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Fergie: We Must Remain Loyal To The Cause Of Manchester United

Following the weekly anti-Glazer protests, Sir Alex Ferguson has chosen to speak out about the fans’ disapproval.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to express disapproval if they don’t like what they see around them,” said Ferguson. “I am not slow to express disapproval myself if there is something I don’t agree with – even in the boardroom with the directors. But once I walk out of that meeting I get on with my job as manager of the team. Some of our fans are clearly unhappy with the financial position but we mustn’t allow the situation to become divisive. We must remain loyal to the cause of Manchester United.”

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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175 Comments

  1. Wakey says:

    @MG Again

    First of all lets Deal with the Barca argument. In Spain its very different. For starters the CE/President is elected every few years and each person running has to not only be able to put down millions of Euros as a personal security just to run and also requires to have ‘Investers’ already lined up to further support them. As such the 20mill that the fans bring in is little more than a token gesture and really the only use of this is to subsidise ticket prices.

    La Liga has 4 of these ‘socios’ and only Barca and Real are what you would consider ‘Successful’ and much of their success actually comes down to Governmental interference at the Local and National level. Both clubs get preferential bank loans from Spanish banks, in the case of Real often 0% with no payback date (Santander for example basically paid for Ronaldo, kaka and Benzema and will probally never see a penny back. They will write it off). And when they do have finacial issues the local gov bails them out, again look at Real when they had finacial issues before. The Local gov rezoned the city ‘forcing’ Real to sell them the land their training groun d was on, the Local Gov overpaid for the land by a fair bit and then contributed to the building of a new state of the art centre.

    In Britain thats never going to happen, if our government tried using public money in that way or put pressure on banks to give free money to football clubs at the expense of British Bank customers there would be uproar.

    And again with Fan Ownership the other Country that has successful teams that are Fan Owned is Germany where all clubs are required to have atleats 51% owned by Fans. However the top German clubs are unhappy about this rule as they believe it prevents them competeing with the rest of Europe and has seen the German Leagues quality drop far behind England, Spain and Italy

    As for how would it be damaging to the club. You are wanting to do something thats unique and that is to basically hand the running of the club to the Fans completly. Sure you can say that the CE and Manager will be the ones running it rather than Fans but the problem is who are the people who appoint these people, its the Fans. If they want to keep their job then they have to keep the fans happy and keeping the fans happy and running both a successful business and a successful team don’t really go hand in hand. When it comes to signing players, picking teams would he feel pressured into doing what the Fans want to keep his job (Fergie probally wouldn’t but later managers might), if he didn’t do what we wanted would we forced his replacement. The same with the CE if the fans wanted lower ticket prices if they weren’t reduced but increased in line with other clubs rises to keep us finacially competative would we replace him or would he drop the prices despite it making us less competitive just to please the fans?

    It would also make the Finances open to the world. It could be dangerous for us as players looking for new contracts would know what the club had and would hold us to ransom, especially if they are popular and know the fans would force the club to accept the demands to keep the player. And teams and players we were trying to sign would be able to fleece us knowing the finances. It would be like being a PLC again which was never good for us when buying players and negotiating contracts.

    Oh and as Jig3000 says the group would have to hire people to handle the running at there end. Sorry but most fans don’t have the knowledge to be able to ‘Run’ the operation. And the amount of work required it isn’t something you can have people do part time. As such the group would have to pay management fees, management fees that you complain about the Glazers taking. And theres a good chance that the Management fees would be higher than the Glazers as everything is so much more complex

  2. Wakey says:

    @SteniS

    Being in debt doesn’t mean its a badly run business. I know its a strange concept as generally we are told being in debt is bad but in business especially with modern management techniques its not as simple as that. Most major companies operate with some kind of debt on their accounts

  3. Dave Mack says:

    @Giggs11 – all your comments about the great atmosphere on Sat are off base. The players aren’t stupid. How do you think Rooney felt on scoring four goals and have it greeted with “Glazer Out” chants. As my son remarked “they obviousily HATE the Glazers more than they LOVE United.”

    That’s what Fergies comments are all about. This will infect the team spirit.

    @Wakey … sorry to say it mate but your great posts will fall on deaf ears. The herd mentality has taken over …. and they won’t let facts get in the way. (I appreciate them anyway!!)

  4. Jig3000 says:

    Wakey.

    How does the leveraged debt the Glaziers took-on, compare to that of Kraft on Cadburys? Are there similar hedge-funds in-place? Most are under the impression that the loan deals employed by the Glaziers were extremely risky and fall within the realms of the reckless banking that has resulted in global recession.

    The hedge-funds we hear so-much about are the same hedge-funds Obama is hunting at the moment. However, it’s well publicised the bonds deal has been put in place to restructure the repayment and provide a more stable platform for the club to operate. Are they paying-off the stifling loans with this bond money and in-turn creating a transparent repayment system? If so, it means our standing is better this year than it was last? and that’s a good thing, no?

    The one issue that’s really worrying fans is whether the likes of Cadburys and Utd are comparable in relation to sustained turnover now and into the future. It’s debatable that a football team has the ability to maintain sustained success in the way a production company can.

    Any thoughts?

  5. MG says:

    @Wakey

    I appreciate the disadvantages as mentioned.

    To counter that

    The point about Barca fans paying a privilege fee was about to demonstrate that if fans love there club they would be willing to pay to keep it going.

    I wasn’t talking about the Spanish club model – because that would not be present at United.

    Secondly United does not need to have any involvement with any bank or government association because as noticed in the Glazer’s accounts the club is self sufficient in generating it’s own profit

    Thirdly – the point about this model is as unique as you will find – the whole point of this fan take over is pretty simple. We do it for sentimental reasons – as mentioned I am prepared to do it – and you are not as stated you have your reservations which are totally acceptable. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we are unequal for what we want for the club. That is the beauty of our proposal.

    You must understand – the fans are buying the club for the sake of owning it. As mentioned they cannot profit from it – again you can refer back to my original piece instead of repeating myself.

    Further to that note to keep the whole process simple – the proposed charter will significantly state that the fans cannot burden or dictate what the manager or CE does at the club. At no point is any group or persons allowed onto the board of United – for any financial gain to oversee this plan.

    Maybe I haven’t made that clear enough – but there is a lot to write.

    The only thing the fans would get back is that the club is secure and in their hands – that in the charter their personal share will never rise or fall – they cannot profit from it in any way – isn’t that what it’s about already? Do United fans support this club for supports sake or to make money from it? When we wear our shirt, do we do so because we are proud to have the crest on our chest or do we do it for financial gain?

    It’s a bold proposal but one which is fair and wears it’s heart in the right place

    If fans want to make money from there investment then unfortunately this is not the plan they should take up. If however this is about more than money and financial gain – then this plan is perfect. The club’s best interest is the manager running the team and the CE doing his job.

    The only people that should make any decisions are the people at the club working hard for it. If anything the ambassadors of the clubs who already do a lot for the club can take the adequate decisions on whatever needs to be sorted or resolved. Again when such ambassadors retire – the club must seek ex players whose loyalty has always been to MUFC to come and take a unique position.

    This alone should allay any fears that the club will be fleeced or in dire straits. Surely now we can look at Sir Bobby Charlton as an example – if the fans had the club today – we would be looking at him and Bryan Robson to make sure the club have the best interest of the fans.

    I rest my case – like I said this is a leap of faith – if it happens it will never be replicated – although we would happily see other football teams copy us.

    The model that we are trying to create is something that is not based on money or any financial gain as mentioned. The proposal will be to the heart, to the soul, it will be personal – a labor of love – a unique commitment – a binding show of affection between the fans and the club. We or most fans already do that everyday of our lives. We live and breathe our club because it means so much to us. All we are asking in this proposal is to channel that passion back into something greater than us.

    And yes I am asking that firstly fans pay up to buy the club and then they pay up each year a small amount to keep the club going on our behalf – I know it’s a long shot – but it’s possible – we have closer to 350 million fans. Do you not believe that out of those 3-4m fans wouldn’tbe prepared to do this?

    I hope so – and even if you don’t buy the argument – the proposal is honest and truthful and of course will make a lot more sense when it’s written up fully rather than the bits and pieces that you find now.

  6. yergen says:

    @Wakey and Dave Mack
    I agree with most of your thoughts and I think it’s very important at this stage that people like us continue to explain what the financial situation is really about. The greatest risk we run is to have the media divide us and throw us into total chaos.

    About the exit strategy of the Glazers, with the current leverage, and what they are saying about the potential growth in revenue, it does seem like they are planning another IPO in the years to come.

    As strange as it may sound, though, I believ that the best ownership for the club is, in fact, one that is based solely on the business side of things. This will ensure the long term profitablity of the club. Long term profitability is the only way to make sure we have long term success on the pitch.

    @MG
    It is nice to see your dedication. But to be honest, I don’t it will work. There are too many things to consider and there will be too many things you didn’t think of. There is a reason even the Glazers use firms to advise them during take overs. Even if you managed this, how will you then organize the club for it to run smoothly? You still have to maximize profits and grow revenues, because our competitors are. If you don’t, they will eventually outbid us for every player. In history, collectively owned enterprises do not have an impressive record when it comes to such matters. Still, if this is something you want to pursue, go ahead. Passion is always encouraging to see.

    Again, I want to reinforce the fact that debt, in itself, is not a bad thing. Before the take over by the Glazers, the debt was mainly towards the shareholders. The shareholders demanded either growth in the price of the share, a yearly dividend that reflected the interest rate of banks + a risk premium or both. This means that debt to the bank will be cheaper than debt to the owners. When you leverage a buy-out, you reduce the cash flow needed for the investment to be profitable. This is, of course, up to a certain point. Beyond that point, bank loans become more expensive than investor money. United are not at that point, though.

    Another reason debt to banks are better than shares (again, up to a certain point) is that interest is tax-deductible for the club, whereas paying dividends to owners is not. This is usually when a lay man loses the grip on what’s going on. Interest and dividends are primarily connected to cash flows, rather than profit. Moreover, showing a profit of 20 every year does not mean that our spending on transfers is limited to 20. This is too complicated to explain in a space like this and if you don’t already know what I’m talking about, I don’t want you even remotely in control of this club. Not even if your ownership is limited to one share.

    Therefore, I will maintain that this is the media, trying to split us and sever our club, and I urge you to trust the investors that took up the bonds and the banks and other institutions that made the take over possible for the Glazers. They have analysed the business plan of the Glazers and found that it works. If that plan meant making United into Leeds, there wouldn’t be any buyers and subsequently, no profit for the Glazers. People will have to realise that financial and footballing results are linked together and we could have owners that are so much worse. If you don’t like it, there’s always the amateur clubs like FCUM.

  7. MG says:

    @Wakey14.29

    Without sounding rude

    Any business in debt is only as good as a healthy economy or if the company is international it is as good as a successful global economy.

    So now figure this. Our economy is nearly 200billion in debt – and apart from China and a certain handful of other countries – the world economy is in recession – or unstable.

    Two things

    A – it shows the argument I made earlier that the club is powerful to withstand such trouble – just
    B – it continues to grow – however so does the debt

    The bonds again are debt to buy off debt to ease the pressure. Good for Glazer’s and friends – not nice for us – since nothing is guaranteed in the economic world – what is to say we have a worse depression and as stated in the Glazer Bond brochure – the training ground/stadium are sold off to pay for the debt we have borrowed in Bonds to pay off the original debt?

    I’m sorry – I appreciate your remarks and again they would be fine if we were not in recession – but in business nothing is guaranteed. And ultimately the club in debt is a big no – the only thing I can agree with you is that they have realised that SAF must be left alone to do his job. Subsequently I believe the gaffer is correct in what he says – just because fans are angry at the Glazer’s it doesn’t mean that you tell the gaffer to walk – that would just probably set us back 25 years.

  8. MG says:

    @yergen

    Thanks for the words

    The club runs smoothly as it has always done – David Gill is in charge of all affairs off the pitch
    SAF is in charge of all affairs on the pitch

    The ambassadors of the club are in charge of the best interests of the club on and off the pitch (as they already are) and between the club and fans.

    May I point out that the Glazer’s do not sit at OT and make decisions. May I also point out that if you in hindsight took them out – we would still have DG running the club – and SAF the team. So tell me what’s the difference?

    All I am pointing out is that you replace the Glazer’s with the ambassadors of the club on the board. As mentioned the fans place is just that – fans. It’s just some of us will own a little bit of Manchester United – and that is no bad thing since the ownership is not based on any financial gain just sentimental gain.

    Long shot? yes.
    May not work? yes
    Give it a try?

    Absolutely

    And let’s not forget – the plan will be initially done in steps. The first one is to gather as many reds as possible in order of an intent that they would be willing to sign up for this.

    The rest will come in due course – so again please stay on the blogs and keep watching

  9. yergen says:

    @MG

    You don’t understand how a company is run. The owners have a purpose with its ownership, usually to make a certain profit. The board draws up a strategy to make this happen. In a situation like ours the Glazers or their representatives make up most of the board as well. David Gill, or any CEO/MD, tries to execute the strategy according to the board and is responsible for the day-to-day business, but he does not run the club.

    When/if we replace the Glazers with supporters they will have to elect a board that represent their ideas. This board will have to formulate a strategy that corresponds to what the new owners want. If not, David Gill won’t know where to steer the ship.

    When ownership is spread, like you are suggesting, strategy and direction usually suffer. You will have different factions competing and most likely factions that will interfere in football matters. Not an ideal situation.

    Most of all, I think a lot of the MUST people (and the likes) will think football first and I think this is a mistake. We are the greatest football club on earth and as such we should also be able to dominate financially. This is the only way we can stay competitive on the pitch as well. But to be able to dominate financially we have to have owners that are in for financial gain and base their decisions on financial rationality. Sugar daddies and sentimental owners will make financially unsound decisions. History has proven this, over and over again (f.e Leeds).

  10. Dave Mack says:

    @ Vergen … very good comments. If you saw my post re our need for “best possible” communication to priority stake holders you’ll know that I totally agree with you re a “global sporting enterprise” to have separate but highly complimentary financial and football leadership.

    What we’re seeing now from these protests is in my opinion the result of one or both of the following:

    1. Misinformation by the media acting on the emotion of “stake holders” who are passionately connected to the business (season ticket holders and supporters who love the “club”)

    2. Individuals who fundamentally believe that “football clubs” should be owned and / or controlled by supporters and see this as an opportunity to promote this out dated (and maybe, sadly) unworkable structure.

    There’s also a big piece of “sticking it to the man” going on by thousands of people who feel powerless in the face of the recessionary pressures effecting their lives. No amount of logic or sound thinking is going to quell this and that, in my view is what’s got Fergie so worried.

    We’ll just have to wait it out and hopefully results on the pitch or a “prize” in coming transfer my keep it under control.

    LU – IFIT.

  11. MG says:

    @yergen

    Again I respect your point of view

    It’s harsh if your telling me how a company is run and I don’t know about it because again I express to you that you have missed the fundamental point of my proposal (Plus I ran a company : )

    When the PLC were running United they had to make decisions in order to satisfy the pockets of the board

    As the Glazer’s are running the club, they execute decisions in order to

    A. Repay the debts – which are rising due to the financial turmoil
    B. Make money for themselves

    The only positive thing they have done is to leave SAF alone to do his duties as the manager of Manchester United.

    In turn they have let David Gill get on with his job to run the club because that’s what he is paid to do – to maximize his ability to grow the club and to fully enable the potential of the club to reach as many parts of the world as possible – hence for the club their are more than enough sufficient financial gains.

    Do not forget that David Gill is the best at what he does – initially he opposed the takeover – which should tell you that they needed him badly.

    I am aware of fan ownership in other countries – please do not sugesst that this proposal is being taken lightly.

    The point about fan ownership in Spain is that the club is run by Presidents who have there own agenda – I am not proposing that model

    In Germany it’s a bit different and as mentioned by Wakey German clubs have been bogged down by that – I am not proposing that

    What we are proposing is totally unique – I won’t repeat all of it again – please use your discretion accordingly

    The fans buy the club.

    A charter will be put into place saying that fans cannot dictate or have any power over the club. The point of buying the club is based on sentimental value and that each share every fan takes can never be sold for a profit – unless to be sold off to a United fan who does not possess a share – for the same money that he paid for.

    The purpose of this is two fold

    No one will ever take Manchester United over
    Manchester United will owe nothing to the fans financially apart from what it has always given – which is the sentimental value that fans hold and used in order to save the club from any financial uncertainty or eventual asset strip/buy out again through debt etc.

    Again.

    The United board consists of the ambassadors of the club which oversee that the club continues to grow on and off the pitch (this already happens does it not?)

    David Gill continues in his job – off the pitch he still has to answer to the board and in return take any advice the board give/vice versa (again this already happens does it not?)

    Sir Alex Ferguson or any other manager that follows will continue to look after the teams affairs (once more this happens as of now)

    So one more time. The fans take the club over and it will forever remain in the hands of those that are committed to United.

    However we will stay as fans and must sign a legally binding document saying so.

    If this was now – I would say to you that I trust Sir Bobby Charlton – Bryan Robson etc to continue to make the best decisions for the club.

    The only thing extra they would be asked to do is to make sure that Manchester United are well oiled and well run – nothing wrong with that – you are not going to say to me that you wouldn’t believe that our ambassadors are up to the job – since they already make decisions about the club and are involved daily at OT or when asked to go accordingly around the world to carry the good name of the club.

    Bold – yes? But what have I said wrong? A leap of faith is just that. I am prepared to do it – because I love my club. I don’t want to make a profit out of it – I want it to be bigger still and the proposal is giving an opportunity like no other for other fans to do so. If again you are telling me that fans are going to cause problems – yes – once in there lifetimes when they did something that many thought they couldn’t do – and the Glazer’s walked.

    We haven’t even kicked this off the ground let alone anything else.

    Even if you don’t want to be a part of it – you can’t deny the sincerity of it.

    It’s not about the money – it’s about that something more which made me fall in love with my club in the first place – and instead of buying a tv or a playstation – for once I can save my cash and put it to something truly worthwhile – again nothing wrong with since I and everyone else that signs up are only asking in return that the club is happy and safe and debt free. I apologize sincerely if many readers don’t get it – I am just asking to hold on and wait for things to connect and take place – so watch this space

    The crazy thing is that the money I put it in – will not make me richer – but what is more richer than knowing that you have the biggest club in the world – bigger still – and that you had a once in a lifetime chance to do something about the state we are in now? At no point can any one fleece it – I don’t understand the negativity – I understand that the proposal is far fetched – but impossible no – it’s an emotional ask to back your club – but at worse the money will be a one off – and at most we are asking

  12. MG says:

    sorry to not have finished that off

    - and at most we are asking that fans show this sentimental intent

    - that fans show that they know why they are doing this and that they must sign up to it

    - that all the money the club generates falls back into the benefit of the club and that the goodwill shown by the fans means that the manager – the CE – the board consisting only of Manchester United ambassadors (ie ex fans) should always know that we will never sell out to anyone thus placing the club in financial turmoil – like it is now.

    Thanks for reading – I get it if you don’t get it – it’s not like it’s a document that is in it’s whole that you can make your mind on

    So I apologize – but at the end we will need everyone we can get to make this happen

    I hope all of you that discount this can give us a chance to sell it to you – it is not what you think – thank you

  13. MG says:

    May I also point out that if I do not have such discussions with United fans – that such a proposal cannot come watertight and to the benefit and agreement for most fans in general.

    That also excludes fans that will not buy this idea.

    But again the point of this plan is simple.

    We are not putting the money in to make it back for ourselves.

    We are putting it in that the club can always reinvest within itself and be bigger still without any notion of debt or any notion of having to sell off assets accordingly to pay for any debt

    That is totally possible if you believe that there are enough fans out there that will sign on to this and expect the same challenge – meaning that they will never make a financial gain on the club.

    Give it a thought it’s like nothing that you have read or seen before.

    Again thank you for your time

  14. james21 says:

    @ Wakey and @yergen
    Thanks for your input. Most of us don’t understand the situation. I do run my own Plumbing buisness but I have an Accountant that takes care of the figures. I think the problem we’re having is that all we see is our beloved club is in debt and our bitter rivals have had theirs paid off, their fans are having a ball gloating and its not helping . ( we would so I don’t blame them) I might be wrong but thats the feeling i’m getting off some of the comments and friends who are fans and its only my view. I know United will ride the storm and come out fighting. Lets get behind the team on Wednesday and shout out the blue shite with our United songs wave your Red or Green and Gold scarves and flags. Let Rooney shut Kettleneck and co up.

  15. dl says:

    I’m getting the impression that a lot of people on here is ok with the off field situation at utd and don’t think the Glazers are doing anything out of their rights (which is perhaps true as they own the club – technically it’s in their rights to do exactly what they please with it) and you know perhaps some of us are ‘sheep’ or ‘cattle’ for fearing the worst and at least wanting too think of another option, perhaps it isn’t a good option but it is still an option that should be explored before throwing it out because even if it is not taken up by fans, there could be knock on benefits due to just trying.

    Bottom line is that we don’t know what is going to happen – the glazers could sell off to a rich billionaire fan in a yr and several problems solved. But i’m getting the impression from what i’ve read in various sources is that the best case scenario the debt is completely paid off in 7yrs+ (without having to sell off major club assets in the process, ie… training ground, important players,etc…) and the club runs without the debt & fan displeasure by 2017 – or we get a rich new owner before then ?

    But what is the clubs worst case scenario in the next few yrs?
    Our best players getting sold (even if they don’t really want to be)?
    old trafford being sold?
    the debt getting even bigger?
    Perhaps the above won’t happen but after recent events can anyone rule that out 100% (even 90%)?
    If the worst was to happen would everyone still be ok about the whole thing? (will all fans say that things are fine the way they are?)

    I suppose the majority of you are thinking the above is a extreme and is unlikely to happen? – which is true to an extent, but you can’t really use the word ‘never’ anymore when considering what lengths our owners may go to to rid the debt – please correct me if i’m wrong.

    perhaps the precautions and solutions that the club and owners are doing now is the best long term solution and scenario for the club and the fans, i don’t have a crystal ball. But for me at least it doesn’t stop me thinking and hoping that their has to be a better option than what is being played out at the club right – it is depressing not to hope there is at least. But if some of think that the option being played out right now is the only option then I am not going to argue, i’m not going to change your minds am I?!

  16. yergen says:

    @MG

    I do understand your sentiments and I do appreciate the sincerity of your proposal. I don’t want to take your drive and passion away, because this is what will ultimately keep our club at the top flight. In a way, I want your idea to work and I would be there immediately if I thought it did.

    But I don’t trust our ambassadors, like Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton et al, with running our club from a financial standpoint. They don’t have a clue about these things and would stand helpless. The ambassadors should advise on things they know. This is what they are doing today and this has more to do with culture rather than finances.

    And forgive me for this, but your idea is borderline socialistic. In a perfect world this would be okay, and there’s nothing wrong with that per se, but United have to be strong financially to even survive. To be able to do this I think we have to have owners that really strive for profitability. If not, we won’t be able to buy any players in the future. Socialism does not have the best record when it comes to long term financial stability.

    @dl

    I’m not sure the aim is to get rid of the debt. I, for one, hope that we continue to be in debt because that is a cheap(er) way to finance the club. This is what people don’t realise.

    The real problem is that the media has succeeded in dividing our club. This is what might drag us down, not the debt in itself.

  17. Wakey says:

    @Jig3000

    There aren’t too many details known on the Cadburys deal, atleast not that I have seen BUT the deal is £11.5billion and Kraft had to borrow £7billion of that. How much of that is leveraged directly against Cadburys is uncertain but thats a hefty amount that without interest is equal to about 18 years of profits for cadburys.

    There is obviously a difference between Kraft/Cadburys and United/Glazers but ultimately Kraft are putting a smaller percentage of their own money into the deal than the Glazers did to United (The Glazers put in 250mill + the money from the PIK’s they took out which off the top of my head is around 120mill). It just shows that in modern business debt isn’t something that is feared as long as its planned and managed

  18. Wakey says:

    @MG
    yergen’s replies deal with much of your posts but a few things

    Barca Fans don’t pay to keep the club going, they pay for the misguided belief that they are helping the club when really all they do is reduce ticket prices slightly for those that attend matches as well as ‘supposedly’ getting to choose the next President buy most of the time everyone but the richest person drops out before the vote (So they don’t have to pay the running fee in a race they know they will lose because they don’t have the finances to come close to backing up promises to match the richest richest guy) so all they get to do is take part in a pointless 1 horse race vote.I mean seriously at United if 20mill was raised a season from the supporters that would get season ticket holders 1 free game a season.

    And seriously you must realise that finding 3million fans paying between £250 and £1000 is impossible right, even for a club as popular as United. While you may think that your idea is unique its not actually, The Green Bay Packers actually use an almost identical system, the only difference is they dont restrict people to 1 share but 200,000 shares. Share sell for £250 each and they have sold a total of 4,750,934 shares to 112,051 people. Sure selling a stake in United will be easier and more people would do it but 3million of them. Perhaps if people could buy more than 1 share then it might work but 1 share per person is asking way too much. It doesn’t matter that we have 350million fans as its about how many of these can afford to just spend £250 + £25 per season to get nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling back. Remember one of the biggest issues that those against the Glazers keep raising is that Fans struggle to afford the season tickets any longer so where are these Fans finding the £250. Are they supposed to stop going to matches just to be able to afford to own part of the club?

  19. Dave Mack says:

    “The real problem is that the media has succeeded in dividing our club. This is what might drag us down, not the debt in itself.”

    Bingo!…. and that takes us back to the theme of this blog and is totally aligned to the fears Fergie expressed in his commentary.

    LU – IFIT

  20. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    @ Dave Mack You’re not exactly innocent in this division are you? Confusing all the glazer haters as Fergie bashers. As many posters above me have stated, 2 separate issues.

    Businesses can run in debt thats not a problem to me. What is a problem is that every year ticket prices increase more than the rate of inflation. This coincidently occured when the glazers took over. The money they earn on ticket sales alone equates on average to almost £60 million a season (Probably more I doubt its less)
    Where is this money going?
    It isn’t going towards stadium expansion,
    On evidence this season and my opinion in general it isn’t going towards the team.
    Its going towards the debt.

    AND in a time of a recession it most certainly isn’t going back to the supporters. I guarantee next season we’ll see ticket hikes again. This has turned the atmosphere at times inside Old Trafford into a joke.
    Not to mention the bullshit automatic cup scheme which has guaranteed one thing only, ticket sales not bums on seats.

    I’m still laughing at how they stated there was 74,000 vs Coventry in the Carling Cup in 2007. Bollocks was there. I could have lied down across my row to watch that game thats how many empty seats there were. Corporate sections are flooded with away fans and funnily enough no heavy handed stewarding to be seen!

    One of the above posters mentioned that we paid £100 million to a plc but at least United were affordable to watch. At least then we DIDN’T have a phantom season ticket waiting list. It costs more for a match ticket and 2 beers from the off license than it does for a night out into town. To me thats wrong and its all happened when the glazers came in. It will be interesting to see what the glazers do when Fergie steps down and lets face it he isn’t going to be here in 5 years let alone 10 as much as we want it to happen.

    You can blame the media, the slogans, the ABUs, the supposed/potential divisions betweens fans to emphasise pro glazer/anti glazer pro debt/anti debt. It isn’t about that from my view its about having a club which is affordable to watch for all supporters from all classes with money being invested back into the team when necessary no matter the cost. It was a concept that was working fairly well before glazer and nobody can deny that.

  21. Dave Mack says:

    @Notorious Red Devil ….. I can understand why you’d want to try to duck the issue but Fergie knows how harmful these protests are to the club and has asked everyone to pull together. So I guess the question is …Are you going to protest or not???????? (You can’t have it both ways …either TRUST Fergie on this issue or don’t …your choice)

    When you answer that you can decide who’s being devise and who isn’t? My answers is In Fergie I Trust – While he backs the owners I’ll do everything I can to persuade people to stop the protests.

    Now explain how that’s being devisive? You and I and all other true United supporters don’t have to agree on anything about the owners, the team selection, season ticket prices, etc etc. We can argue our side here or over a beer but when we get to OT we should get behind the team.

    On Saturday my son and I experinced way more HATE for the Glaziers than LOVE for United. Wazza and the rest of the team deserved a lot better support than “Glazer’s Out” chanters gave them.

    LU – IFIT

  22. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    Our team at Old Trafford deserves a lot more respect on the pitch than it has got for a very long time. In all probability the ones chanting “glazer Out” do the majority of chanting anyway. You may have experienced more hate than love Saturday just be glad you got an atmosphere that is usually reserved for the “BIG” games, at least these days. My suggestion to you is either chant louder or get more people to chant in your section (the latter being virtually impossible in certain parts of the ground) On Wednesday my 2 mates and I will be getting behind the team singing mostly anti-city songs, but rest assured I’ll be chiming in with a few anti-glazer songs. The reason why? Well if this tie was played even 3 years ago there would be at least 6 of us going. That isn’t the case anymore, for reasons I’ve already stated. Fergie may be saying that these protests will harm our club but uttered nothing during the time Sky tried to buy us. Also I doubt Fergie would be saying the same thing if he was still on a working class wage having to pay our ticket prices.

  23. Wakey says:

    @NotoriousRedDevil

    The thing is with Ticket Prices is that the percentage rise is round about the amount as our rivals. And as our Ticket prices were lower anyway the actual rise is less than most of our comparative rivals.

    Now Matchday is where most clubs make the bulk of their profits, perhaps if we were in Spain it may be different as we would be able to sell our own TV rights but certainly in the Premiership its essential to be able to remain competative. Even as a PLC ticket prices rose each season at a rate higher than inflation and they would have kept rising.

    As for where the money is going. They do want to expand the South Stand and have stated that. The problem is its something thats going to take years just to get started due to the issues. With the Stand backing directly onto the Railway and then houses behind that it means that the plans have to accomadate the railway in a way thats safe and acceptable to all and a minimum of 50 houses need to be bought. Getting all that sorted out isn’t a quick or cheap process

    The PLC and the Glazers have spent £114mill on the Staduim expansions but with the issues the cost of making the South Stand 2 tiered is estimated to cost in excess of that. If they want to make it 3 tiered like the North stand and fill in the quandrants you are looking at more. When you consider that the total cost of the Staduim Everton were looking to build in Kirby was going to be £140mill (with Everton paying £70mill of it)it puts the task into perspective. Apparently 2 tiers will increase the capacity to around 96,000 so based on 60mill being made now you would be looking at an extra 16mill each season so its actually debatable if its even value for money.

    Building the team wise, they haven’t really skimped on purchases. What has happened though is that we haven’t been fleeced on transfers quite as much as we were as a PLC. There is only really Berbatov where we have paid vastly over the odds for a player (And that was only due to A Norwegian Fan Site which the Sun decided to use for a story and state it was an Official site thus getting levy in a mood and then City trying to show off)

    The simple fact is if you want the Stadium to be expanded and players to be bought then even if we didn’t have the interest on the debt to pay the club has to keep ticket prices at a rate comparative to our rivals. The only way really that Ticket prices could be reduced would be if another income stream could be found to offset it but that would no doubt have to come from the fans Pockets anyway so infact they save nothing

  24. Axeman says:

    @ Wakey & Yergen

    Thank your for your very level headed & well reasoned posts. Quite informative reading, & brought some much needed sense in to this debate

  25. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    I disagree strongly Wakey. Theres a huge difference between our ticket prices and that of l’arse and chelski. They are both London based, EVERYTHING in London from pints to pies and all the rest costs more. The plc’s ticket price hikes werent as astronomical as they have been now. You failed to mention the Automatic Cup Scheme which leads to phantom attendances. It may appear to some that you are condoning the glazer practices which is why people may be getting on your back. These ticket price hikes are totally unacceptable which is the point you seem to be missing. There was no ACS when we were a plc and we would still get good attendances in the cups. Then there’s the £5 increase per round of champions league, and god forbid you sit in one of the cheap(er) seats. It means you have to apply AGAIN for a ticket in the cup and probably lose out even if you have a season ticket as I painfully found out vs Barcelona 2 years ago. That would NEVER had happened pre-glazer.

    As for the stadium expansion of the quadrants, that was paid for before the glazers came in. It wasn’t a glazer decision it was a plc decision. Also there are 2 ways to exapand the stadium, one is to add quadrants like in the North Stand, the other is like you said make South Stand into 3 tiers. They don’t have to extend the south stand due to the railway, the houses aren’t an issue as far as I’m aware as the club reportedly owns some of these. Finally the glazers haven’t spent money, look at the balance sheet of players in and out before Ronaldo. Every year we’ve sold before we’ve bought we even made £40 million in transfers when we signed Nani, Anderson and Hargreaves. A point that was missed by the media.

    I just can’t help but feel that your viewpoint which is so eloquantly put is a mirage of you burying your head in the sand.

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