The battle between two of football’s biggest club could soon reach global proportions with reports that Manchester United are in talks to buy Central Coast Mariners.
Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning have linked the Red Devils with the Central Coast Mariners in a bid to purchase the club’s A-League license and move them from Gosford to the northern suburbs of Sydney.
Manchester United assistant coach Mike Phelan is already the Mariners’ Sporting Director, a post he has held since 2018.
Any purchase of the Mariners’ A-League license and plans to rebrand and move the club from its traditional home on the Central Coast would have to be approved by the majority of A-League clubs.
The move would be United’s first into foreign club ownership and would see them follow in the footsteps of their neighbours, Manchester City.
The City Football Group has a controlling stake in Melbourne City – which they purchased in January 2014, buying an 80% share of the club before later buying out the remaining 20%.
CFG’s stable of clubs also includes New York City (United States), Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan), Girona (Spain), Montevideo City Torque (Uruguay), Sichuan Jiuniu (China), Lommel SK (Belgium) and Troyes AC (France).
The Red Devils have some catching up to do if their plans are to compete with CFG for global domination, but a first foray into foreign ownership in Australia with a potentially rebranded Mariners would put them in direct competition with City in the A-League.
It is unclear how much United will have to pay for the license, however, the club was reported to be worth more than $5 billion by Forbes in 2020.
Despite the club’s strong revenue streams – revenue hit $905 million last year – United is a club that remains heavily in debt as a result of the club’s leveraged takeover by the American Glazer family in 2005.
The Glazers borrowed over £500 million to finance their purchase of the club, a debt the club has been paying off ever since
United’s net debt remains above £450m according to reports from earlier this year.