Hard to Understand Hatred of Glazers

March 12, 2010 at 5:11 am | Posted in General Football | 8 Comments

Malcolm Glazer  became the owner of Manchester United back in 2005.  He and his sons run Manchester United.  They were not greeted warmly by a good number of United fans. Some even turned their back on the team and formed their own club, which, by the way, has had success in some small form. While some saw the downfall of United in the Glazers, the record of the club has been fantastic since they took over.  Under the Glazers Manchester United has won the Champions League, appeared in the final of another Champions League, won three Premiership titles, and two League Cups.  No a bad haul.  One would think this would have shut up the doubters and the nay sayers.  In fact, with such a record, you would expect the fans would raise the Glazers on their shoulders for a victory lap.

But no, a fan movement to get rid of the Glazers is picking up steam, and a group known as the Red Knights is looking to buy the team from the Glazers, even though it is not for sale. From my perspective I find the hysteria over the Glazers to be incredible in light of the success they have brought to United on the pitch.

The Glazers have a number of strikes against them in the eyes of many Manchester United fans: first of all they are Americans, and second of all they are Jews.   Don’t put it past the fans of Manchester United to be xenophobic and anti-semetic.   The fact that the club is 700 million pounds or so in debt is not enough to explain the virulent hatred of the Glazers, so I fear the hatred comes for different reasons.  The banners unfurled at Old Trafford did not say “I disagree with the financial basis upon which the club is run,”  but “love United, Hate Glazer”.

There is no doubt the debt of Manchester United is worrying.  The amount of debt in football in general is worrying.  However, revenues of football clubs have been on the increase, in spite of the massive economic downturn in the global economy.  Given that Manchester United is rated by Deloitte as the third richest football club in the world with revenue in the 2008-2009 season of 278.5 million pounds, is the problem so huge that people need to panic? Remember 278.5 million pounds is the revenue alone, not the net worth of the club, which could be in the range of 2 billion pounds.  Any new owner will have to purchase the debts as well, so if the debt problem is so bad, why are people even considering buying the club? All of the rancour simply does not add up.

Manchester United are the best run club in the best league in the world.   It has financial worries, but I always thought the measure of a football team was success on the pitch, which Manchester United has had in abundance since the Glazers took control.  There is no sign that there will be less success in the future: quite the contrary. United  demolished once mighty AC Milan 7-2 over two legs in the Champions League,  recently won another League Cup, and currently sit atop the Premiership. It all makes it look like the anti-Glazer movement is filled with chicken littles, who are predicting the sky will fall on their heads.

Most any football fan in the world who supports a club other than Manchester United probably wishes the sky would fall on their heads in the same way!



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  1. Revenue doesn’t equal profit. Most of the revenue went to servicing the Glazer’s personal/business debt, which they hoisted on the club when they bought it. Most of the $80m from the Ronaldo sale was ploughed into debt servicing (paying interest) rather than new players or paying off debt. It isn’t a tenable situation for ManU, and the fans know it. Why it’s turned so vitriolic is beyond me, but I can see why it started.

  2. http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=4741

    The other telling image of the evening was Avram Glazer, laughing as the chants against he and his family got louder and louder. Maybe it was an act of bravado. Maybe it was an open act of contempt aimed at those that are so vocally attacking him and his family at the moment. The effect was strangely chilling. The Glazers, the message read loud and clear, aren’t going anywhere. And this is the problem for the green and gold protests. The Glazers may have a moral responsibility to leave the club, but they had no moral reasons for buying the club in the first place. The issue of whether they should leave the club or not is already a redundant one. We already know that they should. There is nothing illegal about what they are doing at Old Trafford, either. Perhaps there should be some sort of laws against cultural vandalism, but that is a different matter. It’s the fundamental weakness in the green and gold process. The Glazers won’t go anywhere unless they want to, and they don’t have to either. There are no shareholders to please other than themselves, and, if they want to strip the cupboard bare on the way out, then no-one can stop them from doing that, either.

  3. Mean spirited statements have long been part of the game, in Damned Utd. the Leeds fans did it to Clough and what kinds of fans would set a car on fire (or firebombed as some stories say) as happened to Demarcus Beasley, US International playing in Scotland (and Beasley is a Ranger, so I guess they think Celtic fans did it, I have no idea)? And let’s not forget the big commotions that have affected Mike Ashley at Newcastle or the owners of Liverpool as well (I think Gillete, American owners again). Now the ‘Red Knights’ have shown up, officially Fergie has to say he has no connection to them. I don’t know the situation properly, I don’t know when Beckham will be back in the MLS but I’d be inclined to boo him for wearing a green and yellow scarf (but then, I can’t be a real judge of his motivations). Still, I know that movement has been around for quite some time before these recent events.

    Good article and comments. I’m not too familiar with the issues at play here, only the generalities of it.

  4. Nobody but Jewish narcissists care that they’re Jewish. They are parasitic capitalist who bought the club with money leveraged against its assets which they have begun to strip. I’ve never heard their Jewishness mentioned ,ever, in criticism of their behavior and intentions. The smiles while they’re being hated tells you their real interests, and it’s not Manchester United, its history, or the fans who make it.

  5. What assets have the Glazers begun to strip? You speak as though the club is in decline yet they are first in the Premiership and headed to the Champs League final again…

    • I’m not super up on this, but I think selling Ronaldo, even though he clearly wanted to go, could be seen as stripping the club of an asset, considering his transfer fee went straight to paying off interest/debt. Other than that, I think it’s mostly unrealized asset stripping; that is, it just looks highly likely, given the state of their finances and the near-miss they had before they sold a 500 million pound bond or whatever last year.

      According to EU Football, “six members of the Glazer family have borrowed amounts totaling GBP 10 million from the club which do not have to be repaid for five years. The 322-page document also indicates that the Glazer family has taken GBP 10 million as administration and management fees from Manchester United.”

      and: “The club also refers to provisions being made to redistribute around GBP 70 million to the parent company for “general corporate purposes, including repaying existing indebtedness”.”

      and: “Among other details that have come to light are that as of June 30th 2009 the club has entered an agreement with SLP Partners, a company connected to the Glazers,for a deal worth GBP 2.9 million-per-year. The club promises to terminate this agreement under the terms of the bond issue. However, payments to the Glazers may continue in other forms because the club has reserved the right to make payments of up to GBP 6 million per year to “one or more entities related to our ultimate shareholders for administration and management services”.”

      So, asset-stripping may be over the top, but using club funds to pay off personal debt and to pay themselves through their other companies is pretty accurate and may amount to the same thing.

  6. I’m not so sure about this. Have they had success? Absolutely. But why don’t you read up on how far into debt United is now.


    Please check out my blog. I’m new.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think when you look at the overall worth of Manchester United the debt, while large, is manageable in my view. I don’t buy the conspiracy theory that the Glazers are just using Man U as a cash register. People need to see the whole debt issue in the context of the Global economic meltdown. Once the economy recovers I am sure we will see Man u in better financial shape.

      Good luck with the blogging! I liked your World Cup memories. Take a look at mine and you will see I am much older than you!

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