MUST on the attack as Glazers sell more United shares

MANCHESTER United’s owners, the Florida-based Glazer family,  are selling more shares in the New York-listed business than originally expected.

The sale of a further 2.5% stake in addition to the 5% previously announced, drew a fresh wave of criticism from the Manchester United Supporters Trust because the proceeds will go to the family, not the club.

In a stock market announcement the Glazers revealed they are to sell a further four million ‘Class A’ shares for $17 per share in addition to the eight million shares announced in late July.  In total the Glazer siblings who inherited the club after the death of their father, Malcolm, will make around £120m from the deal.

Duncan Drasdo of the Manchester United Supporters Trust said: “The problem with this share sale is, as usual, it’s all about benefiting the Glazers and does nothing for Manchester United Football Club as every penny will go into their own pockets.

“This is another frustratingly small step towards the exit but at least it is in the right direction. Most United fans wish they’d never come in in the first place and so the quicker they go the better. When you consider they’ve cost Manchester United over £1bn in debt interest, repayments, remaining debt and other fees it’s hardly surprising that they aren’t popular with United fans.”

Despite such criticism the Glazer have overseen an era of unprecedented commercial success at United, underlined by the world record £750m 10-year kit deal with adidas which begins in 2015.

Despite such progress, last season’s seventh placed finish and subsequent failure to qualify for UEFA’s Champions League competition means revenues will be down £30m in the current finanacial year.

Mr Drasdo believes restoring on-the-field success will be difficult.

“The biggest challenge for the Glazers is the huge increase in player costs which will be necessary for Manchester United to get back onto a competitive level with the best in Europe.

“That will eat into profits and slash their valuation figure but if they refuse to allow the club to re-invest its own revenue then it won’t just be the fans kicking up a stink. You can guarantee that Adidas, Chevrolet along with Mr Potato and the Hong Kong Jockey Club will all be putting pressure on too.”

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