Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards has expressed concern at the way the Glazer family run the club.
Since the American owners took control of United in 2005 the previously profitable Premier League club has accrued debts of around £700m and Edwards fears that financial turmoil could be ahead.
Edwards sold his remaining shares in the club in 2003, but he remains an honorary life president at Old Trafford.
“It concerns me that the club are in so much debt,” he said. “The club are not in control; that family are in control of the debt. I can understand where the fans are coming from with their concerns. The crunch time will come when they [the Glazers] exit. Will they saddle the club with the debt or just sell the club on for a profit because that’s all they are interested in? How will they leave the club?
“I’m not going to make any accusations because up to now they have behaved fairly well, supporting the manager, and they haven’t disrupted the running of the club or the personnel. Time will tell.”
Edwards, the man who hired Sir Alex Ferguson and spent 22 years as United chairman between 1980 to 2002, endured strong criticisms of his own chairmanship, not least when he recommended to the club’s shareholders that they accept a £623m takeover bid from BSkyB in 1998.
“I thought Sky would have taken Manchester United to a level where nobody could have got near us,” he explained.
“That’s why I recommended their offer in 1998. When they approached us, we had gone 30 years without winning the European Cup. I felt that they could have pushed us on to the next level.”