Home » Manchester United forced to be “cautious” because of Glazer greed

Manchester United forced to be “cautious” because of Glazer greed

by Darragh Fox

The almost unrivalled greed of the Glazer family is responsible for Manchester United feeling the pressure of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, as well as forcing the club to be “more cautious” than needed in the transfer market, according to a financial expert.

Keiran Maguire, a specialist in footballing economics, contends the American owner’s choice to continue taking dividends out of the club, without providing equity investment in return, restricts United financially.

Equity investment can help manage FFP calculations, as both UEFA and Premier League rules permit losses “if there is significant contributions from the owners” to balance them.

Such a contribution “will never be the case at Man United with the Glazers in charge,” Maguire asserts. The economist describes how this type of investment has been “spectacularly avoided” by the owners during their time in charge of the club.

In fact, the Glazers are “one of the only owners” to have actually extracted money from their club in form of dividends in this period, suggesting their greed exists in a league of its own.

United were recently stung with a fine by UEFA – for a minor breach in financial regulations over a period of four years – to the amount of €300,000.

The club attributes these irregularities to a “change in FFP calculation”, engendered by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic:

“This reflected a change in the way that UEFA adjusted for Covid-19 losses during the 2022 reporting period, which allowed us to recognise only €15m of the €281m of revenues lost due to the pandemic within the FFP calculation.”

While the fine represents a very modest one by footballing standards, Maguire believes it symptomatic of the Glazers’ style of ownership.

Their continued exploitation of the club’s profitability “ultimately does restrict United’s ability to comply with the financial rules”, as demonstrated above.

Their refusal to counter their dividends with personal investment also means the club are forced to be “more cautious than some fans would like to see when it comes to spending.”

While United have undoubtedly invested huge amounts in recent years, this is more a product of the club’s immense popularity, than any Glazer-influenced directive. Indeed, Erik ten Hag was reportedly unable to make permanent recruitments in January due to the owner’s demands, instead being forced to settle for loan deals.

This type of financial restriction illustrates the point Maguire is raising. Had the Glazers been willing, United would have been more than capable of spending in January. But the owners were not, so the club could not.

As the protracted takeover saga continues without a definitive conclusion in sight, Maguire’s analysis of United’s finances will leave fans even more frustrated with their club’s owners.

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