Premier League - United owner Malcolm Glazer dies

Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has passed away, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have confirmed.

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Malcolm Glazer (Reuters)

The Buccaneers, an NFL franchise he also owned, said Glazer was 85 years old, although his most widely listed date of birth is 25th of May 1928 which would have meant he turned 86 three days ago.

It was confirmed that New York-born Glazer had died on Wednesday morning. He had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and his sons have managed the operations of both teams.

"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the Glazer family tonight following the news that Malcolm Glazer has passed away. He was 85," the Premier League club said in a statement.

"Malcolm leaves behind his wife Linda, six children and 14 grandchildren. Staff at Manchester United extend deep and sincere condolences to them all at this difficult time."

His death is not expected to have any impact on the club, which remains 90% owned by his family.

Glazer made his fortune in real estate before diversifying into wider business interests and, latterly, sports teams.

He purchased the Buccaneers in 1995 and led what traditionally had been one of the weakest teams in the National Football League to its first Super Bowl championship eight years later.

"A dynamic business leader, Glazer helped mould the Buccaneers into a model franchise and one respected league-wide," the Buccaneers said in a statement on their website.

American entrepreneur Glazer and his six children took control of the English club in 2005 after a bitter takeover battle but have in the past been criticised by fans for saddling the club with too much debt, amid fears that it didn't have as much money as some rivals to compete to buy and retain top players.

Some fans were so angered by the family's involvement, coupled with the increasing commercialisation of the game, they forced FC United, who are now in the Northern Premier League and have started construction of their own stadium.

Many of those who remained wondered what fate would befall their club, believing the debt would be a major handicap in the transfer market and even raise the potential for United being unable to pay their bills.

Yet such apocalyptic fears failed to materialise.

Compared to many overseas owners, the Glazers have remained in the background and allowed the actual football team to function in line with the manager's wishes.

The result has been five Premier League titles in nine full seasons, plus three Champions League finals, one of which, against Chelsea in 2008, was won.

Some United supporters remained distrustful though. For others, the scars run so deep they will never be reconciled to the Glazer family's vision.

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