Michael Knighton – the man who almost once bought Manchester United – claims he has a ‘new blueprint’ that would take the club to another ‘financial plain’.
Knighton infamously juggled a football on the Old Trafford pitch on the opening day of the 1989/90 season against champions Arsenal – the entrepreneur wearing full training kit as he smashed the ball into the goal at the Stretford end.
However, Knighton never completed his deal, instead settling for a place on the board; but maintains much of his ‘blueprint’ was implemented by the club as they became one of the biggest sports brands in the world in the 1990s with the financial power to boot.
Now, in an exclusive interview on the Patreon podcast of United author Wayne Barton (available through the Patreon link on the top menu), Knighton revealed that he has a brand new blueprint that could exploit the club’s commercial potential in the modern world.
“I have written a second blueprint, which I must tell you is more revolutionary than the first one I wrote,” Knighton says. “In my dotage I’ve always been busy. But because of my passion for the game I’ve written another blueprint based on commercial ideas and what should be happening.”
“I can reveal it doesn’t involve the breakup or breakaway of the wonderful football pyramid. On the contrary, it enhances it. The reason I say it’s more revolutionary is because back in 1989 all I was hearing was about how the revenue couldn’t be increased anymore than it had been. However I was so determined to prove people wrong and I did. There are so many things today in this digital world, this cultural shift we’re all living through where everything is digital… there are so many commercial initiatives that even big clubs aren’t doing. Manchester United in particular.”
“This is why I question Ed Woodward. They’re still not doing so many things that would shift them up to another plain, so long as that revenue is there for the benefit of the field of play, for the benefit of the fans.”
“Of course fans should be on the board. Without the fans the game doesn’t exist. We’ve watched the games being played without them. We watch it because we love the game but it’s just completely different, the fans are the key to the sport whether the powers that be like it or not. The fans should have representation on every football club board, football clubs are key community assets. They shouldn’t be the cash cow of distant owners as United have turned out to be.”
In the fascinating conversation, Knighton reveals at length his involvement in the summer spend of 1989, how close Alex Ferguson really came to the sack, as well as admitting that not only does he hold no regrets over the keepy-uppies, but he would do it all again.