With the latest set of financial results at United, it will surely have dawned on even those blinded by our team’s success that the Glazer business model just isn’t working.
In previous years, the club have found some straw to clutch to and claim remarkable success in the profits of the club. In so doing, they carefully ignored the results of Red Football, the holding company that pays the debt, whose results were slipped under the door to much less fanfare weeks later.
Tellingly, the board have not even tried that transparent ploy this year, and have refused to comment to those journalists that have approached them to do so.
It’s now almost 4 years ago that the Glazer’s took over United despite fans concerns and the hand wringing at the FA.
In that time we have seen;
- Ticket prices up 60%.
- Record turnover.
- A record shirt sponsorship deal.
- A record TV money deal.
- A restructure of the debt (although the banks walked away from a second one just 12 months later).
- ‘Official partners’ for everything from watches to tyres.
- The hated Automatic Cup ticket scheme.
- Staff redundancies.
- Net transfer spend vastly reduced from previous years, with what has been spent being put on increasingly extended payment terms. A net PROFIT on transfers in the last accounts of £21m.
4 years of trying to tap into commercial opportunities that the PLC had apparently failed to do.
Despite all the above, the club is still unable to service the debt, let alone pay any of it back. It now stands at £649m, up £45m from the year before, as the hedge fund interest was just rolled up into more debt – again.
If the Glazers cannot turn a profit on the back of being European champions, champions of England, more expensive tickets, vastly increased commercial income, and a huge profit on transfers, when will they be able to?
Simple answer – they won’t.
Two other elements of the results, although smaller in scale, expose the attitude of the board.
Donations to the Manchester United Foundation, the charity formed to give opportunities to young people and communities they live in, decreased from £1m in 2007 to £388,000 in the last accounts.
In the same period, David Gill’s salary went up around £300k, another year on year rise, his first payment from the Glazers having been 30 pieces of silver in 2005.
No wonder they [Glazer Family] have kept quiet.