Malcolm Glazer and bid to buy Manchester United - Feint or Play?
I first met Malcolm Glazer when I was a young reporter for the Alachula Times Picayune.
I had been sent to interview Florida's 23rd richest billionaire for an article we were doing on rich billionaires and I drew the short straw. By that I mean I got to drive across the state to Tampa while all the rest of my colleagues pursued their quarry by jet to such glamorous places as Madrid, the Riviera and Las Vegas. Seems that Malcolm is a bit of a stay-at-home.
Resigned to my domestic assignment I decided to make the most of it and go for a Pulitzer first time out. After all I was about to interview Florida's 23rd most unlikely man to become at one and the same time a billionaire and enigmatic recluse.
I arrived early with high expectations. Glazer was mine, I thought as I waited patiently in the outer office of the Buccaneer's Franchise headquarters. The walls were decorated with numerous framed media clippings featuring Malcolm, "Man of the Year", Tampa Bay's Best, Florida Entrepreneur, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover and so on and so on until my head was fairly spinning with anticipation at meeting the famed business man and put his real story to print.
At long last I was ushered in to meet the great man. I could not help feeling a bit like the querulous cowardly lion about to face the Wizard of Oz. I expected eruptions of flame and smoke as thunderous intonations challenged my very existence and, for that matter, the existence of my father and his father before him. I swear I was actually standing at the desk, hand outstretched before I could open my eyes only to behold the most incongruous scene I have witnessed in all my years as a reporter, an empty desk presided over by a life size cardboard cutout of The Malcolm himself.
"You like it?" I heard someone behind me say. "Not my best likeness, but I think it captures the moment, wha-da-ya think?"
I turned and there stood a medium built, disheveled man in his 60s who bore a remarkable resemblance to the cardboard cutout I had come to interview, damn, I thought, power played by a photo prop. "Yes sir", I said in a useless attempt to regain my reporterly stature, "very convincing."
"I thought you'ld be impressed." he continued, "It's one of my recent acquisitions. "A CEO for all Occasions," I call it. In fact I expect that with some slight modifications it will be capable of actually closing deals sometime in the near future. Have a seat."
I sat, "Sir, "I said.
"Say, that's a nice hat you're wearing." Glazer interupted, "How much would you take for it?"
Caught once again off guard I immediately proffered the hat with my sincerest compliments and began again. "Mr. Glazer,"
"You know, I haven't seen a ball point pen like that in years. How much did it cost?"
"Well, it really didn't cost, I mean the paper gives, Would you like it?" I capitulated.
"Why yes I would son, Thank you very much, very much indeed." He said accepting the pen.
I borrowed a pen from his desk and began again "What would you say was the most..."
"You know, I've always wanted to own a reporter." Glazer spouted. " Do you think your publisher would sell you? Maybe a trade, a linebacker and two first draft picks. Wha-da-ya think, think they'll go for it? How's your arm by the way?"
I excused myself at that point professing a sudden stomach condition and left the building without so much as a quote to further my career. I left realizing that my Pulitzer would have to wait and that as far as the world was concerned, you don't know Malcolm!