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Analysing Manchester United’s crippling debt under the Glazers

Avram and Joel Glazer, the co-chairmen of Manchester United, have frequently found themselves in the crosshairs of disgruntled Red Devils’ supporters.

This year United experienced another underwhelming Premier League season, finishing sixth in the table.

While the team’s performances hit a new low under departed interim manager Ralf Rangnick, United’s debt has increased, while the players’ salaries rose by 20%. 

And instead of cutting salaries as a punishment for achieving their lowest points tally in the Premier League (58), the Old Trafford powerbrokers have created a ballooning wage bill. 

The Glazer family’s poor management of the club saw the Man United fans hit the streets to protest loudly against the under-fire owners on several occasions during the 2021/22 campaign.

Devastated by another heartbreaking season, the fans accuse the Glazers of loading the club with debt while at the same time investing in the market without any due diligence. 

Man United’s disastrous transfer policy over the years has seen the club overpay underperforming players, which is a cause of unrest among supporters. 

Has Manchester United’s debt burden held the club back since 2005? 

According to the latest financial statement released on May 26, it seems so. 

United’s gross debt in 2006, a year after the Glazer’s takeover, stood at £604 million.

Now, 16 years later, the Red Devils’ gross debt has dropped by a mere £8m, highlighting the negligence of the ownership and explaining the rage and despair amongst the Old Trafford faithful. 

That sounds particularly worrying, considering Man United have had £7bn worth of revenue in the club in that same timeframe, suggesting the owners have continued to take money out of the club without reducing the club’s debt.

Since acquiring the ownership of Man United in 2005, the Glazers have paid out £838m in interest on the debt they took out to buy the club.

In the meantime, they have spent ludicrous figures on ‘reinforcing’ the squad, only to see the Red Devils go five years without winning a single title for the first time in the Premier League era.

And while the Glazers have secured themselves a staggering profit of over £1bn, United’s debt has increased, once again pinpointing the owners’ careless management. 

The fans’ mood is unlikely to improve anytime soon, as the club, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, promised to pay the dividend to its shareholders, most of which will go to the Glazers.

Man United’s official report says: “The bi-annual cash dividend of $0.09 per share will be paid on 24 June 2022, to shareholders of record on 6 June 2022.”

The announcement has not gone down well with the Old Trafford support, triggering a wave of anger on social media. 

Renowned British academic and author Kieran Maguire took to Twitter to explain how the Glazers plan to pay an £11m dividend to shareholders despite losses of £27m for the quarter. 

After draining the budget, the United chiefs will now focus on spending the money ‘more effectively,’ which is likely to cause all sorts of problems for Erik ten Hag’s bid to overhaul the squad he inherited from Rangnick.

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