Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, were again put in the spotlight by fans dissatisfied with their administration of the 20-time English Champions.
The Athletic reports that Joel Glazer has remained silent over a grilling that took place where United’s owners were held to account by the fan advisory board over their poor and greedy administration of the club.
According to The Athletic, “The justification for dividends was a prime topic, with Glazer grilled on why money was paid to shareholders from club funds even when the team had its worst season since the Premier League was formed and United as a company made a £115.5million ($130m) loss.”
United as a club saw dividends in excess of £33.6m paid out to its shareholders. Expectedly, the Glazers took the lion’s share of this sum.
Even more astonishing is the fact that United drew down on an additional £40m in available overdrafts, increasing the debt burden on the club’s shoulders.
David Ornstein adds, “Glazer was said to have listened at length to the criticism, as supporters pointed out the disconnect between stated aims of sporting success and shareholders getting money whatever the results on the pitch.”
The candid forum was held over Zoom and was the third attended by Joel Glazer since the Super League debacle.
The first two lasted for about four hours each. This most recent meeting is said to have also been more or less the same duration.
Beyond the issue of dividends and overdraft payments, the other items on the agenda included stadium redevelopment, the Glazer family’s long-term intentions and plans for United and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s publicly declared interest in purchasing the club.
Joel Glazer was accompanied by Chief executive Richard Arnold, football director John Murtough, and chief operating officer Collette Roche.
The minutes of the meeting are curiously never published so as to make the conversations ‘more candid.’
It remains to be seen whether the Glazers act on the deliberations made. On past evidence, this is an unlikely outcome and only sustained pressure will get fans what they want.