Vladimir Putin and Piers Morgan are unlikely candidates to change the course of Manchester United’s history.
Busby, Fergie, Best, Law, Charlton, Cantona… yes, all names for the ages.
But not the Russian president and the British TV presenter, who’s an Arsenal fan anyway.
But both have respectively contributed to ending a dark era and removing a bad dressing room odour at Old Trafford.
We’re talking sliding doors moments, but if Putin had not invaded Ukraine, the Glazers may not be selling up.
And if Morgan had not persuaded Cristiano Ronaldo to sing like a canary, the Portuguese would still be poisoning the atmosphere and undermining manager, Erik ten Hag.
Soon after Russian tanks rolled across the Ukraine border, the British government seized the assets of Putin’s cronies.
It meant that Roman Abramovich, as one of his closest, was forced to dispose of his beloved Chelsea.
And it’s the £4.25 billion that the Blues were sold for that has persuaded the United owners – along with Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group (FSG) – that it might be a good time to offload.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) snared Newcastle United a year ago and sovereign wealth funds and equity companies are still sniffing around European football, the EPL in particular.
The prospect of even larger sums for even bigger clubs looks a distinct possibility.
The news came out of the blue.
The hated Glazers had always appeared to be playing a long game. And recently denied they wanted to sell the club.
Treating United as a cash cow and milking it regularly for “dividends” and “management fees” has suited them very nicely.
But the demise of the European Super League (ESL) has made them think again.
Like FSG and other American owner-investors, they thought it would bring vastly increased revenues.
And the ESL’s no-relegation format would have guaranteed them.
Not that either the Glazers or FSG worried about relegation: but qualifying for the Champions League gravy train was anxiety enough.
Once that opportunity was lost, they’ve been waiting for a favourable time to cash in.
The higher-than-expected Chelsea fee and on-going Gulf interest suggest that moment may have arrived.
Liverpool acted first which, in turn, may have prompted the Glazers as they are looking for the same buyers.
It’s a case of gazillionaires only need apply.
Reaction from fans has so far been relatively muted – given the enduring hate campaign they mounted against them.
But United fans are wise not to be celebrating just yet. After all, it would be typical of the Glazers to stick out for a sum that might bankrupt a small nation.
But interest is coming from Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, who almost bought Chelsea, while David Beckham apparently fronts a consortium.
That’s just for starters.
Another reason for the muted fan response may be because the news coincided with the release – with immediate effect – of Ronaldo.
His antics this season have split opinion but the Morgan interview did appear the final straw in his relationship with the club.
The majority of United fans feel he went too far, but are also sad to see one of their legends tarnish his legacy in such a way.
It could also have been a tipping point for the Glazers.
Sequestered away in their Florida bolthole, they may have asked themselves: do we need this hassle?
So Morgan, with his astute questioning and by allowing Ronaldo enough rope to hang himself, may have also inadvertently played his part.
Football, as a whole – and not just United fans – will be glad to see the back of the Glazers.
Through their leveraged buyout they plunged the club into debt for the first time and reliable sources estimate they have actually cost the club £1.5bn in interest and dividends.
If that money had been given to Alex Ferguson, the mind boggles at the sort of players he could have signed.
Fergie did amazingly well in spite of the Glazers, not because of them.
And their greed directly contributed to the decline of the past decade.
Although they have splashed out on mostly the wrong players, they did not have a long-term strategy for building the club like FSG had at Liverpool.
Unlike Anfield, half of which will have been rebuilt by the start of next season, Old Trafford has been left to rot.
It’s so bad that knocking it down is a serious option.
The best thing now is for them to go quietly, accept a decent offer, and allow someone else to try to restore the club’s mojo.
And Putin and Morgan will have played bit parts.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.