Michael Edelson

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Michael Edelson
Michael Edelson.png
Born John Michael Edelson
(1944-07-07) 7 July 1944 (age 71)
Oldham, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Residence Manchester
Nationality British
Other names The Shellmeister
Alma mater Bury Grammar School
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Director of Manchester United F.C.
Spouse(s) Jacky
Children Emma and Laura

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

Edelson was educated at Bury Grammar School and joined his family 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 F.C. 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 £1billion 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, 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.com. ASOS.com now has over 2,000 employees and is the United Kingdom's largest independent online and fashion beauty retailer.[2][3][4]

He is currently Chairman of Daily Internet plc, a non-exec director of Fastnet Oil and Gas plc and on the Board of a number of smaller private companies and charitable trusts.

[5][6][7] During the 1980s, he was a judge on the Miss World Pageant, one of the few people to have judged three times. He sat alongside Eric Morley and celebrities Bruce Forsyth, Shirley Bassey, Susan George and Placido Domingo amongst others.

His daughters Emma and Laura run their own niche corporate finance Business, Oxygen Ventures.

Manchester United[edit]

Edelson has been a non-exec Director of Manchester United F.C. 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 the first of a younger generation brought onto the board by Martin Edwards to replace the "old brigade" who had served Manchester United so well since the Second World War, when he replaced Sir Matt Busby on the club's board. Twelve months later, he was joined by Bobby Charlton and Maurice Watkins, the club solicitor.

During his long period on the Board he has seen a variety of ownership periods ranging from the Edwards family through the Michael Knighton saga to being a quoted PLC, failed attempts to acquire the Company from Robert Maxwell,Rupert Murdoch and Sky television to the Red Knights and the most recent period of ownership by the American Glazer family, a successful period during which United have won three Premier League titles, three League Cups, one Champions League and one World Club Championship.

Edelson was instrumental in the appointment of Alex Ferguson as the manager of Manchester United in November 1986. On Ferguson's 25th anniversary at the helm of Manchester United, Edelson, Edwards, Charlton and Watkins relived the day they made the appointment.[8][9][10]

Current positions[edit]

  • Director of Manchester United Football Club Limited since 1982
  • Director of Fastnet Oil & Gas Plc
  • Manchester United Foundation + (Trading) Ltd.
  • Trustee of several charities
  • Chairman of Daily Internet Plc.

Past positions[edit]

  • Director of ASOS plc,
  • Director of Prestbury Group plc,
  • Director of Chelford Group plc,
  • Director of Host Europe plc (previously Magic Moments Internet plc),
  • Director of Knutsford Group plc,
  • Director of Mercury Recycling Group plc
  • Director of Singer and Friedlander AIM3 VCT plc


  1. ^ Doward, Jamie (7 November 1999). "Knutsford - there's no City limits". London: The Observer. 
  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". London: The Telegraph. 
  4. ^ Warner, Edmond (15 October 2004). "He sells, see shells ... an invitation to view". London: The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Foster, Geoff. "Yesterday's trading in detail: Precision tool maker Renishaw ripe for a takeover". This is Money. 
  6. ^ Lyons, Tom (4 December 2012). "Fastnet Oil is set for €25m market debutIt's the first Irish flotation since 2007". Independent Ireland. 
  7. ^ "Sterling Green Group acquires Terra Energy in reverse takeover". Manchester Evening News. 
  8. ^ Lawton, Matt (20 April 2014). "The Kingmarkers of Old Trafford!". London: Mail Online. 
  9. ^ "United 'got lucky' with Fergie". Sky Sports (BSkyB). 
  10. ^ Ogden, Mark (1 November 2011). "Martin Edwards: it will take a brave man who takes on job to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United". London: The Telegraph. 
  • The Kingmakers of Old Trafford! - Matt Lawton, The Daily Mail 05/11/2011 [1]
  • United 'got lucky' with Fergie - Sky Sports 05/11/2011 [2]
  • Martin Edwards: it will take a brave man who takes on job to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United - Mark Ogden, The Daily Telegraph 01/11/2011 [3]
  • Staveley seals her biggest deal - City A.M, Harriet Dennys 31/10/2011 [4]
  • Frank exchange over Busby exit points to trouble after Fergie's retirement - Charles Sale, The Daily Mail 31/10/2011 [5]
  • Shellmeister takes 'nutty' theme for AIM return - Kevin Feddy, Manchester Evening News 05/01/2005 [6]
  • Cash shell companies storm back into business - Martin Baker, The Sunday Telegraph 02/05/2004 [7]
  • He sells, see shells ... an invitation to view. Edmond Warner, The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2004 [8]
  • Knutsford - there's no City limits - The Observer - 7 November 1999 [9]