing a good job was lower even than Mike Ashley’s approval rating among Newcastle supporters.

The Glazers were voted the worst football club owners by the fans following the survey

Only 10.8 per cent of fans approved of Ashley’s reign, with most of those citing his financial prudence. A huge majority felt he was a terrible owner and were happy to see him replaced by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, last year.

The shockingly low approval for the Glazer family’s near 17 years in control at Old Trafford is a damning assessment. Supporters criticised the owners for taking ‘vast sums’ of money out of the club, poor recruitment of managers and players and their overall strategy.

The verdict comes despite United winning the Champions League, five Premier League titles, a Europa League trophy, an FA Cup and four League Cups during their reign.

They have also set transfer records, signing four of the 17 most expensive players in history Paul Pogba (for a world record fee), Harry Maguire (still the world’s most expensive defender), Romelu Lukaku and Jadon Sancho.

After the Glazers and Ashley, Everton’s Farhad Moshiri is the next worst-rated owner with an approval rating of just 14 per cent. Matthew Benham, at Brentford, has the highest approval rating among fans at 98.8 per cent. 

Fans criticised them for poor recruitment of managers and players and their overall strategy

Club chief executive Jon Varney told the MoS: ‘Matthew has been an exemplary owner. He is a committed, lifelong fan of the club, we are prepared to do things differently, taking calculated risks in the hope it will give us an edge.’

Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour was voted the Premier League owner most damaging to the health of football, gaining almost 32 per cent of votes.

Newcastle’s new owners came second with more than 18 per cent, followed by the Glazers (18 per cent) and Chelsea’s outgoing Roman Abramovich (nearly 13 per cent).

City have won five of the last 10 titles and three of the last four. They have also become the richest club in the world by revenue, with their £571.1million income in 2020-21 leapfrogging Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool.

City have been mired in financial controversies though during Sheikh Mansour’s reign, including twice being sanctioned by UEFA over Financial Fair Play.

They remain under investigation by the Premier League over undisclosed alleged domestic FFP infringements. That probe is about to enter a fourth year. 

Brentford – Approval rating 98.8%

Brentford owner Matthew Benham has been hailed by fans for their Premier League promotion

Brentford Owner: Matthew Benham, 53, British   

In control since: 2009 

Average league position: 37 

Ave league position in five years before: 63 

Ave net transfer spend: -£5.8m (ie: £5.8m avg profit) 

Ave wage bill: £21.4m 

Net debt: £74m 

Controversies: None 

Achievements: Promotion to PL (2021), first time in top division since 1947; move to new 17,250-seat stadium (2020) 

Consensus fan view: ‘He’s a Brentford fan. Focused. Plan from day one, carried it out. Learned from mistakes. Kept within means. Created a self-sufficient club.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Failure to seize opportunity of staying in the PL by making worthwhile signings while actively loaning out depth leaving us with little to no back-up.’

Brighton – 98%

Brighton Owner: Tony Bloom, 52, British 

In control since: 2009 

Average league position: 29 

Ave league position in five years before: 55 

Ave net transfer spend: £16.8m 

Ave wage bill: £53.6m 

Net debt: £296m 

Controversies: None 

Achievements: New stadium (2011); Promotion to the PL for the first time (2017) 

Consensus fan view: ‘He’s a fan and he cares … the whole club, top to bottom, is run entirely professionally; he’s financially prudent, and we have a sensible wage structure; his investments in the new stadium and training facilities are now paying off with team performance … in summary we’ve gone from near extinction to top half of PL.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Debt and one-man ownership does not guarantee stability.’ 

Leeds – 98.3%

Andrea Radrizzani of Leeds have been notorious for hiring and firing managers at the club

Owner: Andrea Radrizzani, 47, Italian 

In control since: 2017

Average league position: 18 

Ave league position in five years before: 33 

Ave net transfer spend: £27m 

Ave wage bill: £70.6m 

Net debt: £49m 

Controversies: Marcelo Bielsa ‘spygate’ episode 

Achievements: Buying back Elland Road. 

Return to PL after 16 years 

Consensus fan view: ‘He brought us Bielsa … also impressive is the rebuilding of our youth ranks, the speed at which a rookie owner has taken Leeds to success, by gaining promotion, securing our place in the Premier League and retaining key players. Restoration of pride … he is the best owner we have had for years. He appears committed and long may this last.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Insufficient investment.’ 

Aston Villa – 98.3%

Aston Villa Owner: Nassef Sawiris, 61, Egyptian; and Wes Edens, 60, American 

In control since: 2018

Average league position: 18 

Ave league position in five years before: 22 

Ave net transfer spend: £61.3m 

Ave wage bill 2018: £11.5m 

Net debt: £35m 

Controversies: None 

Achievements: Overseeing the return of Villa to the Premier League in first season. 

Consensus fan view: ‘Significant turnaround in very short space of time. Investment in playing squad, academy and club infrastructure. Lots of fan engagement and clear communication from the CEO; they saved us and they have ambition to restore former glory and aren’t satisfied with circling the drain.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Spending lots of money but concerns over Steven Gerrard as a top-class manager.’

Leicester City – 97.9%

Leicester’s Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha is a fan favourite at the King Power Stadium

Owner: Srivaddhanaprabha family, headed by Aiyawatt, 36, Thai 

In control since: 2010 

Average league position: 15

Ave league position in five years before: 37 

Ave net transfer spend: £20.1m 

Ave wage bill: £99.7m 

Net debt: £123m 

Controversies: Paid £3.1m to settle EFL FFP infringement in 2013-14 

Achievements: 1 PL title, 1 FA Cup Consensus fan view: ‘Since they took over, we have skyrocketed to heights many thought were impossible. They have given hope and joy to thousands and contributed greatly to the community of the city; the football has been, at times, miraculous, and on a weekly basis they look after the fans.’ 

Detractor view: ‘I’m deeply uncomfortable about their links to a human-rights abusing regime in Thailand.’ 

Crystal Palace – 95.7%

Owner: Steve Parish, 56, British 

In control since: 2010 

Average league position: 19 

Ave league position in five years before: 32 

Ave net transfer spend: £14.7m 

Ave wage bill: £88.8m 

Net debt: £22m 

Controversies: None 

Achievements: Have maintained their Premier League status for nine years. 

Consensus fan view: ‘He’s overseen an unprecedented era of success in the Premier League while maintaining roots in the local community … we have a young, exciting squad which has potential for years to come. He hasn’t overspent during transfer windows; he’s investing in the academy and the stadium … never known the club this stable. As a Palace fan I’m used to lurching from one crisis to the next.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Steve’s views on the Crouch Report are disappointing.’

Chelsea – 92.5%

Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government

Owner: Roman Abramovich, 55, Russian 

In control since: 2003 

Average league position: 3 

Ave league position in five years before: 4.8 

Ave net transfer spend: £68.2m 

Ave wage bill 2003: £236.m 

Net debt: £1.27bn 

Controversies: Super League (2021); Abramovich sanctioned over Putin (2022) 

Achievements: 2 Champions League wins, 5 PL titles, 2 Europa Leagues, 5 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 Club World Cup 

Consensus fan view: ‘Consistent success building a Chelsea community; not just a first-class men’s team, but women‘s team, academy, training ground and charitable work.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Short-termism from the start led to a lack of stability for managers and players. High ticket prices prevent many going to games. Lack of redevelopment of facilities a concern.’

Wolves – 92.4%

Owner: Fosun, headed by Guo Guangchang, 55, Chinese 

In control since: 2016 

Average league position: 17 

Ave league position in five years before: 40 

Ave net transfer spend: £38.3m 

Ave wage bill: £80.3m 

Net debt: £209m 

Controversies: None Achievements: 1 Championship title. 

Consensus fan view: ‘The relative position from before they took over to where we are now speaks for itself. They have also facilitated me seeing the best players I have ever seen playing for the club; prudent financial management, innovative revenue growth streams, backing of youth and player development.’ 

Detractor view: ‘I wish we didn’t have the link with Jorge Mendes [Fosun own part of Mendes’ football agency]; there are some doubts creeping in over a number of lacklustre transfer windows in a row.’

Man City – 90.5%

Owner: Sheik Mansour, 51, UAE 

In control since: 2008 

Average league position: 2.77 

Ave league position in five years before: 12 

Ave net transfer spend: £115.6m 

Ave wage bill: £269.5m 

Net debt: £54.3m 

Controversies: Sanctioned twice by UEFA for FFP non-compliance (2014, 2022); ongoing 3-year investigation by PL for FFP infringements; joined European Super League before withdrawing (2021) 

Achievements: 5 PL titles, 2 FA Cups, 6 League Cups 

Consensus fan view: ‘Long-term strategy, clear goals, excellence in everything, from juniors to women to first team; regeneration of east Manchester.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Most realise we haven’t obeyed FFP, that’s why everyone hates us. Like to have done it without breaking the rules. But trophies!’ 

Manchester City’s Sheik Mansour is bad for football health, according to the fans who voted

Liverpool – 88.6%

Owner: FSG headed by John Henry, 72, American 

In control since: 2010 

Average league position: 4.6 

Ave league position in five years before: 3.8 

Ave net transfer spend: £49.8m 

Ave wage bill: £245.7m 

Net debt: £114m 

Controversies: John Henry’s central role in both Project Big Picture (2020) and European Super League (2021) 

Achievements: 1 Champions League win, 1 PL title, 2 League Cups 

Consensus fan view: ‘Took the club from a financial mess to European and PL champions. Hiring Jurgen Klopp was a masterstroke, owners have kept him happy … ongoing development of club infrastructure — stadium and training facilities — also positives.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Lack of owner communication. Not enough investment in the squad. Attempts to hike ticket prices and furlough staff not cool.

Liverpool’s John Henry came under scrutiny for his role in the European Super League scandal

Norwich – 83%

Owner: Delia Smith, 80, British 

In control since: 1996 

Average league position: 26 

Ave league position in five years before: 18 

Ave net transfer spend: £0m. 

Ave wage bill: £38.2m 

Net debt: £0m 

Controversies: None 

Achievements: Promoted to the PL four times. 

Consensus fan view: ‘Delia is not an oligarch or a nation state with a dubious human rights record, for starters. Has undoubted passion for the club, has put plenty of her own money in, but not gambled the future of the club; we have financial sustainability, competitiveness for our budget; we have no external debt, an excellent culture, and good academy investment … and good pies.’ 

Detractor view: ‘We’re a yo-yo club. Too good for the Championship, dreadful in Premier League.’

Tottenham – 76.3%

Owner: ENIC, majority owned by Joe Lewis, 85, British 

In control since: 2007 

Average league position: 5.2 

Ave league position in five years before: 8.6 

Ave net transfer spend: £22.7m 

Ave wage bill: £138.5m 

Net debt: £728m 

Controversies: Spurs involvement in European Super League (2021) 

Achievements: 1 League Cup, new stadium 

Consensus fan view: ‘Improvement in the infrastructure and not using helicopter money to do so. Upgrading the stadium and training ground without sacrificing what the club is; ENIC have taken us from outside the elite to in it.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Too much emphasis on business growth rather than winning trophies. Sacking a manager before a final for example; neglect of the footballing and scouting parts of the club.’

Watford – 69.8%

Owner: Gino Pozzo, 56, Italian 

In control since: 2012 

Average league position: 19 

Ave league position in five years before: 32 

Ave net transfer spend: £10.3m 

Ave wage bill: £69.7m 

Net debt: £147m Controversies: 

None Achievements: Promoted to the PL four times 

Consensus fan view: ‘He’s taken us from struggling in the Championship, with an occasional promotion, to Premier League regulars; aside from the Graham Taylor and Elton glory years, this is the most successful era we’ve had. Success had been redefined.’ 

Detractor view: ‘The constant manager merry-go-round needs to stop. The short-termism no longer has any effect on the players, it is expected. Need a new way of thinking and plan longer term; he sacks too many managers.’

Burnley – 69.8%

Owner: Alan Pace (chairman), 54, American 

In control since: 2020 

Average league position: 17 

Ave league position in five years before: 14 

Ave net transfer spend: £4m 

Ave wage bill 2020: £100m 

Net debt: £17m 

Controversies: Leveraged takeover 

Achievements: None 

Consensus fan view: ‘It’s early days but transparent with the fans, signed well where possible and understand importance of Dyche; they’re trying to address recruitment issues, supporting women’s football, and looking to modernise off-field management structures, and the stadium.’ 

Detractor view: ‘If they had insufficient money, and thus needed to leverage us to take us over, they shouldn’t have bought the club. They talk a good game but deliver nothing and put us in millions of debt.’

Southampton – 47.4%

Most recent ex-owner: Gao Jisheng, 70, Chinese, sold in January to Dragan Solak, 57, Serb In control: 2017-2021 

Average league position: 15 

Ave league position in five years before: 8.6 

Ave net transfer spend: £29m 

Ave wage bill: £119.5m 

Net debt: £48m 

Controversies: Cancelled shirt deal after shirts were on sale 

Achievements: None 

Consensus fan view: ‘No investment and never spoke to the fans bar via one interview with the FT. Allowed things to stagnate. We would have gone down had we not had a good manager and club staff.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Didn’t take money out of the club and/or overly disrupt the management team he had in place. Things could have been a lot worse given his situation in the end.’

Arsenal – 30.3%

American Stan Kroenke faced the raft of supporters after taking the club private in 2018

Owner: Stan Kroenke, 74, American 

In control since: 2011 

Average league position: 4.8 

Ave league position in five years before: 3.6 

Ave net transfer spend: £61.7m Ave wage bill: £222m Net debt: £200m 

Controversies: Taking club private (2018); European Super League (2021); sponsorship deal with Visit Rwanda, despite ruling regime’s human-rights issues. 

Achievements: 4 FA Cups 

Consensus fan view: ‘The club’s status has steadily declined with the Kroenkes. From title contenders to Champions League regulars to Europa League team; he sees the club as a business commodity; lack of culture, lack of passion and personal interest. Also lack of investment.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Doesn’t interfere. He lets the people he employs get on with their jobs and they rise and fall on their own decisions.’

West Ham – 15.1%

Owner: David Sullivan and David Gold, 73 & 85, British. Sold 27 per cent in November to Daniel Kretinsky, 46, Czech.

In control since: 2010 

Average league position: 13 

Ave league position in five years before: 12 

Ave net transfer spend: £31.7m 

Ave wage bill 2010: £101.7m 

Net debt: £199m 

Controversies: Unpopular stadium move 

Achievements: None 

Consensus fan view: ‘Unpopular stadium move. The way they act in the press and publicly, paying themselves interest on loans (and declaring they had to when it was proven they didn’t). The awful stadium itself and the experience, poor investment.’ 

Detractor view: ‘I’m not 100% on this, but to compete it was correct to move stadium. I have a problem with use of agents and don’t trust the financial plan.’

Everton – 14.2%

Farhad Moshiri is knowing for hiring and firing, with Everton having six managers in six years

Owner: Farhad Moshiri, 66, British Iranian 

In control since: 2016

Average league position: 9 Ave league position in five years before: 8 

Ave net transfer spend: £47.3m 

Ave wage bill: £158.8m 

Net debt: £34m 

Controversies: The opaque relationship between Moshiri and his associate Alisher Usmanov; Usmanov’s sanctioning for links to the Kremlin and subsequent loss of sponsorship 

Achievements: None 

Consensus fan view: ‘Six managers in six years highlights the lack of a long-term plan, leading to attempted quick fixes, then failure, repeatedly; he shows a lack of football knowledge, and his lack of leadership has led to wasteful spending.’ Detractor view: ‘He’s given us financial backing, and is funding our new stadium, which is hugely important.’

Newcastle – 10.9%

Owner: Saudi Arabian Public Investment fund bought from Mike Ashley last October 

Average league position: 14 

Ave league position in five years before: 8.4 

Ave net transfer spend: £14.8m 

Ave wage bill: £95.7m 

Net debt: £28m 

Controversies: Hated by fans 

Achievements: None 

Consensus fan view of previous owner Mike Ashley: ‘Lack of investment in the infrastructure of the club, leading to widespread perception that staying in the Premier League with minimum expenditure was his sole goal; the infrastructure was left to rot, from the stadium to the training ground; lack of communication … he appeared to dislike the fans and an had an antagonistic approach towards them, including renaming the stadium.’ 

Man United – 4.04% 

The Glazers are the most unpopular owners with just 4% of United supporters backing them

Owners: The Glazer family, led by Joel, 54, American 

In control since: 2005 

Average league position: 2.88 

Ave league position in five years before: 2.2 

Ave net transfer spend: £69.8m 

Ave wage bill: £242.8m 

Net debt: £566m 

Controversies: Leveraged takeover with high-risk, huge-interest loans (2005); Project Big Picture (2020); ESL (2021) 

Achievements: 1 Champions League win, 5 PL titles, 1 Europa League, 1 FA Cup, 4 League Cups 

Consensus fan view: ‘Rotten from top to bottom. No longer a football club but a merchandising vehicle. Bad decisions on players, managers, strategy. Taken vast sums out and let Old Trafford rot. Disgrace.’ 

Detractor view: ‘Spent money. Leeches, but not stingy like Arsenal and Spurs.’




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