Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has died, his NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced.
Glazer controversially became owner of United in May 2005 and his tenure was an uneasy one, with many fans unhappy at the level of debt his takeover had put on the club, who have largely continued to prosper ever since.
The Buccaneers announced on their official website: “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are saddened to announce the passing of owner/president Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning at the age of 85.”
It is understood Glazer’s death will not have any significant effect on the ownership of the Barclays Premier League club, with the family retaining a 90 per cent share.
A spokesperson for the Old Trafford outfit said: “The thoughts of everyone at United are with the family tonight.”
Tampa Bay paid tribute to New York-born Glazer as a “pioneering thinker” and a “dynamic business leader”, with the club achieving seven play-off berths, five play-off victories and their only Super Bowl triumph 12 years ago following his takeover in 1995.
He came to attention on these shores with his acquisition of United nine years ago, using loans against the club’s assets to finance his takeover, which totalled almost £800million.
United had previously been a debt-free club and it was Glazer’s means that brought the ire of a number of supporters, although the club have continued to enjoy plenty of good times on the pitch - including five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the 2007/08 Champions League.
Born in Rochester, New York as one of seven children, Glazer took over his family business at the age of 15 following the death of his father and went on to thrive in professional business, owning or becoming a substantial shareholder in a number of renowned public companies.
Glazer is survived by his wife Linda, six children - including United’s co-chairmen Joel and Avram - and 14 grandchildren.
The Buccaneers have announced a private family funeral service will be held in due course.