Manchester United Class of '92 stars 'will buy the club one day'

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Monday, September 4, 2017

David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and other stars of Manchester United's legendary Class of '92 will want to take over the club one day, and they'll have the financial clout to do so.

That's according to John-Paul O'Neill, who played a leading the role in the foundation of breakaway club FC United 12 years ago in protest at the current Old Trafford owners, the Glazers.

O'Neill was one of the United fans who broke away and started their own non-league venture following the Glazers' takeover in 2005, which saddled United with huge debt and led to mass protests.

Although those protests have since died down, O'Neill reckons the Glazers will one day give way to a new set of owners - one which will certainly have the backing of the majority of Old Trafford fans.

Beckham, Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and his brother Phil came through the United youth team together at the start of the 1990s before forming the core of the club's treble-winning team of 1999. All but Beckham are now directly involved in running local non-league club Salford City, and according to O'Neill they'll be desperate to come back as owners of United one day.

“I honestly think that the Class of '92 have got their sights fixed on owning United one day,” O'Neill, who has written a book about FC United, told The Mirror.

“I am sure they would deny it at the moment – but it really does make sense when you put all the pieces together.

“The Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have taken over a small non-league club in Salford City and are now finding out what it is like to run a football club from a practical point of view. Why? Is Salford City really the summit of their ambitions as football club owners?

“They are obviously on a much smaller scale than United, but going in at that level is giving the Class of ’92 a really practical education in football club ownership."

Beckham, the most famous member of the Class of '92,  is now based in America and has stayed out of the Salford City venture. However O'Neill says he will "get on-board" if the opportunity arises to manage United.

The Glazers, who remain adamant they have no plans to sell United, have turned the club into one of the world's biggest sports brands, meaning any takeover would be hugely expensive.

But O'Neill says "when you look closely you will see they have got some huge financial backers.

“Most people are aware that Valencia owner Peter Lim has invested heavily in Salford City. But Lim is small-time compared to some of the Chinese investors who have been helping Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs buy up huge swathes of Manchester city centre for redevelopment.

“Even if Manchester United are now worth between £2-3bn, I don’t think buying the club would be a problem for the kind of investors that they are now doing business with."