With a total of 20 top-flight league titles and 66 major trophies to its name, Manchester United is one of the most successful clubs in both domestic and world football. What’s more, Christiano Ronaldo, who scored a stunning 118 goals in 292 games for the club between 2003 and 2009, is returning.
Nicknamed the “Red Devils”, the club was founded back in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR FC, before it changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its home to Old Trafford in 1910.
Manchester United’s on-the-field success has enabled it to become one of the most supported football teams on the planet – and one of the richest. Majority-owned by the GlazerC Family, and at a value of $4.2bn (around £2.97 billion), Manchester United is currently ranked fourth in the list of the most valuable football clubs, compiled by Forbes.
After the spectacularly rapid downfall of the proposed European Super League (ESL), which Manchester United had planned to join, club ownership is firmly back in focus. While football club ownership is typically the domain of Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern sheiks, there is a way for United fans to feel more aligned with the club – by investing in it.
How to buy shares in Manchester United
Manchester United PLC was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2012, with the ticker name of MANU. Buying shares is fairly straightforward. Simply follow the steps below to become a shareholder.
- First you need to open a share trading account.
- Deposit funds into your account.
- Find Manchester United on your chosen trading platform. Most platforms have helpful guides for investing in internationally listed stocks. Search under the ticker: MANU.
- Choose the amount you want to invest.
- Invest. Once you have placed your deal you now have shares in Manchester United.
Manchester United share price
Success on the football field has not been as easy for the Red Devils in recent years. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013, the club has not won a domestic league title and has seen a number of managers come and go. However, it currently appears to have found some stability under the leadership of former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Guiding the club to second place in the 2020-21 Premier League, Solskjær took Manchester United to the 2021 final of the Europa League, where it lost to Spanish side Villarreal in a heartbreaking penalty shootout.
When it comes to investing, the share price of listed football clubs should in theory be driven by similar fundamentals to other companies – the outlook for future profits, as well as supply and demand.
But in the four years since United won a trophy, it has slipped down to fourth in Forbes’ list. However, Nick Train, a fund manager at Lindsell Train and holder of Manchester United, says short term performance on the field is not a major concern as an investor.
The allure to us of live sports franchises is the loyal fan base that is more valued by advertisers than almost any other entertainment medium,” said Train. “Out of a universe of 12 quoted soccer clubs we own three unique franchises; Juventus, Manchester United and Celtic, which all could be readily described as national icons.”
Take a look at Manchester United’s share price performance over the last three months on the graph below. It’s always important to remember that past performance is no indication of future results.
Risks of buying Manchester United Shares
If the Covid crisis has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. When it comes to football, the thought of witnessing an entire season played with no fans in stadiums would have been unbelievable two years ago – but it happened.
While the long-term consequences of the Covid crisis on football clubs is still unknown, for investors such as Nick Train, the most important element of investing in the world’s largest sports franchises is trying to shut out the noise.
Train adopts what is known as a long-term investment approach. This means, when he buys a company, he is prepared to wade out any short-term market movements – commonly known as volatility – and take a three-year view, or more. As a result, achievements on the pitch and recent scandals, such as the ESL, do not overly influence his decision to buy or sell. This is something he says all investors should bear in mind when considering buying a football club stake.
But Ben Yearsley, an investment consultant at Fairview Investing, says investors must accept they lack any sort of decision-making power. “Despite being listed, majority owners have almost total control due to the size of their shareholding,” he added. This lack of control was evident during the ESL proposal, which resulted in widespread fan protests.
Manchester United history
Manchester United bagged its first league championship in 1908 – and a second title in 1911 – it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the Red Devils became a powerhouse in English football. After a series of runner-up medals, the great Sir Matt Busby was at the helm of its third league title in 1952.
Under Busby, Manchester United would win the old first division championship five times, and in 1968, it became the first English club to hold aloft the European Cup. In the modern era, primarily under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, United has won 26 major honours – including a record of 13 Premier League titles. The most famous achievement came in 1999, when the club recorded an historic treble – scoring the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in one season.
While the thought of investing in Manchester United might seem a fun idea, these are not novelty shares – you are buying real shares in a real company. Any investment carries the risk of loss, alongside the potential rewards.
However, like watching the beautiful game, investing in football clubs offers something unique and valuable for investors. It might not quite match a stoppage time winner to win the Champions League, but for those willing to be patient, the rewards might prove to be just as exciting.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.
Other clubs you can buy shares in
Manchester United isn’t the only football team you can buy shares in – you can also buy shares in clubs such as Arsenal, Juventus and Celtic amongst others. See the table below for all the current football clubs that you can buy shares in.
|Club||Country||League||Link to invest|
|Juventus||Italy||Serie A||Invest now|
|AS Roma||Italy||Serie A||Invest now|
|Arsenal FC||England||Premier League||Invest now|
|Rangers FC||Scotland||Scottish Premiership||Invest now|
|Celtic||Scotland||Scottish Premiership||Invest now|
|Borussia Dortmund||Germany||Bundesliga||Invest now|
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