Home » Swiss Ramble analysis reveals disgusting extent of Glazer ownership at Manchester United

Swiss Ramble analysis reveals disgusting extent of Glazer ownership at Manchester United

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United have been burdened with their parasitic owners, the Glazer family since 2005.

While the club remained relatively successful for an additional 8 years after they took over, this was largely due to the brilliance of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Since 2013 when the Red Devils won their last league title, United have been on a steep decline. Years of mismanagement and awful ownership seem to have culminated and finally caught up with the 20-time English champions.

Erik ten Hag has lost two of his opening games and with Liverpool next, this run will likely extend to 3. United are currently sitting bottom of the league and going through one of their most disastrous summer transfer windows.

Supporters have directed their fury and rightly so at the greedy Glazer family amidst talks of a hostile takeover from ex-director Micheal Knighton and even a cheeky stab by the world’s richest man Elon Musk

England’s biggest football is undoubtedly on its knees – the price United fans have had to pay for having the parasitic Glazers as owners. In a detailed analysis, financial blogger Swiss Ramble takes a look at the extent of the financial rot under the club ownership and how this has contributed to United currently being where they are.

As per Swiss Ramble, United are the only club to pay dividends to its American owners – a fact well-known within the fanbase. “Since 2016 they have paid a hefty £166m, averaging £22m a year. Note: the high £33m payment in 2021/22 included including £11m delayed from 2020/21.”

United also have the largest interest payment share, which rose to a mammoth £21m in 2020/2021. “United have now paid staggering three-quarters of a billion pounds (£743m) in interest since the Glazers’ leveraged buy-out in 2005.”

Over the last decade or so, the Old Trafford faithful have borne the brunt of a disgustingly astonishing £517m interest payment which represents nearly three times as much interest paid as the next club, Arsenal with £174m under the Kroenke family. Similarly, United’s loan repayments which stand at £147m are the highest in the Premier League, by a distance.

Even more perverse is the fact that despite purchasing the club on debt under a leveraged buy-out, United’s £592m gross debt remains virtually unchanged since the Glazers’ arrival. There has been little to no direct investment from the owners’ pockets into club infrastructure and the team. Old Trafford is a pale shadow of its former glory and the training facilities are in ruins, amongst the worst in the entire league.

Something that rival fans and Tv pundits have used to slam United supporters’ protests against the Glazers is the large amounts of money spent on transfers and big-money signings.

As per Swiss Ramble, “Glazer’s apologists will point to Manchester United’s massive transfer spend, which is a meaty £1.4 bln since 2012. Furthermore, £850m in the last 5 years was only surpassed by Manchester City & Chelsea Football clubs (both £992m).

What these people fail to understand while they undermine United fans’ fury towards the Glazers is that this is money the club has generated itself.

United’s owners have never put a coin of their own money into the club in which they are majority shareholders. Despite the club’s recent struggles, the Reds are still the biggest marketing and revenue-generating football sports entity in the world.

In fact, in the last 10 years, no owners in the Premier League have taken out more money than the Glazers have done at Manchester United with £154m (dividends £133m, share buyback £21m). In stark contrast, some owners have put in significant funds.”

United’s situation is worsened by the high wages and salaries they award their struggling stars. The club’s wage bill is the highest in England and is only eclipsed by Paris St Germain in Europe.

“Manchester United’s wages for the first 9 months of 2021/22 shot up to £288m, due to signing Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, which works out to £384m on an annualised basis. This is in line with the club’s estimate of a 20% year-on-year increase to £387m, which would be the highest ever in England.”

Player sales is another area of weakness at the Theatre of Dreams. Their profit from player sales puts them in the bottom half in comparison to their Premier League rivals.

The Red Devils are no longer the kings of generating money in England and have now been firmly surpassed by their noisy neighbours. Bitter rivals Liverpool from Merseyside are also closing in and could soon have the upper hand.

This could be attributed to a reduced volume of sponsorship deals due to poor performance on the pitch in recent years. One cannot help but think the situation will only get worse if things do not drastically improve.

What will shock supporters to their very core, is that there is a high likelihood that the Glazers have been secretly siphoning money beyond what is painfully apparent in the dividends they grab.

The Glazers may have also been quietly picking up directors’ fees, though this is not explicitly divulged in the accounts.

There are six Glazers on the Manchester United PLC board of 12 directors, so we could assume 50% of the total paid, i.e. £55m since 2010.”

However, the pick of the bunch is that the leeches at the top made a significant fortune by way of selling shares but the club did not benefit at all from the sale, despite being in dire need of player reinforcements after the most disastrous season in its history.

Finally, the Glazers have made a fortune by selling some Class A shares which work out to at least £465m (potentially £514m if underwriters took up the option to buy more shares). The club did “not receive any proceeds from the sale”, so only the owners benefited.

Putting these elements together, I estimate that the Glazers have taken out £1.1 billion from Manchester United (interest £743m, debt repayments £147m, dividends £166m, directors remuneration £55m & management fees £23m). Total cost to United rises to £1.6 billion if £465m share sales are included.”

“Although Ed Woodward once argued, “Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business”, we have seen that this isn’t really the case.”

“While United’s under-performance on the pitch will have been painfully evident to United fans, they would be justified in being unhappy with the lack of financial progress in recent years, when they have also been eclipsed off the pitch by their rivals.”

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