The Official Website for Michael Knighton

Bio: Michael Knighton:

Michael Knighton



Michael Knighton 2001

Born in the heart of England – with a made in England stamp running through his centre – Michael Knighton is an entrepreneur, an artist, a poet, a political commentator, and, so some respected writers claim – English football’s “greatest visionary”.

Michael Knighton does not make that “visionary” claim for himself. That is a view put forward by those of the more intelligently perceptive and benign observers who have followed his remarkable story from when he first shot to fame with his £30 million pound bid to purchase the Manchester United Football Club a quarter of a century ago.

There are those in the sporting world that say Michael Knighton was the very man, indeed , they say he was in fact the “Big Bang” in professional sport. In other words –  he was the catalyst that triggered the race for all sporting entities to pursue a radical business model ( the same model he gave to Manchester United when he joined the board of directors on 25th October 1989) which encompassed, as its principal raison d’etre, the drive towards pure naked commercialism as a means of increasing revenue. He reasoned that only by employing such a business model could a sporting club enhance its organisation’s profit and hence improve its facilities and compete at the highest level of the particular sport in which it was involved. Writers have described  Michael Knighton’s blueprint thus: ” It was a visionary plan , one which has now been adopted by football clubs across the globe.” (Daily Telegraph 2009) . …  ” It was his vision for the club….. that truly distinguished Knighton from anyone else….” ( Manchester Evening News – 2009.) Why pundits hold this view of Michael Knighton is outlined in the forthcoming book, “Visionary” – Manchester United and Michael Knighton’- published in 2014 to celebrate the 25th anniversary year of his bid to buy Manchester United FC in August 1989.

But there are controversies that have surrounded his life too – especially in association with his one time ownership of professional Football League Club , Carlisle United. They are controversies of which some individuals working in the media have made much. Such issues are fully detailed and explored in the forthcoming book. Indeed,  some of his critics even go so far as to say Michael Knighton is a man who deliberately courts controversy – a situation that Michael Knighton categorically denies.

Michael Knighton At Old TraffordIn 1989, pictures went around the world of a 37 year old man juggling a ball on his head feet and shoulders from the football pitch half way line, to the Stretford End goal mouth in the famous Old Trafford stadium. Old Trafford (famous home of Manchester United) had never see anything like this in their entire history. Old Trafford is known throughout the world as “the theatre of dreams” this is because of the great names and events that surround this British sporting treasure. Manchester United, according to the vast majority of market research, is nowadays the most famous and biggest sporting brand in the world. Many commentators say that Michael Knighton played a profound and vital part in creating this sporting brand and then helped to turn this organisation into a financial juggernaut which came to dominate football in England for much of the last 25 years. Even the erudite and much respected journalist , Michael Crick , former BBC Newsnight Political Editor – now the Political Editor at Channel 4 TV News –  and  a commentator who is considered an expert on the affairs of Manchester United – has said:

” there is a strong case for saying that Michael Knighton had a more influential role in the recent history of Manchester United than many of the club’s managers,directors or footballers. ” ( The Boss: 2002).

Back in 1989 as a way of introducing his £30 million pound bid to purchase the club –  Knighton performed his ball juggling act in front of over fifty thousand people without dropping the ball showing his skilful control until he smashed the ball into the net of the Old Trafford Stretford End goal. His panache and inimitable style captured the attention of the sporting world and this episode has now entered football folklore as one of those rare episodes that stay writ large in indelible ink in the minds of those who witnessed this extraordinary event. It was certainly a novel and dramatic way to announce his arrival on the football and business stage.

Twenty five years ago Michael Knighton proclaimed that he would to turn Manchester United from a comparatively failed business organisation into –  “the greatest global sporting brand in the world “(MK Blueprint 1989). ” I’ll turn this club into a £150 million leisure vehicle” (Financial Times 1989) ” I’ll make this club – Kings of Football “.(MK Blueprint 1989)  This he certainly did. But perhaps not in quite the way he had anticipated at the time. ….” We pretty much followed the plan that he laid down.” ( Michael Edelson Deputy Chairman Manchester United FC  – Daily Telegraph 2004. )

But his talents are not limited to the world of sport. It recently emerged that Michael Knighton is the man behind secret artist known simply as ‘KP’ or Kongthin Pearlmich. This name had long been a mystery in the international art world because the artist had always refused to identify himself. Indeed, ‘KP’, had become the international artworld’s version of billionaire recluse, Howard Hughes. When Knighton’s artwork and highly praised creations went on display at Cambridge University in 2008, ostensibly for a strictly private view for the  Canterbury Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter ( who represent the cathedral and the Archbishop) and who control and manage the cathedral – the work caused an international sensation. The work sat comfortably alongside such august company as Sir Peter Paul Rubens masterpiece , “The Adoration of the Magi”. But no one could discover who the artist ‘KP’ was. The artist simply refused to identify himself to members of the cathedral’s dean and chapter and this fact seemed to unnerve the cathedral’s powers that be – they decided against exhibiting the work in Canterbury.

Knighton’s artwork has received high praise. The general public are very enthusiastic and complimentary about Knighton’s artwork , but , art connoisseurs and fine art experts – wax positively lyrical. Indeed, Tim Kendrew, former senior executive of internationally renowned Christies the fine art auctioneers and who previously headed-up Christies auction house in Sydney and Melbourne , his father , Major General Sir Douglas Kendrew , the one time England Rugby Union Captain – was the Governor of Western Australia said:

“Michael Knighton is a creative genius. He has fantastic and original art ideas which he is able to bring into artistic reality. The Cambridge exhibition displayed  fine examples of his talent. He is a very fine artist in his own right. Michael has the potential, if only he would stop hiding the light of his artistic talent under a bushel, to go down as perhaps one of the most notable artists of the third quarter of the twentieth century. Michael is up there with the very best of the living modern day artists which we see around the art world today” – Tim Kendrew formally head of Christies in Melbourne Australia.

But Michael Knighton sees himself more of a poet than an artist. He has written over three thousand poems. Selected Poems: Vol 1 , published in October 2014 , shows the power and substance of some of his work. Michael Knighon’s anthology , Selected Poems – Volume 1  and Volume 11 –  are available from this website. ( register your book order interest on this site )

Michael Knighton is profoundly interested in world issues. He is particularly interested in philosophy, and , in international systems of government. He is especially interested in how the world can eventually eradicate child poverty throughout the globe.