Michael Edelson

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Michael Edelson
John Michael Edelson

(1944-07-07) 7 July 1944 (age 79)
Oldham Lancashire, United Kingdom
Other namesThe Shellmeister
Alma materBury Grammar School
Known forDirector of Manchester United

Michael Edelson is a non-executive director of Manchester United. He is an angel investor, venture capitalist and philanthropist. He has been instrumental in creating numerous cash shell companies on both AIM and PLUS. As a result of his assistance in creating these companies, he was nicknamed "The Shell Meister" by Richard Rivlin in an article in The Sunday Telegraph in 1996, a nickname which has stuck to this day.

Edelson was educated at Bury Grammar School. He joined his family’s business upon leaving Sixth Form.


Educated at Bury Grammar School, he was an amateur footballer playing for Oldham Athletic and Stoke City Reserves between 1960 and 1964, before joining the family business full-time in 1964. In the mid-1990s, he took a stake in Conrad Continental Limited, an ailing Manchester textile company that was listed on the London Stock Exchange. After the conversion of Conrad into a cash shell, Conrad successfully acquired Sheffield United via a reverse takeover, and as a result a new route for companies to obtain a listing on a stock exchange had been created and Edelson's stock market career was launched.

In the late 1990s, he was involved in a flurry of similar deals bringing to market larger companies, such as Prestbury Group with Nigel Wray and Nick Leslau, The Pharmacy Restaurant in Notting Hill with Matthew Freud and Damien Hirst and most famously Knutsford where his co-investors were Julian Richer, Sir Archie Norman and again Wray and Leslau. Knutsford reached an amazing value of £1 billion within a month of flotation and the Knutsford story is quoted in many business schools around the world.[1]

He attracted many celebrity investors as he continued to float his shells, amongst them Alan Hansen, David Baddiel and Angus Deayton, as well as numerous other sportsmen and even the investment arm of Her Majesty the Queen. His reputation for fairness and innovation has reaped rewards for many investors.

As a result of all of the transactions, he was dubbed "The Shellmeister" by City journalist Richard Rivlin in the Sunday Telegraph, and the nickname stuck. He has now floated over 20 companies since Prestbury, some of which have performed spectacularly as a result of having brought in budding entrepreneurs, such as Abby Hardoon of Magic Moments and later Host Europe and Nick Robertson of ASOS. ASOS now has over 2,000 employees and is the United Kingdom's largest independent online and fashion beauty retailer.[2][3][4]

He is also the chair of the AIM-listed company SysGroup, which he originally founded, and remains on the board of a number of smaller private companies and charitable trusts.[5][6]

Manchester United[edit]

Edelson has been a non-executive Director of Manchester United since 1982. He was appointed to the board by Martin Edwards to replace Matt Busby, who had become club president earlier the same year. Edelson joined James Gulliver – who had built up the Edwards family meat business into the £4 billion Argyll Group – and Alan Gibson – the son of James Gibson, who was Manchester United's chairman from 1932 to 1951, and whose loans saved the club from extinction.

Edelson was one of the founder members of the Manchester United Foundation and remains a trustee on the Foundation's Board as well as being involved in a number of other charities.


  1. Manchester United and M.E. (December 2020) "Manchester United and M.E". 7 January 2021.


  1. ^ Doward, Jamie (7 November 1999). "Knutsford – there's no City limits". The Observer. London.
  2. ^ Feddy, Kevin. "Shellmeister takes 'nutty' theme for AIM return". Manchester Evening News.
  3. ^ Ringshaw, Grant (2 May 2004). "Cash shell companies storm back into business". The Telegraph. London.
  4. ^ Warner, Edmond (15 October 2004). "He sells, see shells ... an invitation to view". The Guardian. London.
  5. ^ Lyons, Tom (4 December 2012). "Fastnet Oil is set for €25m market debutIt's the first Irish flotation since 2007". Independent Ireland.
  6. ^ "Sterling Green Group acquires Terra Energy in reverse takeover". Manchester Evening News.