Stephen Jones, divisional director at Brewin Dolphin Securities, discusses the rise and fall of football clubs...
Following the £790 million takeover in June, the story of Manchester United came full circle when Malcolm Glazer took full control and de-listed the shares.
Life was different in the summer of 1991 when the club floated on the stock market.
Football was changing. Sky TV had just reached a million UK subscribers and
had completely transformed the way football was marketed and financed.
Then the talk was of football as a commercial product with global brands to exploit.
The City took note, the prospects for listed clubs improved dramatically and it became fashionable to float.
Manchester United was quick to seize the opportunity.
Although the crowd dis-order that had plagued the game in the 1970s and 1980s was under control, it had come at a cost - the introduction of all-seat stadiums.
Many clubs had to raise funds to finance the redevelopment of their grounds and this drove decisions to come to market.
By the mid-1990s clubs such as Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham, Leeds, West Ham, Millwall and Newcastle had all followed suit.
However, football's very success at raising money from the City and the boom in television revenue brought a new problem - the rise of the superstar footballer.
This led some clubs to pay an incredible 80 per cent of their gross turnover in top player's wages in an attempt to buy success, which had a catastrophic affect on shareholder values, driving some clubs into administration.
However, they were not the only ones and perhaps the greatest save of all was Chelsea, having been days away from disaster before Roman Abromovich's rescue, and who now dominate the Premiership.
Manchester United's share price had fallen from over £4 to less than £1 in 2001 and few people seemed interested in owning the club.
In 2003 the Glazer family began building their stake, though nobody really knew their intentions.
For some shareholders this was a chance to recoup their investment but for those who were also fans it seemed like betrayal.
A similar picture is emerging in the Midlands.
West Bromwich Albion went private earlier this year and Aston Villa is currently in discussions that may see the club taken over.
Villa's long suffering supporters will be hoping for a new owner with deep pockets to take on the likes of Chelsea. It could be, in the long-term, local rivals Birmingham City become the only Midland's football club listed.
So life for Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion begins again as private companies.
No AGMs, no need to declare dividends or to disclose those costly payments to agents.
Football finances are changing again - debt not equity, private ownership not public.
As such, further delistings look likely. ..SUPL: