09 June 2005

Payne 3wnz United

Well, Kevin Payne may soon own the red and black. Steven Goff in today's Washington Post breaks the proposed details that a group led by Kevin Payne may try to buy United from AEG for about $20M.

What does it mean? I think this is definitely a good move for MLS. Ownership diversity is a good thing, and United is probably one of the most if not the most economically viable franchises at this point. While AEG hasn't done a bad job with United, they do have a history of some odd moves with other franchises. At times the attitude seems to have been just to leave United alone. In fact, the last time I can recall that the owner was at a United game was the home leg against Pumas, and that was enough to draw comment from the press. Great owners care about their teams. You may not like them personally, but you know that they are into the game (See, Steinbrenner, Cooke, the People of the City of Green Bay).

Payne knows this team, having been involved since the inception. The team he would buy is not a dominant team, and needs some attention. And allowing a devoted ownership team to examine those options will only help. The fact that this is Payne and his group making an outright purchase and not Glazer leveraging a buyout of an LLC should make this almost transparent to the fans (as for Glazer, I wish him luck. As noted at Blog FC, purchases like Man-U's are just going to become more common).