Manchester United is one of the richest football clubs around with one of the highest incomes of all in the world, accumulating £ 627 million last season, unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. But they are not free to reinvest all that money back at the club because of the Glaser family.
Those who have criticized United fans for protesting against the Glazers’ ownership of the club do not understand the main reasons for this. At first glance, detractors see that there was a net cost of £ 1 billion in the transfer market, and suggest that United supporters should be happy.
But this completely misses the point of what is happening here. In short, the club is actually crossed by the American family and should pay to have them as owners.
United are estimated to have a cumulative £ 1.1bn because of Glazer’s ownership.
The most vocal ignorance so far comes from Graham Sunes, who said that the coverage of the match against Liverpool on Sky Sports was postponed due to protests, that United fans are angry only because of the recent drought of the club trophy and each club should be happy with the level of spending. He also made false allegations about the initial takeover in 2005.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Jamie Carragher has emerged as an incredible ally, trying to set a record in this regard by hitting the “lazy student” for whom Sunes is guilty and demanding that anyone who expresses an opinion understand the facts.
The recent scandal with the European Super League was the catalyst for the latest protest rounds, but anger at the Glaser family has existed since day one and most likely reappeared in 2010 before Sunday’s events. During the 2010 Green and Gold Movement, United ruled the Premier League champions from back to back, played in the previous two Champions League finals, winning in 2008 and winning another national title and reaching another final in 2011
The very nature of the takeover in 2005 was controversial and has been extremely costly for the club over the years. Most of the funds needed by the late Malcolm Glaser came from loans secured by the club’s own assets as collateral. After the takeover was over, United, which had been out of debt for decades, was immediately plunged into hundreds of millions of debts.
The payment of interest on this debt is the most significant burden. Emphasizing the numbers, a football finance blogger Swiss Ramble puts the price of interest for United at 704 million pounds. About £ 244 million of the debt has been paid off, while the club has also paid £ 125 million to members of the Glaser family as dividends.
The total cost (so far) of owning United’s Glazers: £ 1.1bn.
These costs are equivalent to 16% of the club’s total income after the takeover. Every year she goes out of the club’s income, which stops spending on other things. Imagine losing part of your salary to service a long-term debt imposed on you by someone else while they are earning.
You wouldn’t last. Even if you still survive, think about what more you can do or achieve with the money lost. It’s the same for United.
United have spent a lot on transfers over the last 16 years, but without the Glazers actively raising money during that time, there would have been far more to reinvest in all parts of the club. It is crucial that it is not just a matter of buying players, but also of improving and maintaining the infrastructure.
Old Trafford is in poor condition compared to some modern Premier League stadiums. Manchester City are investing heavily to turn Etihad Stadium and the surrounding area into a world-class facility, while Tottenham have a brand new stadium, Chelsea plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge in advance, and Liverpool have recently undergone a major refurbishment of Anfield.
Meanwhile, the leaking roof of Old Trafford, the best way to illustrate the issue, has been a joke for a decade. Similarly, United’s training ground is no longer the standard winner of English football.
In the same 16-year period that United spent £ 1.1bn on Glazer’s property alone, only £ 185m was spent on Old Trafford and the training ground.
The fact that United has scattered money in the transfer market due to a poor recruitment strategy and inefficient senior management is irrelevant here and a completely separate issue.
Critics would point out that most clubs would be grateful for United’s facilities and spending power as they are. But when the club earns significantly more than it is able to spend to develop as a successful sports institution, there is a big problem.
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