Can you imagine what the chants from rival supporters would have been had Colonel Qaddafi actually owned Manchester United?
It seriously almost happened too. According to Mehmet Dalman, now Cardiff City Chairman, and the individual who brokered the Glazer family takeover of the club, it was a just “a whisker” or a “few hours” away from happening.
In 2004, Dalman was summoned to Libya to discuss the brutal dictator’s bid to purchase the club. Obviously, it wasn’t the former leader of Libya who bought John Magnier and JP McManus’ controlling interest, but it’s still stunning to think about just how close he came. Dalman told the Sunday Times:
“People don’t realize how the (takeover) deal was a whisker away from going to Libya. Gaddafi almost bought the club. That’s how close it got – literally, you’re talking about a few hours.”
“Seven or eight months ago we were about to buy shares in Manchester United. We kept it secret because I thought we were going to do it. But now it’s impossible. I told my father it would be like buying the Church of England. It’s very hard, maybe impossible because of the fans and the history, very difficult.”
“It’s a golden, golden, golden, golden club.”
Colonel Qaddafi was unable to agree on a price for Magnier and McManus’ 29.9% stake, which was eventually sold in May of 2005 to the Glazers. Qaddafi, was overthrown and killed in 2011, would instead purchase Italian football club Perugia.
Eventually the Glazers assumed total takeover, with a final purchase price for the club equalling almost £800 million.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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