Two clubs in the North West are facing very trying economic times, I hardly need to remind you of their names, they are Manchester United and Liverpool. The team from Merseyside have the threat of administration over their heads, after Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s disastrous ownership of the club, but there is at least a positive on the horizon for supporters of Liverpool. Hicks and Gillett’s terrible management of Liverpool has meant that they have had court rule against them, and this means that there is a real chance of a new owner taking over the club, which virtually every Liverpool is in favour of. So with Manchester United recently announcing debts of around £80 million, for the 2009-10 season, could they be facing a similar situation to the one that is occuring at Anfield?
I can’t say that I’m an economic guru, but to me Manchester United’s finances do not exactly strike me with optimism. United have a mountainous debt accrued after the Glazer family bought out the club, who secured the finances involved in the deal against the brand of Manchester United itself. The Glazers are also facing their own economic difficulties, with their Mall business in the United States doing badly, and the NFL club they own the Tampa Buccaneers in deep trouble, both on the field and in terms of finance. After being a powerhouse in the English game for the past twenty years or so, United could be set for a fall from grace if their economic predicament does not improve.
Manchester United are of course, a huge brand across the world and it is hard to imagine them going the way of Leeds United for instance, or even following Liverpool’s example of coming close to administration given the amount of money the club brings in. Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest managers in the history of the English game, and he is a winner, and you just cannot think of him guiding Man Utd to a position outside of the top four, something Liverpool have suffered in the past year and look like they might have to endure for a couple of seasons to come.
There is no doubt that the Glazers ownership of Man Utd has had a negative impact on the club. There are huge amounts of debt and United certainly face a somewhat uncertain financial future. But for some reason, almost just a hunch, I just cannot see Manchester United slipping down the table as Liverpool have, at least whilst Ferguson is in charge. United fans might hope however, that a new owner might express an interest in taking over the club, and if this was to happen it could only be a positive thing for Manchester United.