In an interview with , Thomas Zilliacus explains his intentions to become the owner of Manchester United. The primary goal is for the supporters to get involved in the club’s decision-making.
Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus shuddered on Thursday by announcing his intentions to buy the English Premier League football club Manchester United.
Zilliacus wants to build an ownership base for the club, where his group of investors will finance half of the funds needed to own the club. The other half is to be collected through a new company to be established for this purpose, in which the club’s fans are expected to participate.
According to Zilliacus’s calculations, less than three dollars per fan is enough if all the club’s supporters can be mobilized.
– No decisions would be made without the majority of fans having accepted the decisions. This is how we return the ownership to the fans. According to research, there are 659 million Manchester United fans in the world, Zilliacus says.
– I believe that the Glazer family likes this approach and wants to go down in history as the family that returned the big club to the supporters, Zilliacus says.
Zilliacus decried in the published on Thursday in your announcement (you will switch to another service) a development where billionaire sheiks and oligarchs take over clubs and rule them as their personal playgrounds. In his opinion, such a development is not healthy.
– I believe that they would rather sell to a group that includes Manchester United fans than to some Middle Eastern sheik, who then considers the club as his own plaything.
“Let’s move forward on a fast schedule”
Thomas Zilliacus says their purchase offer was submitted on Wednesday. He believes that decision-making is proceeding at a brisk pace.
– My understanding is that we are proceeding with a fairly fast schedule here. I believe that detailed discussions will take place in the coming weeks. After that, decisions will be made, Zilliacus estimates.
Other buyer candidates for Manchester United include, for example, a British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe and a Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim. Zilliacus is hopeful that the offer he came up with will hold up in the bidding war.
– The Glazer family has more than enough money. I believe that from their point of view it would be nice to sell as long as they get a good price. We are ready to offer a good price for it, Zilliacus explains.
According to Zilliacus, Manchester United’s current market value is just under 3.9 billion US dollars, or about 3.6 billion euros. The American sports channel ESPN reported last year that the Glazers want to get a world record sum for sports clubs from Manchester United, if they make a deal.
In the media, the purchase price has been speculated to rise to over five billion euros.
Versatile sports background
59-year-old Zilliacus has been involved in sports since he was a little boy.
– I played football in HJK’s A-juniors and later in Granku IFK. I was in Brazil for a year in the youth academy of the then champion club Fluminense, Zilliacus returns to his youth.
After Brazil, he returned to his homeland.
– I was in the management of HJK, as the chairman of the club’s football division. Then I moved to Singapore and worked as Nokia’s regional director for Asia. The Singapore Football Association asked me to join, and in addition to my own work, I spent five years as a manager in Singapore’s champion team.
The background is also from hockey.
– Through my investment company, I was an owner in Helsinki Jokerit for many years, until Jokerit and the Helsinki arena were sold, was it now in 2014, Zilliacus recalls.
Thomas Zilliacus was interviewed by Svante Thilman.