Man Utd bidder Thomas Zilliacus calls on Qataris and Sir Jim Ratcliffe to join forces to seal £6billion takeover
MANCHESTER UNITED bidder Thomas Zilliacus insists a trio of owners is the best way forward for the club.
The Finnish entrepreneur has tabled a bid of his own but would prefer to link up with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe in a three way push for the club.
The founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks believes that would avoid the Glazers benefitting further financially from a bidding war and leave extra billions left over to invest in the club.
Zilliacus, 69, told SunSport: “A bidding war favours nobody except the Glazers.
“I have reached out to both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim to try and join forces and am waiting to hear back.
“I would have the capital to take over the club myself but I am not in this for an ego trip.
“I strongly believe that this way we can agree on a sensible price, as I believe £6billion is too high.
“Then the extra billions each of us would have spent on a single bid can be used to invest in the club.
“From the club and fans perspective it would be far better to have three dedicated owners with strong financial backing develop the club.”
But just how would a club run by three different owners work?
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Zilliacus who used to be Chairman of Finland’s top side HJK Helsinki insists it could.
He said: “When I was chairman we had eight or nine board members and we would discuss things and come to an agreement.
“I believe in communication and coming to the right decision for the benefit of the club.”
Zilliacus had initially come up with an idea to have the worldwide United fan base buy half the club but now seems to be doubling down on that.
He said: “I don’t want the fans to be giving a lot of money. I just want them to be in a situation where they feel they are part of the club.
“A situation where they have a greater say in the decision making process.”
He admits to not having the personal wealth of the other two bidders but can get his hands on the money to complete a takeover on his own or in a triumvirate.
A bidding war favours nobody except the Glazers. I have reached out to both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim to try and join forces and am waiting to hear back.
He said: “I am not as wealthy as Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim but I know parties sitting on way more than £5billion looking for new investment opportunities.
“I have spent my life building companies, financing them and have a network of connections.
“We have to wait and see what is the right number but I have no doubts about my capabilities to get the money paid.”
So what would he change at United under him?
He said: “I came into this process late so while I have made a bid I am still to receive full documentation about what would be needed to be spent on the ground and training ground for example.
“As far as what is happening on the pitch I think things are going in the right direction.
“It is exciting to watch the team again and Erik ten Hag is doing a great job.
“I would like to see him continue that with our full backing and create a team with young up and coming players and established professionals.”
‘My love for the club was born early’
Zilliacus’ love for the club goes back to 1965 when as an 11-year-old he went to see United play HJK at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki in a European Cup pre-qualifier which the Red Devils won 3-2.
He said: “I was just a small boy. I was watching all these amazing players like Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.
“So my love for the club was born early and has never faded.”
Villiacus was chairman of HJK between 1982-83, playing Liverpool in his first season at the helm in a European Cup tie.
They beat them as well, 1-0 at home before succumbing 5-0 at Anfield in the second-leg.
When he moved to Singapore as Nokia’s Chairman of Asian Operations he also became involved with champions Geylang International.
He claims he was manager between 1989-94 although a google search suggests it was Sabhash Singh and he was in fact the owner.
He said: “No I wasn’t the owner. I was the manager which probably tells you what level the league was at, at that time.
“I could take training because I would work during the day and take the training in the evening.”
He is yet to actually go to Old Trafford let alone know where the leaky roof needs patching up.
He watches all the time on TV from afar and wants his next step to be into the Directors Box with the hated Glazers gone.
Whether that is on his own or with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim remains to be seen.
But Zilliacus insists he is serious and this isn’t a publicity stunt.
Oh and that Twitter account in his name with just over 400 followers is indeed his own.
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