Andy Green from the Andersred blog consulted on it and appears on the programme
BBC Panamora investigation into Glazer finances airs Tuesday(25 posts) (8 voices)
Editor & Moderator at http://www.unitedrant.co.uk
is there any input from club officials?
Manchester United's owners are £1.1bn in debt - £400m more than previously known - after borrowing extensively against their shopping mall business.
BBC Panorama has found evidence that the Glazer family's debt levels may threaten their hold on the club.
A spokesman for the American family has said it holds more than £2bn in assets.
But the extent of the debt owed by the Glazers is likely to fuel a continuing revolt by some supporters, who oppose their ownership of the club.
Green and gold
Details of the financial arrangements of the owners also come at a time when the sport's governing bodies are facing questions about Premier League debts that have reached a combined total of £3.4bn and the growing popularity of leveraged buyouts in English clubs.
Mortgage documents seen by the BBC show that the Glazers have borrowed £388m ($570m) against shopping malls and £66m ($95m) against their American National Football League team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition to their mortgages in the US, a portion of the Glazer family's £700m Manchester United debt will soon see them charged interest at a rate of 16.25%.
Fans fear that, despite the club's record of success on the pitch, the Glazers' leveraged buy-out of United has saddled the club with debt and that may mean that there is no spare money in the future to buy a new generation of star players.
Disappointed fans have launched the "green and gold" campaign that resurrects the original team colours in protest over the Glazers' ownership.
Their numbers have reached 158,000 and former United star David Beckham has signalled his support.
They point to the £80m sale of star striker Cristiano Ronaldo last year and note that he has not been replaced by a player of similar quality. Yet ticket prices have gone up by more than a third.
The club's management denies any lack of commitment to buying new talent and says that cash is available for Sir Alex Ferguson to buy players.
City analyst Andy Green, 37, is the disgruntled Manchester United supporter who first uncovered the extent of the Glazers' debts.
Mr Green said: "They borrowed more money at inflated valuations right at the top of the cycle.
"These are people who tell us not to worry about Manchester United debt because they are great businessmen. In their core business in the US they got it absolutely wrong."
The debt levels at the club are also drawing the attention of other prominent football figures.
Dave Whelan, Chairman of Wigan Athletic, told Panorama: "I don't think anybody can be satisfied with how Manchester United are being run... they have got somewhere in the order of three-quarters of a billion pounds worth of debt. That has got to be eliminated and eliminated quickly."
The Glazer family's main assets are the shopping centre business in America, First Allied Corporation, along with Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
First Allied is a private business and its accounts are not publicly available. But Mr Green discovered that the Glazers' shopping mall mortgages had been bundled with other loans as Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities.
Those bundles are publicly traded and therefore require the Glazers to provide detailed information on all the mortgages, which are then publicly available in the US.
Mr Green found mortgages - confirmed by the BBC - on 63 of 64 First Allied shopping centres, totalling £388m ($570m).
Most of those were taken out with Lehman Brothers before the US investment banking giant went bankrupt, triggering the global banking crisis in 2008.
While Lehmans collapsed, the Glazers' mortgage debt lived on and many of those shopping centres are not generating enough income to keep up with interest payments.
With falling commercial property values, many are also now in negative equity.
Banks have put 28 of the shopping centres on a watch list, meaning they are worried about the loans.
Four shopping centres - one each in Ohio, New Mexico, Texas and Georgia - have already gone bankrupt.
When they bought Manchester United in 2005, the Glazer family borrowed £500m and paid the remaining £272 million in cash.
Mr Green found that the Glazers had remortgaged 25 of their shopping centres in the six months before the takeover.
He believes the family borrowed against their US properties to pay for United: "At the time when they had to present a huge amount of cash over here in the UK they borrowed a huge amount of extra money in the US and publicly they didn't buy anything else that year."
A spokesman for the family did not respond to questions about the mortgages taken out by First Allied.
But with properties now worth about £380m ($550m) but mortgages valued at £395m ($570m), the shopping mall company now appears to be worth next to nothing.
That financial picture has analyst Mr Green questioning how the Glazers will service their £1.1bn debt.
United chief executive, David Gill, has said: "We're very confident the business model we have in place will ensure the club can continue to compete at the top of football for many years to come.
"The owners have been true to their word since they took over the club in 2005. They've brought commercial expertise and commercial benefit to us in a numbers of areas, and we've seen our revenues grow significantly."
The Glazers' most troublesome debts are held by Red Football, the parent company that owns Manchester United.
They are payment in kind loans, or PIKs, worth £200m and the interest owing on them will soon rise to 16.25%.
Mr Gill told the BBC in January: "We don't worry about the PIK repayment. That's nothing to with the club."
A spokesman for Manchester United told the BBC last week that the club stands behind Mr Gill's assertion that the debts will be repaid without involving the club.
But sources close to the Glazers have confirmed that Red Football may use cash from Manchester United to pay off the PIKs in the future. The Glazers are said to be "comfortable" with the PIKs.
The situation at Manchester United reflects the wider issue within the Premier League, where clubs like Liverpool and West Ham are struggling with huge debts and FA Cup finalists Portsmouth barely staved off bankruptcy.
Both the Premier League and the FA declined requests for interviews on the subject of debt in football.
Panorama: Man United - Into the Red, BBC One, Tuesday, 8 June at 2235BSTWe are the biggest club in the world. We are Manchester United.
Yeah, there's more of the same on 365, along with a bile inducing picture of Mephitical Malcolm."Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching' tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you."
No doubt, the pro capitalist plebs, that like to find ways of justifying the Glazer ownership, with crap like, "this is just the way business works", and "the Glazers are savvy businessmen who know what they're doing"... will pop in to tell us all this is just some more anti Glazer bullshit, trying to stir up dissent to bring down United, or some other such nonsense.
More here by the always excellent David Conn in the Guardian
It's quite incredible really that a whole bunch of United supporters will respond to this by defending the Glazers. That somehow by exposing the truth it is 'damaging' United. I may keep banging on about the debt but its important....
I'm no financial whizz so let me get this straight... It turns out that the Glazers' business empire isn't a business empire anymore, right?
They borrowed £388m against their shopping malls which have since gone tits up leaving a void which United must fill
On the old Rant I'm sure I posted an article from Andy's blog about this
Meh... Shit creek
I don't think anyone is "defending" the Glazers, but I am one of those trying to be optimistic about things. It is worth noting that some financial analysts, e.g. the JP Morgan analysis, argue that the Glazers' business model adds up without gutting transfer spending. I also fully expected this BBC thing to be laughably one-sided, which it looks like it's going to be. That doesn't mean the Glazers could offer much of a defense if they wanted to, mind, and it's definitely very worrying.
Anyway, apart from all this financial stuff (isn't it annoying that we even have to think about this crap?), I just don't think the Glazers deserve to own United. The club is a great institution, with history and a community around it. Alright it's a big business too, but we deserve a classier bunch than this shower to be running things, regardless of how much money they do or don't have. Mind you, I'm not sure that I'd prefer dodgy oil billionaires.
JP Morgan would argue that the Glazers business model is workable, By, because they are United's main bank and the Glazers' personal advisors. Biased or what.
"Sweeney was disappointed that United, the Football Association, the Premier League and new sports minister Hugh Robertson all turned down the opportunity to be interviewed for the documentary."
Doesn't sound much use then, you could have predicted what this documentary would say months ago. They're obviously just going to make things sound as dramatic as possible.
Wouldn't expect anything else from the fuckers running the club. They wouldn't have added anything to the documentary itself. It's not like they would have provided a blow by blow account of the club's financial dealings.
Smoke and mirrors is what we've come to expect from these muppets.
"It's quite incredible really that a whole bunch of United supporters will respond to this by defending the Glazers. That somehow by exposing the truth it is 'damaging' United. I may keep banging on about the debt but its important...."
Well said, Ed. They're typically the ones who'll say that everything is fine because we're doing OK on the pitch. As I said on the previous incarnation of Rant, wait til we stop winning trophies for a few seasons. They'll jump onto the anti-Glazer bandwagon quick as a flash.
I question how committed the average United fan is to fighting this cancer (which is what the Glazer ownership effectively is). You go to games and see United fans with Green and Gold scarves who've just been to the Megastore.
Bman, the programme will be based on the revelations in the Bond document that was made by the Glazers. The figures they will use will be taken directly from the club and the banks.
Just found this: Glazers respond to reports of $1.6 billion in debt
Seriously, who the fuck buys this PR shit? What gullible fucking 'head in the sand' cunts buy this drivel. It's patronizing as fuck. Do they not understand the figures are based on their own documents. How can they deny it. Gah...
Sheesh, you get right to the crux of the problem as I see it, talking about supporters wearing the green and gold while also shopping at the megastore. It seems to me that the basic problem is: how do you hurt the Glazers without hurting United? I'm not sure you can, since they own United 100%, at least unless they can pay their debts in the future.
I only see three possible responses for the average supporter: 1) just carry on as usual, helping to put money in United's coffers, even if you don't like where a lot of that money is going; 2) carry on as usual (more or less) while wearing the green and gold, in the theory that that brings some kind of pressure on the Glazers or encourages more pleasing potential owners to bid for the club; or 3) go all out an boycott the club, no tickets, no shirts, etc.
I honestly don't know which is the best of the three options. As I live far from the UK at the moment and won't have the opportunity to go to a United match for the foreseeable future anyone, I probably have it easier than most, since I don't really face that choice. I suppose I could stop watching matches on TV, because that gets back to the club.
Read the replies to that piece Sid...
"They overpaid for that soccer team too. what a waste when they could have banked off the bucs."
" that soccer team"... LOL...
Heh, to be fair to them the British aren't exactly popular in America right now
Panorama was a bit shit.
Confirmed pretty much what we already knew anyway.
Btw how could anyone have been persuaded to have sex with Malcolm Glazer six times to produce that many children?
Yeah, I wasn't that impressed. Could have been a lot better.
But then... with no one from United, the Glazers, the FA... willing to offer a counter point... there wasn't much to chew on.
It didn't tell us anything new really. And they missed out a hell of a lot of stuff.
But hopefully the remaining few United fans who still have their head in the sand will be convinced that the Glazers are very bad for United.
MANCHESTER IS MY HEAVEN- SIR MATT BUSBY
Whelan told Soccernet: "If someone put £1.5 billion on the table, there would be a very quick deal done indeed. There is no way the Glazers would say 'no' to that amount of money.
Whelan is a top bloke. It's telling that he was the only Premier League Chairman willing to speak openly about debt on last night's Panorama.
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