Once again the knives are out for the Glazer family and their handling of Manchester United’s finances. This time it relates to the children of the late Malcom Glazer receiving £2.5million each through director dividends. It is the latest in a long line of slur attempts against the American owners and their intentions for the Trafford based club.
The Glazers never purchased Manchester United and claimed they would be benevolent owners. It was clear from the start it was to improve their business portfolio. Much has been made about how loans they took to finance the deal are serviced by the clubs profits. It’s safe to assume unless a club is owned by an oil tycoon or Russian billionaire then it forms part of a larger business model. It can’t be denied that Manchester United have increased their turnover since becoming part of the Glazer empire.
Fans that cry foul how the Glazers service the debt with club profits never mention the moral ambiguity that despite being in the red, they pass Financial Fair Play rules. The debt against the club doesn’t seem to matter then. Nor do they applaud they Glazers for the large amount of cash they’ve spent on transfer fees.
During the takeover this was a major cause for concern, that if they had to pay a large debt then it would make United less able to compete in the transfer market. The Glazers understand that servicing a large asset requires continual expenditure.
They may have spent over £700m paying off the debt but that hasn’t prevented them producing transfer kitties that eclipse all previous ones seen at Old Trafford. And far from damaging United’s trophy haul, under their watchful eye they’ve secured Champions League success and five Premier League titles.
The weak counterargument for the recent upsurge in spending is Alex Ferguson saw his budgets restricted and the Glazers allowed the squad standard to decline. Ferguson has dismissed this as nonsense and said they never refused any transfer request. It’s clear he was just a better manager than his replacements and was able to extract a higher level of performance from players.
Even FC United of Manchester, the club formed in protest to the Glazer takeover, have altered their rhetoric in recent times. Once created with the sole intention of shunning the Americans, they now claim their stance is against the wider issues of money in modern day football. Even going as far to say they dislike televised games and would like a return to every game being played at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see if these views change once again if they climb further up the leagues and comply for cash handouts.
All the Glazers have been guilty of is increasing United’s turnover and performing the standard business practise of paying out dividends to shareholders. As they own 80% of the shares, it’s understandable they take home a sizeable portion.