TAMPA: American sports entrepreneur Malcolm Glazer, most controversial of all the foreign owners in English football, has died at 85.

Glazer’s death was announced by Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his National Football League franchise; he leaves six childen, all of whom own 15pc of Manchester United.

He took over United in May 2005 in a deal which brought the term ‘leveraged buyout’ into common football parlance since the debt of the £800m purchase was weighted against the club, raising uncertainty over the club’s ability to compete at the top financial end of the transfer market.

A United spokesperson said: “The thoughts of everyone at United are with the family tonight.”

Tampa Bay paid tribute to New York-born Glazer as a “pioneering thinker” and a “dynamic business leader.” The Buccaneers, under his ownership, won the Super Bowl in 2007.

Despite opposition from United fans, the club under the ownershp of the Glazer family have won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the 2007-08 Champions League.

Born in Rochester, New York as one of seven children, Glazer took over his family business at 15 after the death of his father and went on to thrive in professional business, owning or becoming a substantial shareholder in a number of renowned public companies.

Glazer is survived by his wife Linda, six children – including United’s co-chairmen Joel and Avram – and 14 grandchildren.