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BBC Glazer investigation

June 7, 2010

The American tycoon took control of United in May 2005

The BBC are set to antagonise Manchester United once again with a Panorama documentary airing tomorrow night. Into The Red, an investigation into the Glazer family’s ownership of the club, claims that the family are £1.1bn in debt – £400m more than previously acknowledged.

The corporation previously irritated manager Alex Ferguson with a 2004 programme that suggested agent son Jason was exploiting his father’s position. Jason was never found guilty of behaving improperly and Ferguson Snr now refuses to speak to the BBC; Match of the Day viewers have heard from assistants Carlos Quieroz and Mike Phelan after matches rather than enjoy the views of the manager, as is customary.

Ferguson has, along with chief executive David Gill, repeatedly defended the Glazers but his opposition to fan dissent seems to have softened in light of the renewed protests which have dominated matches at Old Trafford since the turn of the year.

Whether the club will respond to the new allegations remains to be seen – the BBC news story suggests they have not done so as part of the programme. But if true, United could be in even more trouble than originally seemed. Alongside the aspersions cast on the Glazers’ business acumen – and the multiple debt restructuring since the 2005 takeover suggest there is some truth in this – the future of the club looks uncertain.

The programme airs on BBC One on Tuesday, 8 June at 10:35pm. It will be available for a week on BBC iPlayer.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Higham permalink
    June 7, 2010 12:33 pm

    There is no doubt that the Glazer’s have huge debts, however the BBC article commenting on this programme is somewhat misleading. I don’t think the article makes a clear distinction between the debt owned by the club and that of other ventures. The debt of the club remains at the £700 million always touted.

    Obviously the Glazer’s should never have been allowed to buy the Club with the Club’s own assets, however this is an issue with business law and is a completely independent issue. The overall value value of the Glazer’s assets amounts to approx £2 billion (Tampa Bay Bucs: $950 million, United: At least £1 billion, plus shopping malls and other investments) whereas the debt is £1.1 billion. This gives overall value of £900 million and suggests the Glazer’s are very shrewd business men.

    • Ben Winstanley permalink
      June 7, 2010 12:52 pm

      Factoring in Tampa Bay suggests they are indeed in comfortable profit, but I would argue the very fact they’ve restructured the United debt since taking over suggests they don’t always make the right calls – so too the fact that United only made a profit last year because of the £80m sale of Ronaldo. There is only one player left who could command that sort of fee. I accept that is an issue for the club rather than the Glazers – and you make a good point that the BBC article doesn’t distinguish between the two. Hopefully the programme will make it clearer and give a better overall assessment.

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