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Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies aged 85

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer celebrates the Bucs' 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII i PICTURE: Dave Martin/AP

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Malcolm Glazer, the self-made billionaire who owned the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer's Manchester United, has died at the age of 85.

The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech and limited mobility in his right arm and leg.

His unobtrusive management style helped transform the Bucs from a laughing stock into a model franchise that in 2003 won the Super Bowl 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders.

He raised his profile with a 1.47 billion US dollar takeover of Manchester United which was bitterly opposed by fans of one of the world's richest soccer clubs in 2005.

It is understood Glazer's death will not have any significant effect on the ownership of the Barclays Premier League club, with the family retaining a 90 per cent share.

A spokesperson for the Old Trafford outfit said: "The thoughts of everyone at United are with the family tonight."

Glazer controversially became owner of United in May 2005 and his tenure was an uneasy one, with many fans unhappy at the level of debt his takeover had put on the club, who have largely continued to prosper ever since.

The Buccaneers announced on their official website: "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are saddened to announce the passing of owner/president Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning at the age of 85."

Born in Rochester, New York as one of seven children, Glazer took over the family watch-parts company at age 15 following the death of his father.

Glazer first expanded the company and then continued his foray into the professional world, investing in other businesses.

Glazer eventually went on to become president and CEO of First Allied Corporation, a holding company specialising in ownership, management and leasing of community and neighbourhood shopping centres throughout the United States.

He owned or had been the largest share holder of a diverse portfolio of international holdings and public companies, including: First Allied, Zapata Corporation, Houlihan's Restaurant chain, Harley Davidson, Formica, Tonka, Specialty Equipment and Omega Protein.

In addition to his business ventures, Glazer is also involved in philanthropic efforts.

He launched the Glazer Family Foundation in 1999, which is dedicated to assisting charitable and educational causes in the Tampa Bay community.

In its 14 years of existence, the Foundation has donated millions in programs, tickets, grants and in-kind contributions.

The Foundation donated $5 million toward the construction of the Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa, which opened on September 25, 2010.

Glazer has also overseen the operations of the far-reaching Glazer Family Foundation's Vision Program, created in 2006 to provide school-children with an opportunity to have vision problems identified in schools at an early age. The initiative, highlighted by the Vision Mobile, visits schools and provides eye examinations to thousands of disadvantaged children.

Glazer's charitable activities have also included the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, an organisation that promotes amateur sports activities.

Glazer's first attempt at a corporate takeover was in 1984, when he launched an unsuccessful $7.6 billion bid to buy the government-controlled freight rail company, Conrail.

He also failed in an attempted takeover of kitchen designer Formica in 1988 and, later, with motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson.

One of the companies that Glazer did purchase successfully was the nearly bankrupt Zapata Offshore, a remnant of Zapata, an oil and gas company founded by George H. W. Bush, which was left over after the latter's takeover by South Penn Oil to create Pennzoil.

Glazer successfully diversified it into fish protein and Caribbean supermarkets.

Glazer purchased the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise on January 16, 1995, following the death of former owner Hugh Culverhouse. He erved as president of the team, while sons Bryan, Joel and Edward are co-chairmen.

Since coming under the Glazer family's ownership, the club has experienced an upswing in its fortunes, winning 131 regular season games, earning seven playoff berths and capturing its first Super Bowl Championship in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Glazer acquired ownership of Manchester United between 2003 and 2005. The club is currently headed by the Glazer family, with sons Joel and Avram serving as co-chairmen.

Since taking ownership, Glazer has also overseen the club's continued success.

Manchester United were crowned Premiership champions for the second consecutive year in 2008, champions of Europe as the UEFA Champions League winner and champions of the world as the FIFA Club World Cup winner.

After finishing as runner-up to Chelsea in the 2009–10 season, United achieved a then-record 19th league title in 2010–11, securing the championship with a 1–1 away draw against Blackburn Rovers.

After again finishing as runner-up, this time to Manchester City in the 2011-12 season, United improved on their record with a 20th league title in 2012–13.

Glazer lived in Palm Beach, Florida with his wife, Linda, and is also survived by six children and 14 grandchildren.

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