Manchester United – A Warning to Others

Half-way through the second half of last Saturday’s game between Manchester United and Burnley, two United fans draped a banner over the scoreboard at the Stretford End. It read: “Love United, Hate the Glazers.”

Within minutes, Old Trafford stewards had quickly removed the banner and then proceeded to aggressively eject the fans who had put it over the scoreboard. The ejection of the United fans, however, sparked the Old Trafford crowd into life with the whole stadium – bar the Burnley fans – chanting “Glazers Out!” This included the South Stand, which is not known to be vocal.

The appearance of the banner is significant. It sent out a message – that there is strong opposition against the Glazers. Opposition that will not allow the Glazers to bankrupt Manchester United.

United fans are now fighting back – angry that the Glazers have saddled Manchester United with debt over $1.1 billion. Signs that the Glazers are in major financial trouble surfaced with their NFL franchise team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFL has a salary cap. As an owner of a team you’re fined if you go above the salary cap, but you’re also fined if you don’t get anywhere near close to it. Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the brink of being fined for not getting anywhere near the basic minimum of the salary cap. The NFL doesn’t like teams to be uncompetitive – and it’s an example of the of the Glazers bad financial situation that they struggled to meet the required spending on wages set by the NFL’s salary cap.

The Glazers are in major financial trouble. They will have to refinance and find someone to buy part of the club. Last summer, the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo helped ease some of Manchester United’s debt. However, this summer, unless they sell Rooney and Vidic, Manchester United will not make anywhere near 80 million pounds.

The bond issue is confirmation of how much financial trouble the Glazers are in. The Glazers also published a prospectus stating that they want to sell United’s Carrington training ground and then lease it back. Many fans fear that United are on the first road to bankruptcy.

The 80 million pounds generated by the sale of Ronaldo has not been reinvested into the team. There’s no dialogue between the Glazers and the fans. The American owners refuse to acknowledge the fans. If you have dialogue with the fans, you’re able to diffuse the situation. But the Glazers have a militant attitude towards United fans and even to some extent toward the players. Season ticket prices have doubled since the Glazers took control. Demonstrations of any sort are banned and players are now banned from using any social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Last month, against West Ham, Manchester United were unable to play any defenders. That’s shocking for a club claiming to be the biggest in the world.

There’s something wrong at Manchester United.

Arsenal must never sell their assets to anyone who has to borrow money in order to buy the club.

What’s happening at Manchester United and Liverpool could happen at Arsenal in the future – that’s if Arsenal sell to a group or individual who borrows money and then burdens their debt on the club.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

KEEP IT ARSENAL

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