Manchester United ‘in talks’ to buy Australian club Central Coast Mariners but sources claim ‘there’s as much chance of Alf Stewart taking over’
Manchester United could follow in Manchester City’s footsteps as they’re reportedly looking to establish a franchise club in Australia’s A-League.
Reports claim the Red Devils are in talks to purchase the licence of Central Coast Mariners and will look to relocate the club from the Central Coast region to Sydney.
However, the rumours have been rubbished by sources in the Australian press and even the club’s CEO has admitted it is pure ‘speculation’.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the 13-time Premier League winners have held lengthy discussions with Mariners owner Mike Charlsworth in the UK about buying the licence of Central Coast and turning them into a sister club.
The report adds that Man United are willing to come to the rescue of the cash-strapped Mariners but it could come at the expense of the club’s affiliation with the Central Coast region with the side to be rebranded.
Any transfer of club licence, rebranding and relocation of teams must be signed off by Football Australia after it gains the approval of the majority of A-League clubs.
It has also been claimed several clubs are already supportive of a proposed Man United takeover as it could increase interest and investment in the league.
However, the A-League side’s CEO, Shaun Mielekamp, has dismissed the reports that United are ready to invest and admitted it’s all just speculation.
“The chairman has held discussions with a number of clubs and interested parties across a number of years regarding the sale of the club,” Mielekamp told The World Game.
“Speculation is nothing more than speculation and it is important, as in the pre-season, none of this distracts anyone at the club – it’s just noise.
“Reports like this simply serve as a means of distraction from what is a positive season on the field.”
Meanwhile, Aussie sports network Fox claims there is ‘as much chance of Alf Stewart taking over’ than the Premier League giants buying the club.
Yes, the long-running character in Home and Away, that Alf Stewart. Think Lou Carpenter, if you’re a Neighbours fan.
Man United’s rivals Manchester City have built a global network of affiliated clubs, buying Melbourne Heart in 2014, rebranding them as Melbourne City and incorporating it into the City Football Group global network.
City are understood to have paid more than $11million for an 80 per cent stake in Melbourne Heart before buying the remaining 20 per cent for $2.25m.
Mariners actually have a longstanding tie with Man United assistant coach Mike Phelan, who was appointed sporting director of them in July 2018 before returning to Old Trafford when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as manager in December of that year.