Glazers in no mood to sell stake in United
Manchester United bought for €989m nine years ago but valued at over €2.3bn by ‘Forbes’
Manchester United fans protest against the Glazers at Old Trafford. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
The Glazers have no plans to sell Manchester United in the near future, with the club’s controversial American owners determined to be in place for at least the next five years.
The news will not be well received by supporters dissatisfied by the family’s ownership model, which heaped about €880 million of debt on to the club when Malcolm Glazer bought it in 2005.
The anger felt towards the six-strong family of five brothers and one sister, who now control United following their father’s death in May, flared up again after Saturday’s shock 2-1 defeat by Swansea City at Old Trafford – the first time United had lost an opening home game in the Premier League era, in what was Louis van Gaal’s first competitive match.
That prompted some fans to blame the owners for the lack of transfer activity since June, when Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera were bought for a combined €70 million, and vent their fury on Twitter. The #GlazersOut was used more than 100,000 times, according to Topsy, an official Twitter aggregator, and there are tentative plans to protest against the Glazers at United’s next home game, against QPR on September 14th.
Despite the recent share issue, which earned the family about
€111 million and raised to 15 per cent the amount of the club ceded by the Glazers to outside interests, the Guardian has learned that they are intent on continuing as proprietors.
While the share issue had no material effect on who controls United, it once more caused speculation that the Glazers may be preparing to cash in by selling the club. In May, Forbes valued United at about €2.32 billion, meaning the family are now in charge of an asset that has more than doubled in value from the €989 million they paid nine years ago.
With United experiencing exponential growth commercially, the Glazers are content with the direction of the club, according to high-ranking sources at Old Trafford, with the aim to continue marrying the on-field success of recent years with the expansion of its global profile. While last season ended without a trophy under the disastrous tenure of David Moyes, the owners have a long-term vision, which has been accelerated in recent years.
Last summer the club finally started its own Twitter account, which now has more than three million followers, while United’s Facebook page is equally as successful, drawing more than 55 million “likes”.
The commercial department says United have 690 million fans worldwide.
The Glazers believe the increase in United’s number of sponsors, which stands at 35 globally, plus recent lucrative blue-chip deals will continue.
Despite United not being in the Champions League for the first time since 1995, the club was still able to secure a record €939 million kit contract with Adidas in July that starts next season. The club’s Carrington base has been rebranded as the AON Training Base in a naming rights deal signed in 2013, worth €225 million, while other blue-chip agreements include the €59 million a year paid by Chevrolet to be shirt sponsors.
Although proving unpopular owners – the €876 million interest loan was replaced by an equally controversial €626 million bond issue in 2010 – United has experienced its most successful era since the Americans took charge. Since 2006, five titles, one Champions League and three League Cups have been won, with United also reaching two more European Cup finals. The debt has also gradually been reduced, although it still remains at an eye-watering €369 million. Guardian Service