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Michael Knighton tries to purchase Man United for £20 million

Back of the Net (Profit)Nowadays £20 million, in footballing terms, is a mere trifle. That will pick you up a second-rate defender or a half decent tea-lady in these baffling financial times. But back in 1989, this was the record breaking figure offered for the purchase of Manchester United football club by businessman Michael Knighton. With two other investors on board, Knighton engineered the sale and then sealed the deal by performing a large number of ‘keepie uppies’ on the Old Trafford pitch while wearing a full Man U strip.

Sadly his ball skills were slightly premature as the deal fell apart a few weeks later and the takeover never happened, though Knighton did get a place on the Man U board and went on to buy Carlisle United instead. After a failed bid by Rupert Murdoch, the club was floated on the stock exchange and then a controlling interest was bought by Malcolm Glazer in 2005 in a £790m takeover. This footballing powerhouse is now potentially worth billions.