Thomas Zilliacus, a bidder for Manchester United, believes that the best way forward for the club is for it to have three owners. Zilliacus has tabled his own bid but would prefer to join forces with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe in a three-way push for the club. The founder and chairman of investment company Mobile FutureWorks believes that this would avoid the Glazers benefitting further financially from a bidding war and leave extra billions left over to invest in the club. Zilliacus believes that a club run by three different owners could work if there is good communication and agreement on decisions. He initially came up with an idea to have the worldwide United fan base buy half the club but now seems to be doubling down on that. He wants fans to feel like they are part of the club and have a greater say in the decision-making process.
Zilliacus admits that he does not have the personal wealth of the other two bidders but can get his hands on the money to complete a takeover on his own or in a triumvirate. He believes that parties sitting on way more than £5bn are looking for new investment opportunities. Zilliacus’ love for the club goes back to 1965 when as an 11-year-old he went to see United play HJK at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki in a European Cup pre-qualifier which the Red Devils won 3-2. He was chairman of HJK between 1982-83 and played Liverpool in his first season at the helm in a European Cup tie. When he moved to Singapore as Nokia’s Chairman of Asian Operations he also became involved with champions Geylang International.
Zilliacus is yet to actually go to Old Trafford let alone know where the leaky roof needs patching up. He watches all the time on TV from afar and wants his next step to be into the Directors Box with the Glazers gone. Whether that is on his own or with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim remains to be seen. Zilliacus insists he is serious and this isn’t a publicity stunt.