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United cut interest costs by £10m a year

The club has refinanced more than £192m of high-interest debt which cuts our interest costs by about £10m a year. The Glazers have secured a new loan from Bank of America with far lower interest rates.

United have refinanced £177.78m of outstanding 8.75% interest sterling bonds and $22.09m (£14.6m) of 8.375% dollar bonds. The new loan would have an estimated starting interest rate of around 2.78% and that interest payments should come down from around £31m to £21m per year.

Earlier this month the club claimed it was on course to generate more than £350m this season after earning a record £91.7m in the three months to March 31. Net profit more than trebled year-on-year to £3.6m in the third quarter.

The club has approximately halved its total debts to £370m in the past three years.

People point to the trophies United have won since 2005 to argue that the Glazers haven’t been “that bad” for the club. However, the profits the club generate are being used to pay off a debt we shouldn’t have and are being withdrawn from the club by the Glazers. If we’ve won what we have in these circumstances, imagine what we could have won if we’d been able to reinvest all or most of our profits.

When the Glazers came in 2005 we feared that they would cripple the club. This hasn’t happened, thankfully, largely due to us having the greatest manager of all time. However, with the pressure of the debt on us, David Gill and his team have managed to generate more money for the club thanks to increased commercial revenue. Still, it is entirely possible that the club would have worked on this regardless of whether we were in debt or not.

Just because the Glazers haven’t prevented United from being competitive that doesn’t mean they haven’t been damaging. Hundreds of millions of pounds of the club’s money, which could and should have been spent on improving the quality of the team, has gone out of the club thanks to the Glazers.

That’s not to say that United would do a City/Chelsea and spend a ridiculous amount every summer, but there’s no denying that the signing of a world class player before Robin van Persie, particularly in midfield, would have made a huge difference to the club. In 2010 we lost out on the title by 1 point and in 2012 we lost out on goal difference. If the money the club generated was spent on the transfer fee and wages of one top class player, chances are we would have won the league every season since 2007.

So at least we’re moving in the right direction financially but that’s no excuse for softening our stance towards the Glazers, who we have been successful in spite of, not because of, since 2005.


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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19 Comments

  1. Ruudisgod says:

    So essentially, in 3-4 years we could be free of debt? Our revenue streams will be awesome, however the question is if we are free of debt, will the Glazer’s feel more liberated to take a bit more out of the club for themselves…

  2. FletchTHEMAN says:

    So essentially we have been loosing £31m to interes on these bonds alone. Thats £150m to bankers in 5 years. Fact that we are bleeding only £100m in next 4 years seems little cause for celebration.

    I suppose having 50m for club spend could be nice, IF it was reinvested. But £150m buys alot of quality in this age.

    Off topic: Sorry to see Mike Phelan and Eric Steele have left the club as reported this am by TalkSport. Very very surprised about Steele. Hoping Rene stays.

  3. mgethc says:

    At least things seem to be going in the right direction. When United was a PLC, they used to pay out dividends, which were also profits which could have been reinvested. (Around 35% of net profit in 2003 & 2004.) And the net transfer spending shows that there is still reinvestment. (Albeit the ‘Ronaldo Money’ certainly helped!)

    Season 98/99 £25,950,000
    Season 99/00 £16,050,000
    Season 00/01 -£8,300,000
    Season 01/02 £29,300,000
    Season 02/03 £27,050,000
    Season 03/04 £13,350,000
    Season 04/05 £21,350,000
    Season 05/06 £1,000,000
    Season 06/07 £4,100,000
    Season 07/08 £26,550,000
    Season 08/09 £33,750,000
    Season 09/10 -£64,500,000
    Season 10/11 £13,550,000
    Season 11/12 £38,150,000
    Season 12/13 £36,100,000

  4. Jay says:

    I just want them to clear the debt, which would take maybe another 7 years, when we are debt free we will see what the Glazers are really about.

  5. xyz says:

    Can’t believe people are still banging on about this.

    What do we want – a sugar daddy like Shitty or Chelski who uses the club as their plaything? Who else could afford to buy us? MUST – ha ha ha ha! We’ll either be listed on a stock exchange which involves forking out dividends and being run by business investors, or bought out by a leveraged buyer who will start all over again, probably with an even higher % of debt than the Glazers had. Right here and now, having worn the pain of the uncertainty and high interest of the last 8 years, the Glazers are the very best people we could have owning the club!

  6. planetx6 says:

    they bring stability which is key to sustained success. Cow in the other farm always seems better as SAF would say

  7. wayne says:

    For the two millionth time 99 percent of people in this world buying Utd would have to go into debt how many people do you think has $3 billion in the back pockets? Those who do would turn Utd into a toy and pay the puppets well to go and perform.Clubs like PSG and Monaco are making a mockery of football and all these players going there are nothing more than whores to perform for their master.
    Now I don’t know if I mis heard what was being said on Talksport yesterday but Monaco stadium is on top of a car park and crowds are between 5 to 10 k yet the team is making 70 mill bids for players,its beyond insanity
    Secondly when everyone talks about debt payments no one talks about how much Utd’s revenue has gone up under the Glazers business plan which is significant
    These 2 factors are never mentioned ever by the Anti’s but are obviously very important in assessing the overall picture
    Please don’t go on about the debt like MUST who were behind the Red Knights but would’ve gone into debt just like the Glazers,it’s just hypocrisy at the highest level

  8. United till I die says:

    @wayne

    Well said mate.

  9. FletchTHEMAN says:

    I could care less about debt IF money is on the table to make this team great and excite fans.
    I completely get that the owners should make money. I have no problem with that.

    I do find it unacceptable that the club that has, on paper, the most money, can’t entice the top players.
    Loosing the likes of Lucas and Wee Wes, in the end it is a piss take.
    In the end they arn’t United players. But this sawing the penny in two every time a player comes into view is just getting sad.

    Fans deserve excitemtent. At a club like this, with the highest matchday income in the country? Ya, we deserve to believe we and the team arne’t standing waiting for hand outs.

    You lads that keep canning me for taking about the debt really to take me all wrong.
    I just want to be the pile driver for a run of years, not the rock.

  10. Wakey says:

    “Still, it is entirely possible that the club would have worked on this regardless of whether we were in debt or not.”

    Unlikely because of a combination of a PLC having different agendas, having increased costs and the PLC not showing any ability to do so

    You just have to look at the agents fees. United were averaging 30% own deals as opposed to the normal 10%. This was justified because the PLC structure meant that if a deal wasn’t concluded quickly it could be gazzumped with ease because the PLC had to make it known to shareholders. So all the wheels had to be greased which included paying agents more, paying more to the clubs and paying more to the players to ensure the deals were done quickly. Even then it wasn’t foolproof as we saw with players like Robben

    Now deals are done in a less public way, while they do sometimes leak as one party decideds its in their interest its much easier to keep things under wraps for longer without overpaying.

    Additionally even if the PLC could have copied everything the Glazers did a chunk of the money would go to dividends. Without servicing the debt as well as the paper costs associated with takeover the dividends that would have been expected by the shareholders would have been significant.

    There’s nothing to suggest that the PLC would have generated any more cash for transfers than the Glazers would have

  11. Sparkz says:

    The only thing I’ll credit them for is staying out of footballing matters unlike the oil Sheikhs.

    Our revenues were always gonna go up. This is MANCHESTER UNITED you’re talking about, our commercial brand was already brilliant and was always going to get better. You’re acting like we were shit at negotiating sponsorship deals etc before the Glazers came. We weren’t.

    On top of that, we had a manager like Sir Alex who was going to gain us even more money through on pitch success.

    Fact is – we didn’t NEED the Glazers. We weren’t days away from going bust like Chelsea were in 2003. We were fine, we didn’t need them to buy us.

    So less credit to the Glazers yeah?

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Wakey, Exactly right. PLC days were a madhouse and loads of backroom deals were done. BUT we did bring in some great footballers in building the 99 and 04 teams.

    Fans didn’t have all the facts, but they did see some top of the pile footballers, as well as some good deals.

  13. wayne says:

    Not giving the Glazers any credit just pointing out facts that always get overlooked but to say anyone could have come in and done what the Glazers have done on the business end because it’s Utd is just silly.People can say whatever they want but to triple the value of the club in 7 yrs despite the debt is the product of a brilliant business plan that not everyone could have accomplished
    I don’t give a fuck about the Glazers but bottomline whoever owns the club wil be debt or oil money, the Glazers stay out of football matters and the buisness plan put in place has offset a lot of the loan payments.Something not everyone would have achieved and those are just facts
    Fletch to say Utd should be able to out bid anyone because were the biggest club is just being Naïve PSG are owned by the Quatari group all these Arabs have billions upon billions

  14. Wakey says:

    @Jay

    Its unlikely United will ever be debt free. Almost all the most successful companies in the world carry debt as its cheaper especially at the new rate.

    My prediction is that when the new Nike Deal is announced the Glazers will sell another 10% of the club. With the fact that share prices are already a significant amount up on the initial price, plus the boost that the Nike deal will give and finally the fact that the existing 10% of the club that’s in Class A shares will suddenly become more powerful (As the Class B shares with more voting power are diluted each Class A gains in power).

    Now debt is £370mill but £190mill of that’s just been refinanced at a very low rate which leaves £180m

    Now If the share sale is split in half like last time then it should produce in excess of £150mill which will leave very little of the bonds at over 8% Interest left

  15. Shimo says:

    One thing the blog doesn’t take into account is that under the Glazers – and through the people they’ve hired and directions they’ve set – is why the club has been able to generate these millions. Not to say the club wasn’t doing a great job before. But, there is no telling that if the club had been bought by someone else or had never been bought – that the amount of success United are enjoying currently off the field would have ever been achieved.

    These are sharp businessmen that continue to help United achieve records off the field as much as continuing to support what was needed to win on the field.

    Also, the blog completely discounts the onus on the manager in not buying the players that would have got us that 2/1 more point. The manager who continuously has said he’s always got the money for a player he wanted – even as he was vacating the manager position.

    Last season we also lost not due to having star players but, a meltdown that was atypical to United. The other time we lost the league, we lost Rooney at a crucial time – a player who was absolutely on fire and it was also the season after which we lost at the time the best player on the planet.

    Perhaps the blog’s points about not buying certain players holds true for not doing better in the CL to a degree but, then again even with a star player this season with the purchases of stars – we didn’t win it.

  16. Wakey says:

    @FletchTHEMAN

    The problem with missing out on some big names however hasn’t been the Glazers though. The wage strategy hasn’t changed but the difference is there are more and more teams willing to blow an unsustainable amount of their revenue on wages. United aren’t willing just as they never have to break the 50% of revenue barrier that is generally considered on business to be a safe and desired level for wages.

    It would be breaking that barrier that would put the club at risk of going down the Leeds route

  17. xyz says:

    Nice to see some sensible comments on the situation. Isn’t it time to let this go and move on.

    As the saying goes, Better the devil you know…..

  18. Wakey says:

    @Sparkz

    Yes under the PLC revenue would have increased but unlikely at the rate the Glazers did. Also they would have had to cut the overspending in areas such as agent fees and non-playing staffing numbers.

    The PLC did a good job in old school football but the football world changed with the billionaire owners and it was caught on the hop and they hadn’t shown any ability to change track. They didn’t react when Chelsea got their money so who knows what would have happened when City, PSG, Malaga and the Russians got in on the act

  19. edcunited1878 says:

    The revenue doesn’t only go towards player acquisition, player wages, etc. How do you think Old Trafford gets renovated/upgrades, how does United pay for the fees/bills associated with being a first-class run organization flying to Dubai mid-season, chartering private jets for players who are on international duty more than halfway around the world to make it back to Carrington before a weekend match or all the upgrades to Carrington itself?

    I understand your banging about the debt and interest payments, but please, not all revenue will go towards players only.

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