Are the Glazers really all bad?

By on June 2, 2010

Man Utd Glazers

By Simon Sparrowhawk.

I know this could be highly controversial, but are the Glazers really that bad for Manchester United?

A quick scan through the morning newspapers provides you with any number of different angles and views on the infamous American owners of the world’s biggest football club. United are £700million in debt. They can’t buy anyone. The money has run out. Sponsorship is up. Revenue is up. Turnover is up. Success is up too. It’s a minefield of spin and subjective reporting. If you like them everything is rosy, if you don’t, it’s all gone wrong.

Everyone knows about the ‘Green and Gold’ protest that has taken the Old Trafford faithful by storm lately. But do they all know what they are protesting about? And are those who do protesting with the real facts? It seems that the Glazer family are able to announce a new sponsorship deal every week, it may seem very small but it all adds up. The new shirt deal with ‘A-on’ is worth £20million a season for five seasons. That is £100million. Not bad for a club being dragged into decline.

Sir Alex Ferguson asked for £40million to spend on Nani and Anderson. He asked for £20million to spend on an injured Owen Hargreaves. He wanted £30million to spend on Dimitar Berbatov. He wanted £35million to bring Karim Benzema to Old Trafford. Did he get it? You bet he did. Ferguson has always got what he asked for at Old Trafford, if he didn’t he would walk. His dignity and power would be brought into question and Sir Alex would never allow that to happen. It’s not his nature.

Just because those “noisy neighbours” are willing to spend over £40million (yes, £40m) on Carlos Tevez, £25m on Emmanuel Adebayor, £26m on Joleon Lescott and another £18m on Roque Santa Cruz does not mean Fergie has to. If the best manager who has ever lived believes he will get better value from free signing Michael Owen then that is his choice. Owen outscored Santa Cruz this season for starters.

Granted, Tevez scored a lot of goals for Manchester City, nobody will argue with that. But, Wayne Rooney scored more. With Tevez in the side, would Rooney have scored nearly 40 goals? I doubt it! I also won’t argue that Dimitar Berbatov has failed to live up to his price tag so far, but if Sir Alex believes in the Bulgarian then I am willing to give him another chance.

Football is like life, money is not everything. Tevez, Adebayor and Toure may have a bigger pay cheque now, but they won’t have Champions League football next season. Money can buy you a lot, but it can’t buy you happiness. Chelsea proved as much. Roman Abramovich came in and spent an outrageous amount for Claudio Ranieri, but Chelsea did not win the league. Only when Jose Mourinho arrived did they become serious challengers. They may have been accused of buying the league, but there was more to it than that.

Now, I’m not going to argue that being over £700m in debt is a good thing for Manchester United Football Club. It’s not possible. However, I am also not going to accept that it is all bad. The Glazers could be better, yes. They could also be worse, Messrs Hicks and Gillett take a bow.

Oh and did I mention that Sir Alex himself called them “great owners” this week? Now I’m not going to call the great man a liar, are you?

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7 Comments

  1. Stephen

    June 2, 2010 at 11:11 am

    You mention the money that they have spent, however most of that is offset by sales.

    If you look at the net spend over the time they;ve been in charge it hardly amounts to anything in real terms.

    The plc spent far more…

  2. Simon Sparrowhawk

    June 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

    The point is not that the club has not spent money but that if Fergie had wanted to he could have spent much more. Just because others want to spend millions then that is their business…but the fact remains that United have won three league titles since Glazers took over and have let Fergie spend when he wanted to. If Fergie wanted £50m to buy one player, then he would get it. He felt that last summer there was no value in the marketplace and as much as I would like to see new faces he won’t just spend money for the sake of it.

  3. Chris

    June 2, 2010 at 11:43 am

    It’s really very simple for me: we sold our best player for £80m but we don’t seem to be allowed to spend the proceeds.

    I simply don’t believe Ferguson’s insistence that the money is there but he doesn’t want to spend it. It’s utterly out of character for Ferguson not to immediately spend any money he’s given.

  4. Stephen

    June 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    No value in the market.. Sneijder for starters.

    £50m for one player. I wish i was as optimistic as that .. No chance of that happening in my opinion.

    I’m not saying buy for the sake of buying but the fact is the Glazers haven’t put their hand in THEIR pocket apart from the 275m PIK loans, which they will repay from the club rather than their own pockets, whilst taking even more out as “management fees etc”

    FACT!

  5. BBC Panorama

    June 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Panorama’s Man United – Into the Red, a look at the finances of football, has been postponed until Tuesday, 8 June at 10.30 on BBC One.

  6. Sreeks

    June 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    It’s clearly a case of how well United have done in the last 5 years despite the debt, not in spite of it.

    Yes, our revenues have gone up and sponsorship has increased.

    In the end, where is it leaving us. A massive 30 million pounds in debt every season from the last. At the current rate, Yes, it is 30 million, We don’t have 80 million in incoming transfer fees every season.

    I’m not questioning their support to Fergie. He will get what he asks for. The Glazers biggest card is the managers support, and their ill concieved business model is working only thanks to him, both on the field and off it.

    Don’t be a wise ass to quote Fergie and go on to try put forward a notion, not one as glaringly stupid as proposing calling Fergie a liar because We think otherwise.

    Fergie only went so far as to say they’ve been great owners from his perspective, nobody (atleast not most of us) disagree with that.

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