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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Freddie Keighley

Ex-Liverpool chief explains FSG stance on sale and advantage new Man Utd owner will have

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton claims Fenway Sports Group will be a hard act to follow when it comes to finding "good owners" to take charge at Anfield.

In contrast, he claims that Manchester United fans will be so relieved to have new leaders at the helm that they will welcome whomever the Glazers sell up to. Liverpool and United, the two most successful teams in England, were put up for sale by their respective owners late last year.

FSG announced in November that it would "consider new shareholders" after 12-and-a-half years of successful ownership on Merseyside. Later that month, the Glazer family confirmed United were exploring "strategic alternatives", having taken over at Old Trafford in a controversial leveraged buyout in 2005.

United fans have grown increasingly furious with their club's owners in recent seasons due to dividend payments and the European Super League fiasco, as well as poor on-pitch results. These resentments have led to many protests, although things have been happier in recent months owing to the marked improvement the team has enjoyed under manager Erik ten Hag.

In contrast to recent disharmony at Old Trafford, Liverpool fans have watched their side crowned champions of Europe, England and the world over the last four years. FSG, led by John W. Henry, saved the Reds from financial chaos under George Gillett Jr. and Tom Hicks before overseeing a purple patch at Anfield.

Broughton was the chairman brought in to expedite the sale of the club to FSG, then New England Sports Ventures, in 2012 and is highly complimentary of Henry and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner. He believes it will be difficult for the American company to find "good owners" to sell to who supporters will accept, whereas the situation at the Red Devils is very different.

Avram and Joel Glazer are not nearly as popular among Manchester United fans as Fenway Sports Group is with Liverpool supporters (Getty Images)

Broughton told the Daily Telegraph: "I personally think John Henry and Tom Werner are not just very good owners, but keen to have a good legacy and want to make sure that we're passing it to good owners. In a sense, they had the benefit of taking over from people that the fans hated.

"So they had everything in their favour as long as they did what they said they were going to do, which the did – they had the following wind. They're a difficult act to follow. To be a better owner than Fenway is quite difficult. At United, it's more like the old Liverpool situation. Fans will be so pleased. Whoever buys it will have the following wind."

Reports earlier this week claimed United are the subject of interest from a group of Qatari investors. The Middle Eastern tycoons are expected to submit a formal bid for the club in days, rivalling Sir Jim Ratcliffe to take over at Old Trafford.

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