Will Manchester United’s Current Woes Force the Glazer’s Hand?

Much of the frustration and analysis of casual observers regarding Manchester United’s dip in form this season has been around new manager David Moyes. But the analysis has failed to recognize the slip in competitive position in the transfer market inflicted by the club’s American owners.

The Red Devils commercial revenues worldwide are roughly similar to Barcelona or Bayern Munich, but both of those clubs have twice or three times the spending power of United currently. The Glazer’s leveraged buyout of the club in 2005 was always going to lead to some kind of long-term financial pain, and while some of Manchester United’s transfer business hasn’t helped (losing Paul Pogba, spending £18 million on Ashley Young and £27 million on Marouane Fellaini), the amount of money leaving the club on non-football related matters annually is alarming.

The attempts to float shares of the club publicly and refinance via multiple American hedge funds in 2010 was again simply a measure to put off the pain for some years. From where I sit, United’s competitive position has been eroded in the English game even while the club was collecting trophies. The pain that was always going to come United’s way has now hit front and center at a time when Chelsea and Manchester City have wealthy big-spending owners while Arsenal’s Emirates hangover has ended and now can open up the purse strings.

Despite the Glazer’s plunging of the Red Devils into debt, United’s global footprint is greater now than any time prior to the Glazer takeover. The work the ownership group has done expanding the brand recognition of United outside of Europe has to yield greater sponsorship and commercial dollars in the near future. But this perhaps is a long-term fix when the short-term problems that now exist were due to the way in which the Glazers financed the club takeover and then refinanced its ownership five years later.

If United fail to finish in the top three this season, does this force the Glazer’s to change their management approach or even sell the club?

10 thoughts on “Will Manchester United’s Current Woes Force the Glazer’s Hand?”

  1. If they fail to finish top 4 I’m sure there’ll be a few allegiances changing amongst the more fickle members of their support.

    1. Is there any track record to suggest that United fans will start supporting other clubs?

      Even with other clubs like Liverpool that have fallen on harder times, I think it’s more likely that you stop accumulating new fans more than your fans go to support other clubs. I don’t know anyone who used to be Liverpool fan and is now supporting City or Chelsea. I DO know a lot of new fans who support City/Chelsea/United who probably wouldn’t have considered supporting Liverpool because Liverpool hasn’t won the league in a long time.

      1. Maybe the only obvious example would be F.C. United of Manchester.

        But that’s more hardcore fans really bothered by the Glazer ownership and backing their dissent with tangible actions. I am not sure though if I would call this a case of fickle fans switching allegiances.

  2. The invaluable Anders Red (you all know him) and his evaluation of United’s balance sheet reveals that the debt levels are actually the lowest they’ve been since the Glazers leveraged up the balance sheet in the ’05 takeover. They’re in the best position to buy players that they’ve ever been in the Glazer era.

    Ferguson (rightly, he earned it) ruled the roost and they let him handpick his successor. Moyes could grow into the job but his team selections show that he’s in over his head.

    Mourinho publicly begged for the job (remember “the better team lost” last season?) and still SAF went with Moyes. United have made their bed, they now have to sleep in it.

    The “Glazers selling MUFC” is similar to the “Hal Steinbrenner wants to sell the Yankees” rumor. Both franchises are absolute cash registers and the probability of a sale is very low.

  3. He is going to want to keep them a UCL side so as to milk the revenue stream from sponsorships, commercial, etc.

    No question about that. It would be idiotic to allow such a cash cow to have a wilderness period.

  4. I’m not a Utd fan so maybe Im reading it wrong but I think people at the club always knew the transition wouldn’t be all smooth sailing. I imagine they had some notion this would happen. If they miss out on CL it would hurt, but making a managerial change wouldn’t get them in, they’d start next season anew with the players Moyes wants to bring in. Just my opinion but the continuity and stability that United had under SAF did a lot to expand their brand globally. I think they would want to try to hold onto that instead of being another knee-jerk reaction super club.

  5. I pray these pple drop the club for big spender like Arabs cos football is not like how they spend now. Man city has the better players copare to us and they still spend ,so I wonder why they refuse to spend ooooo.

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