Another month is drawing to a close and we’re already getting to that point where we start looking back over the year at the big moments and what people have contributed to society in 2022.
In a year when many areas of the nation are still feeling the lasting impact of the pandemic and millions still face personal and professional obstacles as the nation and the economy try to recover, recognising figures that continue to motivate and inspire others seems more important than ever.
Moreover, given that October is Black History Month, we couldn’t think of a more influential and deserving figure to select for our Manc of the Month than the legend that is Sharon Amesu.
From the courtroom to coaching
Despite being Northwich-based, Sharon Amesu’s influence on Black-run businesses and professional women, not to mention diversity, inclusivity and leadership culture throughout the North West means she has done more than enough to earn the Manc of the Month accolade.
The leadership coach and entrepreneur began her career in law, enjoying a successful 16-year stint as a criminal barrister during which her practice helped countless families and women, specifically, with a strong focus on domestic violence cases in particular.
However, as she told Merrick Solicitors back in 2019, she felt that she had spent more than enough time in the legal world and having picked up a wealth of transferrable skills, she decided to step away from the Bar and pursue professional development not only for herself but for others too.
A founding member of both institutions, the idea of their work is to bring prominent industry figures together and share wisdom through building a wider leadership network, as well as going out to businesses around the UK to show how they can put that knowledge into practice.
Professional speaking and leadership consultancy
Even before she was a part of initiatives like these, Sharon quickly began establishing herself as a powerful and inspiring speaker, visiting all manner of companies to educate them on the importance of women and inclusivity in leadership.
She joined the Professional Speaking Association not long after she left the world of law and built up a strong following both personally and throughout the world of Greater Manchester businesses, helping people have the difficult conversations no one else will and resolving issues surrounding work culture.
She soon began speaking all over the country and even went on to give her own TEDx Talk back in June 2021, discussing the subject of legacy and how the decisions we make in the present can massively affect the generations to come back in June 2021.
Already a multi-award-winning executive coach and motivational speaker – not to mention a “leadership and inclusion strategist” as described on her website – it won’t surprise you to know that Amesu was also made an Honorary Industry Fellow of the University of Salford Business School.
Backing Black businesses, women and diversity in Greater Manchester
On the subject of legacy, perhaps her biggest achievement comes in the form of She Leads for Legacy, a social enterprise set up with her daughter Afiya back in January 2021, which aims to reduce the barriers Black women face in the working world and accelerate their career progression.
For instance, just this weekend, Amesu stood alongside women’s charity Pregnant Then Screwed on a march to demand better policies for working mothers such as childcare and more flexible maternity leave.
The hope is that those guided by the initiative will reach senior leadership and Board level positions within the workplace and, in turn, help better represent, inspire and serve their local communities. Her role as a Community Champion for the Sickle Cell Care Manchester charity is one of many examples.
Moreover, having seen the lack of diversity when it comes to decision-making firsthand, Sharon and her daughter know all too well the challenges women and people of colour face in private and corporate business settings, especially.
In fact, her contributions have been noted and felt by so many that in 2021 she was named among five key Black figures improving lives in Greater Manchester by Google Arts and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
But, crucially, her achievements are always shared.
Keeping it in the family
As she explained on The Mindset Mentor Meets… podcast, she herself felt a lot of guilt and imposter syndrome as a working mother of three juggling multiple roles, but the success of this mother-daughter team has proved so much of personal progression is about self-belief.
The pair recently held the Empowered to Lead Conference at Bruntwood’s Bloc in Manchester city centre and set for a number of events before the end of 2022, including a Black Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It’s all over Zoom so there’s no excuse for you to miss it.
As well as Afiya, her husband Sefa is also an accomplished development consultant; her eldest son Sefa Jr. is a promising Accounting and Finance student at Manchester Metropolitan University, and her youngest Edem is a champion ballroom dancer and model. They’re a powerhouse this lot.
Sharon Amesu is a credit to black Mancunians and working women all over the UK. Furthermore, given how much local communities and North West businesses have already benefitted from her speaking, coaching and consultancy — and will continue to do so — this Manc of the Month is long overdue.
We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Black History Month than by bigging up one of the most important figures in Greater Manchester and the modern Black British community.
With that in mind, it didn’t take long for the bookmakers to set the odds for who might come in next were the Glazers actually to agree to a sale and while there are some familiar names, others might come as a bit of a surprise.
As you can see, top of the list is no surprise: Failsworth-born billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe leads the odds with an estimated 25% chance of buying out Man United.
Said to be one of the richest men in the UK, Ratcliffe has been seen as arguably the most serious bidder for some time now, despite being told the club was “not for sale” back in October.
Meanwhile, Michael Knighton — who previously hoped to head up a consortium bid involving Ratcliffe’s immense wealth and already tried to buy United more than three decades ago — sits in third, though he’s made it clear that any potential takeover would require help with financing.
Sat in second are the Dubai Sovereign Group, i.e. a state-run fund akin to Manchester City‘s Abu Dhabi Group, PSG’s Qatari owners or Newcastle’s new Saudi Arabia administration.
Dubai are yet to join the premier footballing fray when it comes to putting the wealth of an entire nation’s investment fund into a sporting franchise but it seems like only a matter of time before they do.
Then there’s Jim O’Neill, a.k.a, the Lord and Baron of Gatley, who previously tried to launch a hostile takeover back in 2012. He hasn’t been in the conversation for some time but given his Goldman Sachs background, could be a serious option.
As for David Beckham, we imagine he’s too busy running Inter Miami and his part in Salford City via the Project 92 ownership group — though that Qatar money certainly won’t have hurt his chances. And, again, who knows, he could form part of a consortium.
On to US investors with the Harris/Blitzer Group, owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, as well as the Pagliuca/Tanenbaum Group, who run the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Both groups have expressed interest in buying Premier League clubs in the past and as we have seen with Chelsea’s recent takeover, there seems to be a growing interest from American businesses even if not everyone is convinced that their designs on English football are a great fit.
Then we come to ‘The Field’. For anyone unaware, this group is made up of inherited Red Bull owner, Mark Mateschitz, who not only owns the Formula One team but also RB Leipzig, Salzburg and several other sports teams. He is estimated to be worth more than $15 billion.
Beyond Mateschitz, the trio is completed by two of the richest men in the world, i.e. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Yep, those guys.
This list is by no means exhaustive and, as always in football, who knows what’s going to happen next? Any one of these suitors could emerge as the leading candidate but there’s always a dark horse waiting in the wings.
Moreover, it isn’t just a case of ‘anyone would be better than the Glazers’ — nothing but trouble follows that way — so whoever the club decide to hand over the reins to, you can only hope they go through the proper vetting process.
Is there anyone else you think has an outside chance?
The Glazer family are FINALLY considering putting Manchester United up for sale
In an absolutely staggering day for Manchester United, it looks like the Glazer family could finally be considering selling the club. Parades outside Old Trafford incoming?
The announcement was made in an official statement by the club on Tuesday, 22 November, while most fans had not long finished watching the last World Cup game and were still digesting the news from earlier in the evening.
Should a sale actually go through (we’ll believe it when we see it), it will bring the Glazer‘s ownership of the club to an end after more than 17 years of protests and regression as a once top European team.
You can read the full statement down below, including words from the typically silent Glazers themselves.
The statement detailed how the board of directors are now “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club… with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.”
“As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.” Yes, you read that right: they might seriously consider selling.
The mere notion of a sale will come as a surprise to virtually every football fan, let alone United supporters, as the US businessmen have long made it clear they had no intention of letting the multi-billion pound sports franchise go.
It was only just over a month ago that long-time suitor Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he was told by the Glazers directly that the club “is not for sale“.
The announcement goes on to explain that they will be examining plans on everything from “stadium and infrastructure redevelopment… expansion of the club’s commercial operations on a global scale”, to the “long-term success of the club’s men’s, women’s and academy teams” before taking next steps.
They also reiterated that the fan base’s interests will also be considered as much as stakeholders. Yeah, we’ve heard that one before…
News of the club being put up for auction was first broken by The Athletic, who reported that the much-maligned American owners had instructed their banks to handle the sale of the sporting giants.
Shortly after that, Sky News revealed that the share price of the club rocketed by 17% following the rumours alone.
Speaking in a rare statement from the two, co-chairmen and directors Joel and Avram Glazer said: “As we seek to continue building on the Club’s history of success, the Board has authorized a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives.
“We will evaluate all options to ensure that we best serve our fans and that Manchester United maximizes the significant growth opportunities available to the Club today and in the future.
They also insisted that they will “remain fully focused on serving the best interests of our fans, shareholders, and various stakeholders.”
Whether what happens next is a full-blown agreement to sell or simply an invitation to welcome other investors on board, it is thought that the incoming parties will also be American. It also thought that were they to sell, they will be looking for offers between $5-9 billion.
It has also been confirmed that banking giants Rothschild and Co. will be acting as the exclusive financial advisor to the Glazer family shareholders and all those financially invested in the club.
Before fans get too carried away, the club did reiterate that “there can be no assurance that the review being undertaken will result in any transaction involving the Company” and no further comments will be made until an official decision or breakthrough has been made.
This earth-shattering news comes just hours after the Red Devils confirmed the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo by way of mutual agreement — an outcome that seemed significantly more likely than the club being put up for sale.
Manchester United are approaching nearly a decade without a league title and have won few trophies in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moreover, despite numerous additions to the squad itself down the year, the consensus has long been that the club has seen little investment from its owners — certainly not with their own money, anyway. With that in mind, a done deal or not, this is a momentous day for United fans around the world.
While we don’t expect a decision before the end of the year, Reds may finally be able to put their Glazers Out banners down in the near future.