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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies at 85

Sports Shorts: Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies at 85

Last updated on: May 29, 2014 17:00 IST

Sports Shorts: Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies at 85

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Malcolm Glazer, a reclusive self-made billionaire and patriarch of the family that owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Manchester United soccer club, died on Wednesday, the teams said. He was 85.

Glazer, who as a teenager sold watch parts from a suitcase before building a wide-ranging business empire, bought the Buccaneers in 1995 for a then-NFL record of $192 million. He later persevered with the controversial purchase by an American of one of England's most-storied soccer teams in 2005.

However, Glazer was largely sidelined in recent years from both the teams' business dealings by a series of strokes.

After his purchase of the Buccaneers, he led what had traditionally been one of the weakest teams in the National Football League to its first Super Bowl championship in 2003.

"A dynamic business leader, Glazer helped mold the Buccaneers into a model franchise and one respected league-wide," the Buccaneers said in a statement on their website.

His supporters credited him with spending big to hire players and a coaching staff to turn around the team in one of the NFL's smallest markets.

"He set the stage for our turnaround," former TampaBay linebacker Derrick Brooks tweeted.

While the team has struggled on the field recently, Glazer's investment has proven profitable and the business magazine Forbes estimates it is now worth more than $1 billion.

His death appears unlikely to lead to any ownership change, according to a statement by the Buccaneers. The family's "long established estate succession plan" means the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "will remain with the Glazer family for generations to come," the team said.

He raised his profile in 2005 with an aggressive debt-driven $1.47-billion takeover of Manchester United that was widely opposed by many of the club's fans.

Even though some fans led protests against the takeover, Glazer went on to preside over one of the most successful eras in the club's storied history.

"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the family tonight," the team said in a statement.

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Image: Manchester United and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer
Photographs: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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Under Glazer's ownership, Manchester Utd won 5 English Premier League titles and the 2008 UEFA Champions League

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Under Glazer's ownership, Manchester United won five Premier League titles in England as well as the 2008 UEFA Champions League championship.

Manchester United is widely considered one of the world's most valuable sports teams, though it recently ended the season in 7th place in the Premier League, the club's lowest placing in two decades.

Glazer no longer had any day-to-day connection to the club and the ownership is in the hands of Glazer's children, led by the club's co-chairs Avram and Joel Glazer.

The family retains a 90 percent stake in the club that is split evenly among Glazer's six children. The remaining 10 percent is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Glazer, the fifth of seven children born to Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, turned to sports after a successful business career.

As a young man, Glazer used the profits from a family watch-repair franchise he inherited to make investments in a range of real estate ventures, including mobile homes and nursing homes, many of them in Florida during the 1970s.

He founded a real estate firm, First Allied, a holding company for the family's business which range from dozens of malls and shopping centers in the United States.

During the 1980s, Glazer launched a series of failed bids, including a $7.6 billion attempt to buy the bankrupt freight rail company, Conrail. He also made an unsuccessful bid for the motorcycle company, Harley-Davidson Inc.

A decade later, the Glazer family gained a controlling stake in the oil company Zapata, which was founded by former President George H.W. Bush, and later sold it.

Forbes estimates the net worth of Glazer and his family at $4 billion.

A resident of Palm Beach, Florida, Glazer is survived by his wife, Linda, his children and 14 grandchildren.

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Image: Malcolm Glazer
Photographs: Tim Shaffer/Reuters

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Wawrinka gets Queen's wildcard

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Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka has been handed a wildcard entry into the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, starting on June 9, as he looks to shake off a surprise defeat at Roland Garros.

World number three Wawrinka, beaten in round one by Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Paris, will join a strong field at the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event.

"I am really looking forward to playing in the Aegon Championships and very grateful that the tournament saved a wildcard for me," the Swiss said on Thursday.

"It is an important tournament with a lot of history, and playing at The Queen's Club gives me the best possible chance to become comfortable on grass."

Holder Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will also be in action at the west London club.

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Image: Stanislas Wawrinka
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Obama to focus on risks of head injuries in sports

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President Barack Obama will host a conference highlighting the risks of head injuries to young athletes on Thursday, seeking to use the power of his office to promote awareness of ways to avoid and treat concussions, White House officials said.

The president is drawing on his own enthusiasm for sports both as a player and a spectator and his concern as a father to convene the gathering, officials said. The event will assemble representatives of professional and collegiate sports, athletes, coaches, researchers and children, the officials added.

"The president is a big sports fan," said White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri. "There's not enough that we know about concussions and how they relate to young athletes."

The four major professional U.S. sports leagues, governing football, baseball, hockey and basketball, bring in about $23 billion in revenue each year and sales of sports equipment in the United States are valued at $42 billion annually.

Awareness of the long-run health effects of concussions in sports has jumped in recent years, particularly in football.

The NFL agreed in August to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players, many suffering from dementia and health problems. They accused the league of hiding the dangers of brain injury while profiting from the sport's violence.

A judge in January rejected the deal, saying it might not be enough to pay all of the affected players.

Obama, whose fondness for watching sports on television is well known, has said in interviews he would have reservations about letting a son play football if he had one. He has two daughters.

The event is due to spotlight several initiatives to study head injuries in sports, aides said. The NCAA and the Department of Defense are due to launch a $30 million study of ways to reduce concussions in sports and the military.

The NFL will spend $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety, the White House said.

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Image: US President Barack Obama watches his tee shot while golfing at Mink Meadows golf course
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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Arsenal bid for Real Madrid star Di Maria

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English Premier League club Arsenal has reportedly gone ahead of their rivals Manchester United and champions ManchesterCity with an offer for Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria.

Reports claim that the Argentine is set to quit Real after the club received bids from Arsenal, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain as well as Italian giants Juventus, even though the recently crowned Champions League winners are working desperately to convince Di Maria to stay at the Bernabeu.

However, the Daily Star reports that a source close to the player said that it is true that Di Maria is leaving Real as he wants to go, adding that it is very likely that he will leave before the end of the World Cup in Brazil.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, has reportedly been joined by key players -- including Cristiano Ronaldo -- in trying to talk Di Maria into staying put.

The Champions League final man-of-the-match is set to fly out to link up with the Argentina squad before the World Cup, the report added.

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Image: Angel Di Maria


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Atletico star Tiago agrees to 'shock' return to Chelsea

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Atletico Madrid star Tiago Mendes, known simply as Tiago, has reportedly agreed to a shock return to Chelsea, where he spent just a year.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho spent 12 million pounds on Tiago, who is out of contract on June 30 from Atletico, during his first spell at StamfordBridge ten years ago.

According to the Daily Star, Tiago is understood to see a move to Chelsea as his last chance to net himself a bumper contract.

Tiago admitted after Atletico's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid that he had already made his mind up about his future although he refused to reveal it and was adamant he would communicate his decision to the club first, the report added. 

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Image: Atletico Madrid's Tiago
Photographs: Handout/UEFA via Getty Images

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Former Lazio striker Zarate joins West Ham

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Former Lazio and Inter Milan forward Mauro Zarate will return to the English Premier League next season after agreeing a three-year contract with West Ham United, the London club said on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Argentine, who scored four goals in 14 matches on loan to BirminghamCity in the Premier League in 2008, returns to England after a prolific season with Velez Sarsfield in which he scored 20 goals in all competitions.

"If you ask me what I can bring to the squad then I say I hope I will bring goals," Zarate told the club's website.

"I will also bring dribbling skills and other attacking qualities."

West Ham could certainly do with a bit more firepower up front after scoring just 40 goals in 38 Premier League matches last season as they finished 13th.

Zarate turned down a chance to play for his father's country, Chile, at the World Cup earlier this year and was also approached by Italy, his mother's country, in 2009.

A former under-20 international, his chances of making the Argentine squad for the World Cup were always slim with Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio all ahead of him in the pecking order.

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Image: Mauro Zarate
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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NBA: Pacers cool Heat to stave off playoff elimination

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The Indiana Pacers, with Paul George spectacularly leading the way, staved off playoff elimination with a pulsating 93-90 victory over the NBA champion Miami Heat in Game Five of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

All-Star forward George contributed a game-high 37 points, along with six assists, as Indiana made the most of home court advantage to cut Miami's lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

"I just felt it. I felt the rhythm. I had to be aggressive," George told ESPN television in an interview after scoring 31 of his points in the second half.

"I tried to come out and be aggressive to start this game off and I was getting looks. I got hot."

Forward David West added 19 points for the Pacers on seven-of-11 shooting while big center Roy Hibbert contributed 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

"We just played," said George after Indiana came back from an 11-point deficit early in the third quarter. "Our backs are against the wall right now. That's the only thing we can do, is come out and play.

"We were in a position where if we lost this game, we're going home. I think that was at the back of everybody's minds. It was a great evening."

The Heat, seeking to win a third straight NBA Championship, were narrowly outshot by 47 percent to 45 from the field with an out-of-sorts LeBron James held to just seven points on two-of-10 shooting after running into foul trouble.

Center Chris Bosh, who missed a three-pointer with five seconds left, led Miami with 20 points and 10 rebounds while forward Rashard Lewis and guard Dwyane Wade each scored 18.

"We overcame one heck of a shooting performance by the Heat," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "The threes that they were making in the second half, it was just ridiculous. We were still able to prevail."

Miami began the game with a cold shooting display and Indiana, with their starting five all scoring effectively, raced into an early 20-12 lead before ending the first quarter with a 22-16 advantage.

James ran into foul trouble early on and was penalized for a third time midway through the second quarter but sharp-shooting veteran Ray Allen came off the bench and sparked a Heat revival as the visiting team moved ahead 42-33 by halftime.

A Lewis three-pointer, his fourth of the game, put Miami 11 points clear four minutes into the third but Indiana stepped up their defense to regain control and, with George finding his range from beyond the arc, entered the fourth with a 64-57 lead.

The Pacers appeared to tighten their grip on the game, George pouring in another three-pointer and then grabbing a steal off a poor James pass for a slam dunk to give his team a 77-66 cushion.

But again the Heat hit back, an unbroken 9-0 run trimming Indiana's lead to 77-75 before a spectacular James three-pointer, with just under four minutes left, tied the game at 81-81.

George, ice-cool when the pressure was at its most intense, responded with two three-pointers of his own to put the Pacers ahead 91-87 with 46.7 seconds left and the home team held on to stay alive in the playoffs.

The series shifts back to Miami for Game Six on Friday when the Heat can clinch the Eastern Conference title for a fourth successive year with a win.

"It's going to be a totally different ball game but we have got to rise to the challenge," George said.

"It's going to be a fun match-up."


Image: Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) works around the defense of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the fourth quarter in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday
Photographs: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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