New Man Utd bidder Thomas Zilliacus makes public appeal to Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe
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Finnish businessman Thomas Zilliacus has expressed his desire to team up, or in his words "join forces", with Manchester United bidders Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The 69-year-old, who is the chairman and founder of investment company Mobile FutureWorks, has been a fan of Manchester United since 1965, when he watched the club come up against Finnish side HJK Helsinki in a European Cup pre-qualifier.
Zilliacus was the former chairman of 32-time Finnish champions HJK and is currently an owner of Finland's six-time ice hockey champions Jokerit.
In terms of his support of United, the former Nokia executive has never visited Old Trafford but claims to follow the club on TV on a regular basis.
In fact, amid the ongoing takeover talk, Zilliacus confirmed on Thursday that he has submitted a bid for the Premier League outfit.
When discussing his offer, Zilliacus said he plans to introduce a form of fan ownership at United if his bid is successful, allowing supporters an equal say in the running of the club via an app.
"Any sport club ultimately should belong to its fans. The current development, where billionaire sheiks and oligarchs take over clubs and control them as their personal playgrounds is not a healthy trend," he said.
"The current market value of the club is just under $3.9bn (£3.17bn). That means that if every one of the fans of the club would join in buying the club, the total sum per fan would amount to less than 6 dollars. My bid is built on equality with the fans.
"My group will finance half of the sum needed to take over the club, and will ask the fans, through a new company that is being set up for this specific purpose, to participate for the other half."
He added: "If every fan joins it means less than 3 dollars per fan. Each fan who joins will have access to an app which the fan, from anywhere in the world, can use to participate and cast his vote when deciding on footballing matters relating to the club.
"No decisions will be taken that are not supported by a majority of the fan base."
Zilliacus also took to Twitter on Thursday, saying: "I have put in a bid to buy Manchester United together with the fans, who will have equal say on all sporting matters. No more sheiks and oligarks controlling football."
But a day later, Zilliacus has insisted that a split ownership with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who are set to submit improved offers in the second-round of bids, is the way forward.
“It’s crazy that they walk away with £1 or £2 billion more than what the club is worth because we are out-bidding each other!” 💰#mufc bidder Thomas Zilliacus on potential shared ownership and how it benefits all parties involved. pic.twitter.com/ZIHoTxh0dY— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) March 24, 2023
He took to Twitter again on Friday morning, saying: "I have this morning made a public appeal to my main rivals Sir Jim Ratcliffe and sheik Jassim to join forces with me to buy Manchester United together.
"By doing do we can focus on the good of the club instead of throwing away money in a mad rush to outbid each other."
Four hours after the above tweet and Zilliacus took to social media again. "Some things never change," he said .
"People who never have done anything cannot stand it when someone tries something new and big. Their reaction is to focus on finding faults and reasons for why it will fail.
"As Morgan Freeman said; the key to happiness is to avoid being around idiots."
Zilliacus says he reached out to both of the main competitors – Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe – on Friday.
The Glazers, meanwhile, are believed to be seeking £6 billion for the club, which would be a world-record fee for a sports team if paid.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Alamy
Topics: Manchester United, Premier League