While their bitter rivals Liverpool are sweating over a takeover that could decide their future, Manchester United have today revealed some worrying financial results of their own. The club which for so long was the financial powerhouse of the Premier League lost a staggering £79.6 million.
The news will only add further pressure on the clubs controversial owners. Ever since their takeover of the club in 2005 the Glazer family have hardly had the most welcoming reception from United fans, with a ‘Green and Gold till United are sold’ protest launched last season.
But the Glazers have always insisted a sale was never going to be an option and it seems as if the figures released today haven’t changed their mind. Current Chief Executive at United David Gill even described the figures as “very good”.
He said: “There is no pressure at all to sell any star player whether it is Wayne Rooney or X, Y or Z. I can categorically say that. I can’t speak for any other club but the United fans should not be concerned.
“We have a long-term financing structure in place, excellent revenues that are growing, we are controlling our costs – total wages are 46% of turnover – and we can afford the interest on our long-term finance.”
Now I’ll admit that I am no financial expert but to me a loss of nearly £80million doesn’t sound “very good”. What made the Glazers so unpopular in the first place was that their proposed business plan accepted that there would be a big debt and therefore the club would make losses as they looked to pay back the debt.
This threatened United’s on the field point of view. It meant that the big name signings might dry up and that they would have to find a new way of staying at the top of the English league.
In many ways this is exactly what has happened. In the Glazer era only Dimitar Berbatov has arrived for a top end transfer free, and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has turned his attentions to younger players for the future, as well as the development of his academy graduates such as Daren Gibson and Johny Evans
But in my opinion two things have probably prevented failure during the Glazer ownership. The Glazers arrived at a time when Ferguson was building the Cristiano Ronaldo era and in many ways success was inevitable, couple that with the longevity of the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and Ferguson has been able to cover up the lack of big name signings.
However Scholes and Giggs are ageing, and Ronaldo has already gone, you have to feel that United will need to find funds for replacements. This will lie with the Glazers which will mean them digging in to their pockets.
When the Glazers have to dig in to their own pockets I highly doubt they will be saying a loss of £79million is good.