Putting United’s debt and bond issue into perspective

Putting United’s debt and bond issue into perspective


Every Manchester United fan I’ve spoken to in the last week has said one of two things:

  • United are in deep, deep trouble. No money, players leaving, etc etc.
  • The press have an agenda against United and have found a golden opportunity to stick their boot in.

Like the sensationalist propaganda that’s passed for journalism in the English press this week, there’s some truth to the two points of view, but mostly it’s hyperbole, a lot of IFs and an acute failure to see both sides of the story.

The Debt

It’s true that United’s debt, higher than that of Arsenal or Liverpool and not backed by a billionaire like Chelsea or Manchester City, is a cause of concern and the interest payments represent an undesirable negative cashflow.

It’s also true that Manchester United were bought by the Glazers in May 2005, not December 2009, and none of this brouhaha about the debt is new.

Just as Liverpool successfully refinanced their 350m debt, Manchester United will be able to successfully refinance their debt through this 500m bond issue. The guarantee of success on the pitch from United is far higher than that of the likes of Portsmouth or West Ham and even Liverpool.

What’s important to keep in mind is that a) the Glazers, like Hicks / Gillett, have at least a 10 year plan for Manchester United and they would have factored in the debt refinancing in their initial proposal to buy out the club. No, they couldn’t have accounted for the worldwide economic downturn, but then again they wouldn’t have accounted for the remarkable success Manchester United has achieved on the pitch in recent years.

So does it suck that the club’s earnings are used to pay ‘debt management’ fees? Yes it does. Does it suck that Carrington may be sold and leased back to ‘get a depreciating asset off the balance sheet’? Yes it does.

But is the club in danger of going under? Not by a long shot. Is the club an institution that lenders will refuse to give money to? No. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent events in the global economy and in football, it’s that big brands rarely have trouble in borrowing money. The bigger you are, the more money you can get. Just ask Real Madrid.

Download the Man Utd Prospectus (2.4mb, PDF).

The Credit Facility

The option of United using their 75m credit facility has been taken as a further sign of financial instability (even though United haven’t used it yet and still have a profit from last year from which they can spend if needed). It’s not too long ago (summer 2007 to be exact) that Arsenal announced that they could use a 40m credit facility (Edelman called it a ‘player trading facility’) that was available to Arsene Wenger should he need to buy a player.

At the time, Arsenal fans and the press were bullish about Arsenal’s purchasing power. Over the last couple of years Arsenal have maintained that they can spend if they want to – based primarily on this player trading facility. The criticism for Arsenal hasn’t been the lack of funds on Wenger’s refusal to spend on experienced players.

Now that United have a similar (although almost double the size) credit facility, why is this being turned into a bad thing? Simply put, United can afford to buy players if needed. The reason that they haven’t is because a) Ferguson is loyal to his players and will give them all the chances they need and b) Ferguson doesn’t want to overpay.

The Performances

It’s true that United have not performed to their usual high standards established in the previous three seasons. It’s also true that if were to take out the first choice goalkeeper and several top defenders for any team in the Premier League for an extended period of time, they would struggle to stay in the top four, let alone put themselves firmly in middle of a three-way title race.

Criticism over United’s performances last year (led by the ABUs) masked the fact that what the club have achieved from 06/07 to 08/09 – especially given the despairing performances of 04/05 – is remarkable and unlikely to be repeated. Reach back to back Champions League finals (and a semi-final the first time) plus three consecutive league titles is the sort of stuff any modern-era non-United fan can only dream about.

So if United have injuries to deal with, and haven’t excelled as they did in past seasons, it’s part and parcel of being a football club.

One of the early revelations made about Glazers’ plans for United was about what the ‘average’ level of performance was expected by the new owners by United. From memory, as long as United were finishing in the top three and reaching the quarterfinals in Europe and in domestic cups on a regular basis, it was the baseline progress accepted of the club.

I think United have exceeded expectations, an injury-fueled half-season where they are still favourites to finish in the top three (cup competitions are a different story) should be more around the baseline but financially, this was already forecasted.


How often have the Glazers interfered in the club’s playing matters? The only time I remember the Glazers even being mentioned in the same sentence as ‘team affairs’ is when Real Madrid first made a move for Cristiano Ronaldo, prompting Ferguson to state that the Glazers were willing to let Ronaldo sit in the stands till the end of his contract.

In other words, 100% unequivocal backing of the manager.

And this backing has manifested itself in the transfer market as well – the arrival of Carrick, purchase of Nani and Anderson, the 2-year loan of Tevez, the expensive Berbatov and the overpriced Valencia have all come under the time of the Glazers. Yes, United would have been able to buy them if the Glazers hadn’t been there too, but the point is that when the manager has asked, the Glazers, despite the 70m / year interest payments, have backed the manager with the money.

Penny-pinching? Maybe everywhere else but not on the pitch, which the Glazers know is key to their long-term financial success.

Transfer Market

It’s been said that United have effectively earned a profit in player trading over the last three seasons. Whereas this would be seen as a good thing (considering the titles won during that period of time), this fact has been twisted into another ‘weakness’ for United. Take out Ronaldo’s sale and you have considerable spending for each summer.

At the time of Ronaldo’s sale it was widely accepted by all parties that ‘the player wanted to go’ and United had received a fantastic price for him considering that he was not willing to renew his contract. That sale was not a necessity, it was a matter of choice.

Whether United ‘must’ spend in the next two weeks is a different issue – what’s certain is that if Ferguson is sure about a player that he needs, he will go after him and will have the money to buy him. If Douglas Costa does not arrive at United and goes to Shakhtar instead for 6m, it’s probably because United rate Gibson / Anderson higher and are more interested in investing in the players already available. If United didn’t buy Adem Ljajic, it’s the Gaffer’s decision and we must accept that it’s based on footballing reasons.

Sure, United can stock up on players – but that hasn’t helped Chelsea win the title in three years, has it? You win titles by building teams, and United have arguably the best manager backed by sufficient funds to get the job done.

You can’t ask for more.

Sold Trafford / Firesale

Almost two years ago I joked about United selling off the whole squad and stadium to finance their debt.

It’s nice to see the press come around to making the same cracks, although unfortunately they seem to have jumped the gun and made them three months too early.

Selling Old Trafford? In your dreams. Not owning the stadium will harm Glazers’ chances of profiting from United’s eventual sale, it’s a major no-no. What’s more likely is that the Glazers will, after the debt has been refinanced, look at expanding Old Trafford in the coming years. It might even happen before Stanley Park gets built.

Selling Wayne Rooney? Not unless he wants to go, and he’s repeated said that he’s a United man. Notice the LACK of transfer speculation surrounding Rooney, to the extent that we’ve heard that ‘United may sell Rooney’, not that Rooney wants to go. If you analyse the Rooney situation with some sense of perspective, he doesn’t want to go and United don’t need to sell him, not to finance the interest payments nor to buy players.

Vidic? He doesn’t want to go, although Madrid are definitely interested. A summer deal is unlikely, but come summer 2011 and then United might look at it again. There are no obvious successors to partner Evans (and Brown is older than Vidic) so expect Nemanja to stay put.

Nani? Injured at the moment, so unlikely to move till the summer (when he could fetch more money anyway). If it happens, it’s a shame but we might as well move on. Berbatov? That’s a whole different debate.

Comparisons with Liverpool

Given their current problems on and off the pitch, it’s natural to draw a comparison between the financial health of the two clubs. Liverpool have a weaker playing squad than United, will hurt badly from not playing in the Champions League knockout stages and are struggling to qualify for the competition for next season.

But the icing on the cake (for United fans) is this – Liverpool’s future plans call for a 350m to 400m loan deal to build Stanley Park. Add that to the current 350m debt imposed on the club, and you’ll see that to grow, Liverpool will have to become as indebted as United. Better off than United? Definitely not on the pitch, and looking at the numbers as well as what United are able to spend on players, not off the pitch either.


Unless United fans are going to put together a fund to buyout the Glazers, there’s very little they can do. The Glazers are there with a long-term plan to build United up and then sell – so far for them, things are on track. Dispiriting as it is, us fans have little role to play except financing this plan, and the alternative – turning your back on the club – is one that each fan is entitled to.

But money? That’s not a problem.

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  1. Very good, well thought out and interesting article mate! I think some important things though need mentioning in this whole financial debt debate.
    1. The substantial increments in interest each year for the PIK debts. If Glazers only taking 70 million from bond money to reduce the debt, then there is still left three-quaters of the PIK debt isn’t there?
    2. Much lesser demand according to reports for corporate packages/hospitality, reducing further our annual revenue intake.
    3. Quite a lot of empty seats at games in OT, and tickets on open sale, some at really reduced prices which has never happened before this season for a very long time – that will decrease our annual income too won’t it?
    4. Loss of our greatest star players that always guaranteed bums on seats, with none of equal stature coming in. This won’t guarantee us full stadiums as we have always had in the past.

    I am not a whiz kid at all, financial world is alien to me, but I would be obliged if you have time to address some of the above points. Thank you.

  2. what a load of rubbish this article is, are u an expert in manures finances? do u know the ins and outs of the cats arse? manure are going down down down with the garden knobs incharge, selling ron is just the tip of the iceberg (no you didnt really need to sell to balance the books cos u spent almost 30m in the summer to) but if u didnt sell him you would lose 100m this season roo is next to go 50m should see u ok for next season, once manure fail to qualify for the chiimps league thats when we will see the implosion of the most biutter selfish club in english football and how millions will dance and cheer waving bye bye manure manure bye bye

  3. Best article I’ve ever read on the United/Glazers situation. Impossible to disagree with any of it, except maybe the bit about the expansion of OT – the Glazers prefer to ratchet up ticket prices so that the ground only just fills at the current capacity. They’d have to cut ticket prices back down to fill a larger stadium. Also the building work would limit capacity and hence revenues in the short term, which the Glazers can’t afford to do. Dreams of expanding the stadium will have to wait until the next owners.

  4. Awesome article.. So glad to see a true supporter like me backing the team on the pitch, trusting SAF and ridiculing OT n Rooney sales. They really cracked me up with that. Only thing i dont agree is with OVERPRICED VALENCIA.. I think he is an awesome buy, someone who looks quality, our only REAL threat from the mid and an extremely loyal, simple personality. He will never ask to move.

  5. What a complete load of clap-trap from an obvious ‘I have got my fergie blinkers on and we rule the world’ totally delusional Man U fan.

    Man Utd had to sell Ronaldo to avoid reporting a +30M loss in the last financial year, and that is why he wasn’t replaced, because Man U don’t have the funds. That is also why despite the smoke screen put out by Fergie and the club as to why Tevez wasn’t kept on the books, it was simply because they couldn’t afford to. The Glazers needed a positive upturn to report prior to announcing this Bond Issue re-financing having already reported a loss of +20M the year before, despite winning the Champions League.
    The sale of Ronaldo gave them that upturn from a +20M loss to +40M profit, but at what cost to the team!

    To try and suggest it has absolutely anything to do with Fergie being loyal and not wanting to overpay is a statement from Ga-Ga Land. As for overpaying, what about Nani et al? Get real.

    The City have already stated that the returns offered in the Bond Issue presentations doing the financial district rounds as we speak are a good few percent below what is expected, and the initial roadshow to dealers has only achieved a B rating from the City, which is as good as saying ‘steer clear unless you really like a wild card’.

    The team this year: Man U this year have performed woefully compared to their past how many seasons. Defeats to bottom half clubs, including a hugely underperforming old hated rival Liverpool side are solid proof that ‘they aint what they used to be’. Ronaldo and Tevez going and not being replaced has left a huge hole in the team, born out by poor results at home and away.

    ‘cup competitions are a different story’?
    No they are not, so why say they are? You were beaten at home by Leeds, a league 1 side, in the FA Cup so where is your strength in squad depth?

    Given the mess that Man Utd find themselves in on and off the field how on earth given the desperate position the Glazers are in is the icing on the cake Liverpool having the same amount of debt? What a narrow minded envious individual you must be.

    Going on simple facts, which your account seems to be seriously lacking in, Liverpool have debts of 237M, not 350M. By comparison and even considering the huge amounts of player spend currently underway Man City don’t have any debt, full stop. Man Utds wage bill is one of Europe’s highest, to Man City it doesn’t matter. And that’s why Rooney is not willing to discuss contracts until after the World Cup as he believes he will increase his own sale-ability following England’s hopeful successful world cup performance in the summer. Expect his wage increase to cause the usual ripple through the rest of the team and your wage bill has just sky rocketed again, for the umpteenth season on the run.
    Else he will leave.
    He is shallow, and will be dreaming of sunnier climbs already given the problems now being fealt at Man U. He is a lifelong die hard Everton fan, all his family are, and he even wore a t-shirt saying ‘once a blue always a blue’ when he started being mentioned as a possible future England star.

    Trust me he has no more allegiance to Man Utd than he did at Everton, probably much less, and as soon as they came knocking at Goodison his t-shirt and credibility on merseyside from the blue half disappeared as quick as his new Bentley did up the M62 to his new cheshire-set lifestyle an huge wage increase. Thats why he left Goodison, not beacuse he was signing for Man utd. Had Spurs or Arsenal been ‘the team to beat’ at the time he would be playing in London now, not at old trafford.

    Where on earth would the money come from for Man utd to even dream about a ground extension to Old Trafford, unless they try and sell Carrington of course (echoes of Leeds or what).

    And quite where you got your figures for Liverpool’s is anyone’s guess, given the fact that the Stadium costs were markedly revised by reducing capacity by 10,000 to 60,000 and in case you hadn’t noticed the civil construction industry is in dire straits, and large capital project spend construction costs are qidely being accepted as being cheaper now than in the last 7 or 8 years.

    Also given the fact that Liverpool have announced a stadium naming rights deal that they have said ‘will totally overshadow anything before including Arsenal’ (who remember picked up 100M from EMIRATES for their name), together with an announcement by Purslow of Liverpool that a deal to sell either part or ALL of the club is to be announced in one or two months time, which will bring in at least 100M in to the pot at the other end of the M62 from you, and not forgetting the recent world record shirt sponsorship deal worth 80M. So by simple maths, Liverpool’s current 237M debt minus 80M (shirts) minus a conservative 150M (stadium naming) minus say 100M (shares in next months or so) puts them in the black by some 93M. With new stadium costs of say 350M (which will be at very low interest levels given the financial climate), that means that Liverpool’s future debt after completion of the stadium will be circa 257M. Far removed from the +700M that is now crippling united. This is based on assuming annual break even for the next say two years until the ground is complete which is easily achievable when you look at their P+L accounts and future forecasts (remember also Liverpool have already admitted their business plan is not based on reaching past the CL qualifiers, and any other competitions are at a bonus, so the reported circa 30M from this year, plus the additional 9M from dropping into the Europa league with the 6m in player sales this month has put Liverpool firmly in the black for next year already.

    its also a fact that Man U are now trading each year at a loss. So unless they sell someone else next year they will struggle to break even, even if they win everything in sight this year, which is not on the cards given their performance so far. More worryingly than Liverpools plight at present on the pitch should be the spend and squad assembly at Man City, if your results carry on the way they are and Man City carry on under their new boss how they have started you will be running for 3rd place which only just puts you in to pre season qualifying for the CL qualifiers, nothing is guaranteed.

    I find it hard to believe that a real fan can try to take belief, relief and comfort in his teams future prospects as to how bad another team such as Liverpool might be doing, on the pitch for sure, off the pitch you are quite simply wrong. If you are the opinion, which your post suggests that it doesn’t matter that Man u got knocked out the FA cup by a league 1 side, because Liverpool got knocked out by a Championship side then I would seriously reconsider your position as a true fan. First and foremost you concern yourself with your own teams performance on and off the pitch. And man Utds problem is by their own admission they are underperforming on the pitch, are afraid of the new threat imposed by the endlessly deep pockets of Man City, and are performing off the pitch financially significantly worse than any other football club in history. Never has such a massive debt been amortized, and remember its a 10 point deduction for company administration. the Glazers cant bale you out of their own packets, they are most definitely empty, and any buyout will not pay anything like the required price to release the Glazers from their over indulgent debtors hell.

    Before you start throwing stones and trying the fergie stance of well have you seen how bad xxxx and yyyy are doing, I would make sure you have a glass house of your own, not one you have sold and leased back.

    If the worst comes to the worst which despite your head in the sand denial is a very real possibility then maybe Man City would entertain a ground share, but at least you could play in Manchester then.

    • You’re right about Liverpool’s debt being at 250m instead of 350m.

      Other than that, I see you’ve taken your fill from the ABU bowl of punch. A lot what you’ve said is ‘IFs’ and ‘worst case scenarios’. What I’ve tried to do here is present a factual, ground reality picture without the sensationalist bullshit that’s been floating around.

      And if you read this article – you’ll know I take no pleasure in Liverpool’s problems. The comparison was there simply to highlight the relative situations of the two clubs.

      If hanging on to a doomsday scenario for Manchester United gets you off, good for you.

  6. Cant see many ifs in my statement to be honest!

    FACT-Man u are not playing well compared with previous seasons.
    FACT-The sale of ronaldo enabled them to avoid making a loss.
    FACT-They are trying to raise money via a bond issue that by the citys admission is not the best offer ever.
    FACT-Rooney has no allegiances.
    FACT-Man u were beaten by a league 1 side in the FA cup.

    Where would Man U be able to get funding for a ground extension, and given the fact that OT has not been selling out as previous seasons, would it make any difference to income?
    FACT-Liverpool have announced that as soon as due diligence is done with the investor/s they select from a whittled down long list of suitors in the next month or two who are wanting to buy part or all of the club from the yanks, that they have options with several banks willing to finance the new ground.

    FACT-Man U are trading at a loss, take a look at their P&L’s and remove the sale of Ronaldo for this years results.

    The only real IF I have expressed is IF man city would consider a ground share IF the worst came to the worst for man utd and they lost their own ground which IS a possibility.

    So IF the icing on your cake is simply that Liverpool ‘WORST CASE SCENARIO’ might end up the same way, then your FACTUALLY wrong arent you.

    IF you get off by thinking that Man U have money to buy player s and that things cant be that bad because the team that Man Utd have always aspired to emulate the success of are having a bad time, then good for you too!

  7. Ah, I like a meaty debate….especially one where the meat and potatos are all on my side of the plate!

    Let me start… and finish… with Andy King! Cannon fodder….and then some!

    Let’s look at his (amazingly long) rant in a bit more detail:

    “That is also why despite the smoke screen put out by Fergie and the club as to why Tevez wasn’t kept on the books, it was simply because they couldn’t afford to.”

    You need to learn basic arithmetic mate. Even at the over-inflated price Utd could have bought Tevez and comfortably made a profit.

    “The City have already stated that the returns offered in the Bond Issue presentations doing the financial district rounds as we speak are a good few percent below what is expected, and the initial roadshow to dealers has only achieved a B rating from the City, which is as good as saying ’steer clear unless you really like a wild card’.”

    You also need to learn what a B rating means before coming on here spouting like some financial expert.

    “The team this year: Man U this year have performed woefully compared to their past how many seasons. Defeats to bottom half clubs, including a hugely underperforming old hated rival Liverpool side are solid proof that ‘they aint what they used to be’.”

    Last time I looked Utd were only a whisker below their points tally at the same time last year. That included losing to Liverpool. And “defeats to bottom half sides” so far amounts to Burnley….what’s your point exactly?????

    “‘cup competitions are a different story’?
    No they are not, so why say they are? You were beaten at home by Leeds, a league 1 side, in the FA Cup so where is your strength in squad depth?”

    I suggest you read the article again and understand the context of that comment…..then go wipe the egg off your face.

    “Given the mess that Man Utd find themselves in on and off the field”

    2nd in the PL, despite major injury problems, semis of the CC Cup, and knock-out stages of the CL…….please feel free to indicate to me how many other teams are in such an exalted “mess” and I might give you a modicum of credibility!

    “Man Utds wage bill is one of Europe’s highest”

    Man Utd’s revenue is one of Europe’s highest AND they have been one of a very small list of PL teams to consistently keep their wage bill at <50% of revenue over many years now……so what exactly was your point there??

    As for your comments on Rooney….nothing but spiteful ramblings….."Trust me" you say…..

    “Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.”

    You, my friend are firmly in the former category….and full of bitterness to boot!

    Now go away and repent!

  8. People who constantly use the word “fact” in debates….especially in capitals, when clearly they are not facts, only expose themselves for what they are.

    That is invariably either misinformed, ignorant, biased, blinkered, bitter, out of rational points to make, losing their mind, desperate…..or all of the above

    = Andy King! :)

  9. Just to add a few points. United, unlike Liverpool (or City or Chelsea or practically any other football club in the world) are a very profitable business. Remember the years when they were a PLC making profits year after year? And things have got better since then financially with the improved broadcasting deal and the Glazers ticket price increases. Take away the interest and other Glazer deductions and last years’ profit was £67m. I don’t like the Glazers but it is important to realise that they are not insane. They won’t start selling players and watch the performance and future revenue decline and then have to sell more players until there is nothing left. Why would they when they could just sell up and actually make a profit? Note I’m talking about selling the club as a going concern, a profitable business worth well over a billion pounds. Not closing it down and selling off assets which are worth much less: £200m worth of players and a white elephant of a stadium in an area unloved by property developers. That’s why United aren’t Leeds – Leeds only ever lost money so it always made financial sense to close it and sell the assets. This is why Liverpool fans should be scared too. They need generous backers, United just need owners with business sense.

    In some ways the likely success of the bond issue is bad news for fans. If it failed the Glazers would have to sell the club very soon to cash rich investors or refloat it on the stockmarket to pay off the debt. Nonetheless, the Glazers’ aim is to have the club continue to be very successful so that it is worth a lot when they do finally sell it. They honestly think they can deliver this and if the city investors endorse the plan then might they not perhaps be right?

  10. You invite comparison between United’s credit facility and that of Arsenal, and ask why only United’s is portrayed as “a bad thing”.

    Arsenal had been trapped on a postage-stamp site, their stadium reduced since Taylor to 38,000 capacity. So they did their sums, and now have a nice new, highly-profitable stadium, plus a long-term but manageable debt. And, as you say, a credit facility should Wenger need it.

    But how on earth have United too come to needing a credit facility?

    As to your ADDING United’s credit facility to the profit gained through Ronaldo : you seem to be confusing Cash Flow with Profit & Loss. I doubt the remains of the Ronaldo money are sitting there in the bank !

  11. “Unless United fans are going to put together a fund to buyout the Glazers, there’s very little they can do.”

    There is the Manchester United supporters’ trust fund, it might not be massive but it is a start.

  12. the worst case for united is they might not win the league for a couple of years but they will still get into the CL and that with their earnings, high level finishes in PL should mean they eventually get into the black, probably before 2020 at that.

    Liverpool as admitted have a financial system based on getting into the CL every year at least. Well this year they might not. What happens to their finances then? Sure they have less then some of the other clubs but alot of their repayments and player purchases are based on getting to a certain level in the EPL and CL. They may be forced to become 5-8 team for the next couple of years which would result in the sale of torres, gerrard, maschareno and a couple of others but if they can keep staying competitive in the PL they will get strong again. Dont discount liverpool, they have a couple of very good youth players coming through and the new deals they are making can see them succeed.

    Arsenal are doing well with their squad currently but even they spend quite a bit on players and training younger players. They have a solid system in place for their debt which is based on borrowings for property development. They will only get stronger.

    Chelsea is an interesting case, they have a sugar daddy which means unlike the rest of the big 4 they have no interest repayments, yet to make a profit since RA took over but on current trend are looking to break even by 2012. They will lose quite a bit of players soon as deco, ballack and beletti are out of contract. This should free up a bit of the massive wage bill which cripples them financially. If they keep ancelotti instead of firing him it should also save around 10mill+ from their coffers. Chelsea have the transfer ban in place though and will rely on it to be turned over or have some players coming through. RA cleared the debt into equity recently but who knows how that will go. Interesingly chelsea have also been linked with naming rights due to lack of expansion space at the bridge. Unfortunately for chelsea they cant move stadiums withouth the pitchowners allowing it otherwise they would have done an arsenal and cleared their debt pretty quick(bridge is located in very expensive area). Chelsea are looking strong to start turning a profit soon as well.

    Basically all of the big 4 are gonna be in better financial terms in the coming decade, eventually the queston is when. I think arsenal and chelsea will have the advantage due to a stronger base while manU and liverpool will probably strength considerably by the middle of the decade. Add to it liverpools and especially ManUs prestige and brand strength and they should really push through and strengthen the comp.

    The interesting cases are tottenham, manCity and everton. All 3 would be much stronger if given access to CL money. tottenham has excellent support and crap loads of money even without CL the extra money could really strengthen them. Same goes for everton where moyes has done very well. ManCity dont need to worry about CL money but need the prestige that comes from the comp. What will be dangerous to the top 4 is any of those teams performing strongly and breaking up the stranglehold, it seems that manCity will come through in liverpools expense eventually. If any of chelsea, arsenal and manU fail to qualify for CL it could cause troubles expecially for the latter two.

  13. The author of this piece assumes a passive fanbase that will happily troop into Old Trafford to continue to repay their debts, mistake no.1. He also assumes that the the World’s bond markets and lenders will continue to happily shell out at reasonable rates the money required, mistake no.2. There is a great deal of quantifiable uncertainty about Manchester United. Sports brand or not, it is a relatively small, massively indebted business that most the World’s biggest companies could afford to snap-up with its loose change. Football clubs are not conglomerates, they’re corner shops.

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