What does United's continued success say about the Glazers?
They may have been beaten by Arsenal on Sunday but, barring a minor miracle at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, Manchester United will underline their status as the stubbornly dominant force in English football when they reach a third Champions League final in four seasons.
After one of United's most convincing European away performances in Gelsenkirchen, last week, the formality of the second leg will surely be completed even if key players are rested.
Once a Wembley date with Barcelona is confirmed, Sir Alex Ferguson can then turn his attention to what appears to be a season-defining showdown against Chelsea on Sunday. Despite their opponent's recent revival, it is United who remain favourites, and a 19th league title, their fourth in five years, should be secured.
It is when put into this context that the true extent of Ferguson's achievements become clear but does it also demand a reappraisal of the club's owners too? The hundreds of millions of pounds of debt the Glazers saddled United with were, according to many, sure to bring decline by restricting the club's ability to compete in the transfer market. Yet United continue to accumulate silverware.
It was as recently as October that the club was traumatised when the talismanic Wayne Rooney voiced the fears of many fans by allegedly asking for a mega-bucks transfer to arch-rivals Manchester City. Rooney was openly questioning United's ambition and ability to compete for the best players.
He seemed to have a point. Three draws in a row had left United five points behind a rampant Chelsea, last year's double winners. And while the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez had left, potential replacements such as Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil were lured to Spain. The club still leaned on stalwarts like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and the next generation seemed raw and perhaps even a bit cheap.
Manchester United fans continue to protest about Malcolm Glazer's ownership of the club
Old Trafford is a fortress again, with no home defeat in 13 months. United's away performances in Europe, symbolised by the stellar showing against Schalke, have been as good as ever. Ferguson is building his fourth great United side.
And as the club stand on the verge of another European final and domestic title, Ferguson has been proved right when he defiantly told Rooney that United remained the place to be. Have the Glazers been vindicated too?
On Tuesday I asked Ferguson whether the owners deserve more credit.
"They don't have any criticism from me or from anyone in the club. I think that's important," he said.
"I think they feel comfortable with the way the club is run and how they conduct their business. We have absolutely no problem with that. It's always going to be an outside thing."
Ferguson has hardly flung praise in the direction of Florida over the years - he is too sensitive to those who wear green and gold for that - but he was under no obligation to answer my question. Yet he chose to do so and from what he said he does appear to be genuinely comfortable with the regime.
Clearly, the manager is in a somewhat awkward position but it seems unlikely a man like Ferguson would not make his feelings known if he was unhappy.
Off the pitch, too, results are improving. In February, the club revealed overall revenues of £156m for the six months to December, up 8% on a year earlier.
Commercial sales were up 30% to £50m, despite calls by the anti-Glazer campaign to boycott club merchandise, virtually ensuring United will become the first club to make £100m a year from commercial revenue alone. And the club's debt was reduced by 9%, albeit to a still considerable £489m.
Meanwhile, the Glazers' insistence that United is not for sale, combined with this season's good performances, has meant the air of rebellion that became a feature of Old Trafford last season has subsided.
There will still be plenty of green and gold on Wednesday but the mood will be very different from when Bayern Munich knocked United out of the Champions League here last year.
If all goes to plan in the next month, the Glazers will perhaps feel confident enough to walk out of Wembley with heads held high and point to two Champions League triumphs, four Premier League titles, three League Cups and a Club World Cup since their takeover in 2005.
But then again, maybe not.
The Glazers' recent decision to sue a fan who is alleged to have published the details of corporate customers on the internet proves there is a long way to go before peace breaks out. There are still many who believe the true cost of the Glazers' ownership is yet to be felt and United's continued success is more a reflection of the frailties of their rivals, rather than the qualities of those who run the club.
"Our success is in spite of the Glazers, not because of them," insists Ian Prior of the Manchester United Supporters Trust.
"They've been very fortunate to have a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson. We should be fighting for our 20th title, not our 19th. If we'd had the money to keep Tevez and to buy a creative midfielder of the calibre we deserve, we could have done even better.
"Success on the pitch has taken the wind out of our (the anti-Glazer movement) sails. There's always going to be a large section of the crowd who are happy when we're winning and only come because United are successful, but success only covers over the cracks and delays the inevitable.
"The really big question is when Ferguson eventually goes and who replaces him."
United fan Andy Green, the man behind the andersred blog which analyses football finance and ownership, agrees.
"Nothing changes the fact that the Glazers' financial structure has cost the club more than £250m in interest and bank fees in the last five years. Vast amounts have been transferred from the fans to the owners in order to pay for their ownership," said Green.
"That money could have been spent on halving ticket prices for everyone at Old Trafford for the next five years."
In March, United's parent company revealed losses of £109m for the year to June 2010. The net transfer spend in that period was £56m, less than Manchester City invested, of course, but also less than Aston Villa and Sunderland spent.
"The truth is that Ferguson is operating on a far tighter budget than other major European teams," said Green.
"If we have been scaremongering about the Glazers all this time then I'd urge them to prove otherwise. Give Ferguson a war chest so he can buy the centre-half, midfielder and goalkeeper we desperately need. Look at the way we're limping towards the finishing line. We've won just five matches away in the league all season."
United do appear to have been fortunate that their own transitional period has coincided with Chelsea's confusion over how to integrate Fernando Torres and Arsenal's continued inability to turn potential into trophies. Perhaps the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City and the somewhat laboured display at the Emirates were a sign of things to come, evidence that United have merely been postponing the pain.
Much depends, of course, on how one measures success and who United see as their competition. In 2009, United's fans travelled to Rome full of confidence they could beat Barcelona and win a second successive Champions League final. They were soundly beaten.
The fact that two years later United will start as underdogs, even at Wembley, is telling. While Barca have invested in the likes of David Villa and Javier Mascherano, United's team is largely the same, minus Ronaldo and Tevez.
In truth, the gap between the two sides has widened and deep down Ferguson will know this. He will try everything in his power to defy it, and may manage to, but he will know United have fallen behind.
Perhaps a better time to judge the Glazers will be later this summer when Ferguson goes to the board and asks them to release the funds required to purchase long-term replacements for the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Giggs, Scholes and Edwin Van der Sar.
Will the Glazers, for example, decide they can afford the £80m needed for Wesley Sneijder's fee and salary? Only then will we discover whether Ferguson enjoys the support that chief executive David Gill insists he does.
Until that time, no one can deny the Glazer era has been successful on the pitch and the gloomy prophecies of those that want them gone are yet to come to pass. But one also suspects it could have been even better if United were freed from the financial costs the Glazers' ownership entails.
Whatever the outcome at Old Trafford on Sunday and at Wembley later this month, the Glazers are a long way from winning the argument.