Sign up to Miguel Delaney’s Reading the Game newsletter sent straight to your inbox for free
Sign up to Miguel’s Delaney’s free weekly newsletter
Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who fell in love with Manchester United at the age of 10, has pledged to restore the club to its former glories should his proposed takeover prove successful.
The chairman of Qatari bank QIB, formerly on the board of Credit Suisse, has indicated his offer would leave United debt-free, in contrast to the Glazer family’s controversial leveraged buy-out in 2003.
Educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Al Thani’s ‘Nine Two Foundation’ is a nod to the Class of 92 who were an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side which delivered two Champions League crowns as well as dominating domestic football.
His father Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani was Qatar’s Prime Minister between 2007 and 2013.
It is understood, though, there is no operational or legal link between Al Thani’s bid for United and Qatar Sports Investments, which owns French giants Paris St Germain.
Al Thani’s vision for the future pointed towards investment both on and off the pitch, not only with the teams, but the club’s training centre and wider infrastructure as well as improvements to the stadium and the surrounding communities.
Talk of further strengthening a squad which has shown improvement this season under Erik ten Hag will have been music to United fans’ ears.
However, prior to the Qatari announcement – and the possibility of a potential rival bid from Saudi Arabia – the club’s LGBTQ+ supporters’ group the Rainbow Devils raised “deep concern” regarding interest from nations where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Al Thani, though, is understood to have made clear that everyone remains welcome as his bid seeks to “place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more”.