Fred Done, who owns bookmakers Bet Fred, was once close to joining a consortium hoping to take over the Premier League champions.However, the life-long Reds fan now reckons only a new billionaire owner can save his club.
In November, I was shown around Douar Hicher by Mohamed, a local engineer in his late twenties.
Mohamed, who grew up there, said, “The friends I was studying with in high school and boxing with—ninety per cent have gone, and not to Italy. There are no longer any young people.” Small children were picking discarded clothes from a garbage pile, but there were few of the idle young men who gather so conspicuously in the streets of working-class Arab neighborhoods.
Douar Hicher became the scene of preaching, protesting, and, at times, violence by Islamists.
Before the revolution, Tunisia had been kept rigidly secular.
To the Glazers it's purely and simply a financial instrument."It breaks my heart that they're sat in Florida while 70,000 who love the club are paying for their debt and dividends and are not seeing a good team.
We're watching rubbish."Mr Done, whose business empire includes 1,386 Betfred shops, admitted he would "absolutely" buy United if he had his time again, but added: "I would have bought it for the wrong reasons, for love rather than as a commercial enterprise."He also had strong words for former Everton manager Moyes, following United's recent defeat in Europe.After the Jasmine Revolution of 2011, young people began disappearing from neighborhoods like Douar Hicher, a poor suburb of Tunis.It is estimated that between six and seven thousand Tunisians have gone to Syria and Iraq to wage jihad.And Mr Done compares United's present American owners the Glazer family unfavourably to the Abu Dhabi ruling family member. Sheikh Mansour has done fantastic for City as a club and for the city of Manchester."What's different about them?Sheikh Mansour does not care about a return on his money."The Glazers, who also own an American Football club, bought United in a debt-laden deal between 20.Looking across at the boardrooms of rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, Mr Done reckons only "an Arab sheikh or a Russian oligarch" will lead to a turnaround in United's fortunes.