The two high-publicity bids for Manchester United ownership have highlighted the 'depressing' nature of modern football club ownership, according to football writer Nooruddean Choudry.
The Glazers have put Manchester United up for sale, with an asking price of around £5 Billion. While there are reportedly five potential bids set to be put forward ahead of the 'soft' deadline of this Friday, two bids in particular have been well-publicised.
Jim Ratcliffe, who tried and failed to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich last year, has long been linked to the club that he claims he has supported since he was a child.
However, he will be up against a reported bid from the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. However, this reported bid is currently less than the £5 billion asking price, at £4 billion.
While neither bid sparks inspiration from Choudry, he believes there might be a lesser of two evils approach taken by United fans.
Overall, though, the two highly public reported bids highlight the issues with club ownership in football currently.
Manchester United fans 'twerking' for Jim Ratcliffe
Speaking on Off The Ball, Choudry expressed concerns over the support that Ratcliffe's proposed bid has received from Manchester United supporters.
"Jim Ratcliffe in particular seems to make a habit of being very public about what he's doing, without necessarily doing anything," Choudry said.
"I do find it very strange where you've got fans essentially twerking for a billionaire that they know very little about apart from the fact that he claims to support the club. He may well do, but they know nothing about what his plans are.
"There's a lot of talk about the Qatari bid... but really I don't see a good answer. In a world where, really, billionaires should not exist... they are comfortable spending that on a football club that is essentially either a plaything or something to squeeze revenue out of.
"It is kind of depressing all-round."
The problems with the bid from Qatar
While there is support for Ratcliffe's bid from Manchester United fans, there are also pockets of support that would welcome a cash injection akin to the likes of what Newcastle United and Manchester City received from their current owners.
However, the cash injections come with concerns of moral and ethical implications of being owned by nation states or owners linked with nation states, particularly states with poor human rights records such as Qatar.
"You'd love to think that your club is different, and your fans are different" Choudry said. "But I suspect there's not much difference between rival clubs and specific fanbases.
"I know Newcastle and Manchester City fans who don't subscribe to this need to defend their owners against any criticism, whether that's financial or that's moral or ethical. It will be the same for United.
"Lots of fans that are absolutely gleeful at the moment at the prospect of what this could mean in terms of getting [Kyllian] Mbappe and redoing the area around Old Trafford, but I know lots and lots of fans that are at best conflicted, and at worst utterly depressed about what this could mean.
"It's strange because, in a football sense, United haven't had it too good in terms of bragging rights. But, one thing we didn't have to face was the uncomfortable feeling of having owners who are essentially state ownership and all the ethical and moral problems that come with that.
"Although City, Newcastle and others may have benefitted on the pitch, off the pitch the fans have had to make their peace or remain conflicted about that.
"It's just depressing that now that's happening with Manchester United fans."
For Choudry, the current climate of football ownership shows a 'depressing' trend. As more and more clubs are on the receiving end of bids from the likes of Qatar, football fans will have to either live with the ethical questions, or force their clubs to reject these bids.
"It's just utterly depressing that football fans have to suddenly become experts in geopolitics and human rights situations," Choudry added.
"Really they just want to be part of their community of fans and part of the club they love."
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