Man Utd chairman Glazer defends debt: We'll still spend big on transfers

Martin Macdonald
Joel Glazer apologises for Manchester United’s failed Super League bid

Joel Glazer apologises for Manchester United’s failed Super League bid

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer says the club's current debt levels will not stop continued spending in the transfer market to improve the team.

The Glazer family have been heavily criticised during their tenure as owners of the Red Devils for taking dividend payments out of the club despite the astronomical debt they find themselves in.

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Things reached boiling point between the fans and the Glazers when Man Utd announced they would be part of the breakaway European Super League.

Even though those plans have been scrapped for now, supporters of all the clubs involved have been left furious at not receiving any consultation over the proposals, while many believe the plans were motivated by greed.

At a Man Utd fans forum this week - the first one ever attended to by Glazer - he was asked why he and his family have taken in excess of £100 million worth of dividends for themselves.

He responded:

“I know this is a subject that a lot of people have a lot of different views on, but when we take things and look at things as a whole, we think that Manchester United is a very well run club. We're able to spend with the top clubs throughout Europe, whether it's wages or transfer fees, we've been able to keep our ticket prices low, we've not increased them in over 10 years.

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"We're able to pay a dividend but it's a modest proportion of our five to six hundred million pounds of revenue; it's less than three per cent of that.

“It has never stood in the way of us pursuing players or transfers on the pitch. We may have walked away from transfers at times because the other side wanted an outlandish number. And while it's easy to pay it that one time, it does have consequences.

We're going to keep investing on the pitch, which we did last year, and we plan on doing it meaningfully this year
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"You do it once and the next person expects it, and then the next person expects it. And that's not good, ultimately, for the club. So, we think that we're able to accomplish all these things and still have a very, very successful club and invest, and do everything that's necessary for a club of our stature.”

Man Utd debt

Man Utd are currently around £455 million in debt, but Glazer insists that won't stop them continuing to invest in new players.

“I know this is clearly another area that has got a lot of discussion and debate over the years. We think we have a very comfortable position when it comes to this. We have debt, but a lot of other clubs do have debt as well,” the American explained.

Man Utd fans with a banner protesting the ownership of the Glazers

Man Utd fans with a banner protesting the ownership of the Glazers

“We pay a very low interest rate, mostly fixed interest debt. So, if interest rates went up it would not affect us, but we had made progress in reducing our debt over the last several years.

"The net debt was meaningfully reduced a couple years ago. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and we have had to use a lot of our cash reserves because we didn't have any supporters in the stands, we didn't have the matchday revenue, and that has affected us, like it's affected all the clubs throughout Europe. The difference is we've been able to keep investing. We're strong.

“We're going to keep investing on the pitch, which we did last year, and we plan on doing it meaningfully this year. So, we feel that we're in a good spot. There's always headline numbers [for the debt], and then there's the real costs on an annual basis and, again, it's never affected our ability to operate in the transfer market or do anything else with regard to the club.”

This summer Man Utd have again been heavily linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

At the moment, the two clubs involved are believed to be around £11m apart in their valuation of the England international.