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Manchester United
Posted by Mark Payne on 08/03/2012

As has been widely reported, Manchester United are on the brink of offering hugely overpriced shares through the New York stock exchange. For the past seven years United fans have learned more about the nature of hedge funds and aggressive takeovers than we ever thought necessary. These past few weeks, it seems as if a new low has been reached.

On Thursday morning, Sir Alex Ferguson took the unusual step of issuing a statement to refute reports he will gain personally from the float. This is atypical because, until now, he has been benignly supportive of the ownership regime.

In 2005, the takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family had two enormous impacts on our club. Firstly, it loaded massive debt onto a previously profitable organisation. Secondly, it divided the fans. This is the greatest tragedy.

I wish FC United of Manchester the best of luck. It is not on my agenda to call those involved with that club traitors, as some do. Nonetheless, I am a Manchester United fan and I follow the team. Seeing the Glazers take so much money out of the club feels like watching a close relative suffering from a dreadful illness.

Those sums of money should not be underestimated either. There are reports that we have paid out more money in bankers fees and interest since 2005 than Fergie has spent on players in the last twenty years. It makes one weep. It also explains why Juventus are poised to sign Robin Van Persie and we are not. It also explains why Real Madrid have enticed Luka Modric and we have not. I could go on.

Although there are as many opinions as people, it is hard for any but the most pig-headed to say they have completely abandoned loyalty to the club. We are all upset about this, but a culture of blame is not going to solve anything. The club must prevail, looking at the fates of Portsmouth and Rangers is a sombre warning of what could happen.

“I've spent 25 years of my life pushing this club forward and not only could I not have done it without those fans, I do it for them”, said Sir Alex this week. Being angry with him is not going to solve anything. Divided we fall, United we stand.

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Posted by Shahdil on 08/03/2012

You can't expect Fergie to speak out against the Glazers. In the corporate world that would be blasphemy and a fallout between the two parties would more than likely occur, resulting in an end to the Fergie era. No Manchester United fan wants that.

The timing of the floatation coupled with the amount supposedly to be spent in paying off the debt has a lot of fans and the media asking questions. And rightly so. Nothing about it makes sense. The financial industry is close to the bottom, consumer confidence is just as low. Putting up the IPO at this stage is a huge financial risk.

Whether Fergie gains from this floatation or not is nobody's business. MUFC is a corporation, unfortunately. And we have to live with it. If the owners decide that Fergie should be awarded with a bonus, that's their decision. Some say the concept of conflict-of-interest comes into play, but Fergie, supposedly, doesn't make any business decisions except for player transfers.

Posted by Shahdil on 08/03/2012

There's no denying that these are worrying times for Man Utd fans. The debt has definitely prevented Fergie from buying the players that we need, no matter what he says.

All I can do is hope that the business decisions currently being made are made in the interests of the club, the players and the fans.

No matter what happens, we will always be United!

Posted by Merlin on 08/03/2012

Just asking. What if SAF is actually telling the truth? That the owners don't get involved in how he runs the club. Yes SAF have used less money on players, but you have to take in to consideration the Ronaldo sale. Without that sale he has almost used as much money as pre-glazers.

In the Glazer years we have won 4 PL-titles, and been in 3 CL-finals, won one of them. That's the most successful period in the history of the club.

Is this as you say: "feels like watching a close relative suffering from a dreadful illness"

SAF has no history in buying "world stars", the only one who already where a world star before he joined the club was Veron. That did not work out well.

The football has gone crazy with big money transfers the last years. I feel that United fans are hurt that SAF don't jump on that bandwagon. But SAF has always said that a player have to want to play for United, not come here because we pay the most money.

I for one don't feel the same hate as you.

Posted by Merlin on 08/03/2012 out of letters.

The Glazers have, as we know, used a lot of "our" money to pay out debt. But they have also made our income considerably bigger since they arrived. They are being able to handle the debt, make a very good profit, and buy the players SAF want.

I'm just saying, be careful for what you ask for. We don't know what the alternative could be. As long as we are successful, on and of the pitch. I'm with SAF on what have we to complain about?

Posted by Kelvin on 08/03/2012

The Glazers are a net negative on the club. Zero cash up front for a levarged buy. Pay themselves directors fees, and take low interest personal loans from the kitty. Debt loaded back onto the club, which was running its business side well, and became better after the americans came...but now has to perform at this high excellence level just to stay afloat.

Its no longer a club..its purely a business. And THAT hurts the fans.

Its not a MAN Utd problem, its an EPL problem. The only way out seems to be to be to hurt the team financially and most fans won't do that.

Posted by LOTR Patriot on 08/03/2012

"Divided we fall, United we stand." Inspirational.

Posted by yomi on 08/03/2012

SAF dis glazer family are indeed bad family i swear if fergie loss out on van persie, and lucas moura and sell nani to real madrid i wil depart united and go to chelsea who spends stupid club! divided we fall

Posted by Maxitaxi on 08/03/2012

I agree with Merlin. Would United be a better team without the Glazers, debatable? Many people on this blog decry Chelsea and City for the money they spend, yet lack of dominance. How would we feel if oil rich sheiks bought our team and plied us with multi millionaire mercenaries, would we be the same rock n roll United we grew to love and support.

Blame the United Board who in early 2000, sold off our team to speculators to raise money. They allowed J P McManus, John Magnier, Malcolm Glazer etc, to buy shares without caring where the funds were coming from, only happy to get their hands on the money.

Why not look at the IPO shares as a souvenir. How much do you pay for that United kit, or even a pen? I think $16 dollars for the right to say you own a small piece of the team is not that much. People sell land rights to planets and naming stars after you for much more than that.

It is what it is and as long as we can attract the best managers, never mind players, we'll be OK.

Posted by Robbo on 08/03/2012

yomi, you are what is referred to as a 'glory hunter'.

Please go and support Chel$ki, they deserve you.

United fans will stick by the club regardless of who we buy and how we do. We stuck by the club in the 70's (2nd Div) and 80's and will certainly stick by it until we die.

Posted by marwan on 08/03/2012

We trust in sir alex. Ferguson no matter what happens or new players to come we had the most British manager in the history and the man united fans don't what to for our sir because he knows what,s right for the club he spent 25 year in his life time.... No matter what happens we always united

Posted by Stretch on 08/03/2012

What type of owner would you rather have? One that spends boatloads of money, yet interferes daily with the inner workings of the club causing turmoil and dissent and instability, or one that supports the manager and lets him run the team the way he wants to run it. For all the money the Glazer's have pulled from the team, I don't think SAF has lacked the funds to buy whomever he wants. If he doesn't buy RVP, he has a darn good reason. Glory, Glory Man United!

Posted by Mike on 08/03/2012

oh wow, the endless suffering of United fans, i can't believe you've only had 4 more titles and a champions league, how do you get through the days? SAF doesn't like buying megastars not because the Glazers shut off the $ supply, but because he has (sometimes misguided) faith in the stars he's already bought. SAF doesn't strike me as a person who would accept being subordinated by anyone, let alone some wanky capitalists from america, he would just leave

Posted by Odia on 08/03/2012

Well' know matter wat i still remen united till i die also pray to God to help us.

Posted by aussiered on 08/03/2012

Yosi there is a bus leaving O T shortly, Ive paid for your ticket now f••• off.

As for the Glaziers yes they have improved turnover etc etc but have they increased the % available for transfers by an equal amount? That is the acid test.
We should only sign quality that wants to play for the shirt not those who just want to be paid by the shirt.
And that is where the problems start.

Posted by Paul Scanling on 08/03/2012

Troubling times for Manchester United? You finished second last season. How troubling is that? You are consistently among the best in Europe. How troubling is that? While you may not agree with the business model and you may be able to sign every player you wish, you are not in financial difficulty. You are in no danger of having to sell players just to pay this month's wages. You are in no danger of administration or liquidation. You are in no danger whatsoever.

Play Up Pompey! (for one more week?)

Posted by joshua on 08/04/2012

though am still young,but i've supported only united 4 as long as i can remenber nd i've always tried not 2 allow the administrative side disturb me,but ever since glazers took over i can no longer escape it cos news of our indebtedness is now in everydays paper.So i say eventhough our turnover have been increased during their time,they're slowly taking the football out of the picture,nd putting administration in in d forefront nd dats were dis kinds of tins always leads to 'administration'. I seriously pray 4 change

Posted by Ifalade Toba on 08/04/2012

SAF has said it rightly,the Glazer's plans(whatever it is) depend on the success of United on the pitch.So,I think they'll back SAF with the cash if he thinks he has spotted a game-changer(a player who could turn the tide in Utd's favour ala CR7).The supporters have the right to gripe as the Glazer's are stealing their money,they want the money to get into the gaffer's hands to buy the aesthetically pleasing players of their dreams rather than seeing them wind up with City or Chelsea.

Posted by smile Law on 08/04/2012

i'v supported United, ever since I knew club football... But believe, there have been board and management problems, but United are just too professional to let it disturb our game on pitch... Yes, there are oil well and Russian oil money clubs, but just one Trophy making club in premiers, and that is United... All thanks to the king, (SAF), and not the, $ & £'s... I'll only be furious, the day, SAf will retirE, and not the debt of the club yet.. GGUN

Posted by Tapiwa Mubonderi on 08/04/2012

Mark I am sorry for earlier not seeing the problem with the Glazers when the green and gold campaign was done. You were correct MUFC is not in the best of hands with the Glazers. This flotation shows they are not well meaning in that they cannot afford to retire the money borrowed to buy MUFC. How can they look to offer 2nd class shares to the public? It is unfortunate that they gained control of the club. Clubs should belong to members and not be abused like what we are going through.

SAF may not necessarily be wanting all the players he is bidding for but doing it increase the cost of other clubs to get that talent. Like Nasri, Tevez, Hazard, Modric and Sneijder.

Posted by YA Schmidt on 08/04/2012

Did you see the "deal" the Glazers just worked with GM? Only an American owner could take the US Government, er, GM management, to the cleaners like that! British owners would never have dared ask for that much money! How's turnover looking, now?

$190M from share sale. Check.

$599M from shirt rights. Check.

Sell a few shirts in Asia (and of course, new sponsor, new shirt purchases, because who wants a shirt that says "Aon", when they say "GM" on the TV?)

Debt? What debt?

All the oil money in the world can't by SAF's desire to win. As long as the Glazers can keep MUFC competitive in the market, he'll teach his $25M players how to beat other teams' $40M players.

Posted by Nuradden on 08/05/2012

We were agree & intrested with the comment of our best coach sir alex farguson said! As well as a man utd fans. Thank u for giving me the oppotunity to express my comment.

Posted by Urmstonian on 08/05/2012

Mark, your correspondents are right, we shouldn't complain too much. We'll come at least third next season. We could come second if Abramovich takes a bit too long to realise his new manager, nice guy though he is, isn't up to the job. Manchester City will self-destruct soon (though maybe not next season) as they always, always do. And Financial Fair Play will be good for us. True Reds may have to grit their teeth for a year or two but we'll be back at the top because We'll Never Die.

Posted by brasilboy on 08/05/2012

People like this MUST correspondent are so sad. Seem to think they are the club and because the club has moved on they are sour. You are not the club. Indeed, the majority of supporters don't want you constantly griping at the club so go and find another to oppose.

Posted by Bello ibrahim on 08/05/2012

SAF pls,try nd change ur managerial attitude toward transfers.Bcose in ftball taday quality players matters,had'it been we hve strng team lst yr the story wl b dffrent.e.g our mtches against everton nd wigan.

Posted by Kevin Cho on 08/06/2012

The only reason Glazers invested in MUFC is because of SAF. Without him, we wouldn't have MUFC and the title of "the richest club in the world." Because of this, SAF CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL HE WANTS - whether that be in the transfer market, investments in youth recruitment system, imporvement in training facilities, etc.
For the past 7 years, we have paid back about 450m pounds (correct me if I am off please) and we have about the same amount left to pay back. I would say the only football club in this world that can pay back the debt is only MUFC - emphasize the world "only." Come on lads, do you really believe we are going to be the same as Leeds? Rangers? No - we are the biggest club in the history of the world.

Posted by Kevin Cho on 08/06/2012

Also, what I found common in these threads is that fans fail to see the big picture or the long term benefits. If we end up paying the money back, we are going to be a club that generated about a billion pounds in profit in a decade.
Think about it in the long term folks, I think in about 5 years time, our bills will be empty as the brain in Suarez's head.

Posted by Pitchfork on 08/07/2012

What exactly have the Glazers done do benefit United. People are saying that we have been successful during their time but what specifically did they contribute to that success. NOTHING. All they are interested in is making money out of the club, they dont care about the club itself. When the time comes for them to make some real coin, they will sell. The only thing we can hope for is that they havent bled the club dry and that the new owners wont saddle the club with the debt that the Glazers did. I dont blame the Gazers for this. They are just businessmen. It's the EPL that are to blame for allowing club's to be taken over and owned in this manner.

Posted by Aroking on 08/07/2012

Football clubs are huge businesses these days. We should be lucky that the Glazers, as owners do not interfere with the club footballing decisions, hence keeping SAF and his team intact season after season with the sole focus of winning trophies. The Glazers obviously saw a huge business opportunity when buying the club back then. Commercial revenues from sponsorships, matchdays etc have increased many folds since the takeover. So can we seriously say that the Glazers have not done anything for the club other than debts to banks? To their credit, despite the flaks from fans, they have chosen to go about as quietly as possible. No one is above the club. MUFC is what it is today largely due to the support of the fans.

It is amazing to see how many other fans are wearing the MU jersey while walking in a major shopping complex last Saturday. It then dawn on me that we are the BIGGEST football club in the world!

Posted by Shadi on 08/14/2012

Well, it doesnt look like Man Utd shares are the only thing will plummet this season. Our ranking will our play too & our quality players. Glazers are killing our beloved club. They will NOT spend any money to get quality players, they make SLF look for cheap deals. It looks like we're becoming Arsenal in this matter (dont spend & get young players)& just like Liverpool we'll only talk about our rich history while our glory days are history. In a few years maybe we'll be in the 2nd DIV. Rooney was right when he said the club lacks ambition. New world order. City & PSG are taking over the glory days. We're way far from a good champions league glory. We're lacking in the middle & the back. Even in front, Chicha & berba are good players but not good enough to play for United. FACT!!. We lost to Basel & Bilbao last year, how low can we go for our calreless owners to do something. City PSG Barca Madrid & Munich are miles.

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