Exclusive: David Gill lashes out at Glazers

February 11, 2010 Tags: , , Just for fun 14 comments

Manchester United’s managing director David Gill has launched an extraordinary attack on the Glazer family, savaging the American’s business model and predicting ruin for financially over-leveraged clubs. In a passionate defense of United’s management in the PLC-era, Gill points to the significant investment made in Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson’s playing squad.

Gill, managing director since 2001, says that a debt-laden financial structure is not in the best interests of the club. He is on record as calling debt the “road to ruin” for football clubs.

The United chief blasts the Glazers’ business plan as not a “sensible way” to run the club, in a week when Portsmouth face liquidation under the burden of overwhelming debt.

“We’ve seen many examples of debt in football over the years and the difficulties it causes. We know what that means and we think that is inappropriate for this business,” said the United chief, 52, who has been with United since 1997.

“We need to have a sensible structure for the Board to take the club forward. One of the strengths of Manchester United has been its capital structure built up over many years since 1990 when we first floated on the stock market.

“We think that structure is appropriate for football business,” added Gill pertinently.

The Glazer family has loaded United with more than £716 million debt since the summer 2005 takeover, which was fought by the club’s board led by Gill.

In a recent bond issue the family raised more than £500 million to pay down certain preference bank debt. But the bond also enables the family to remove more than £565 million in interest, dividends and management fees from the club by 2017.

United’s fans, led by groups such as the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST), have fought the Glazer takeover for six years and Gill passionately defends the. MUST now has more than 47,000 members and the group has led the sale of more than 30,000 green and gold protest scarves to the Old Trafford faithful.

“We have very vocal fans and one of the key strengths of Manchester United are those fan groups,” adds Gill.

“That is one of Manchester United’s strengths. I remember clearly back in 1998 when Sky made a bid for us. There was evidence of that in the views of the fans. It is certainly is one of our strengths.”

One of the major strengths of United in the pre-Glazer era, adds Gill, was the club’s financial strength, independence and ability to act quickly when required.

This will not be the case in the future. It is estimated that over the next seven years 79 per cent of every pound spent by United fans will disappear into the black hole of Glazer debts and dividends.

“Our capital structure, for example, meant that we could move quickly on transfer deadline day (August 2004) to acquire Wayne Rooney,” Gill laments, of a time when United’s financial clout brought the world’s best players to the club.

“Throughout the 1990s we have used the operating cash flow of the business to reinvest back in the business.

“Whether that be the physical assets – the training ground or the stadium; or the playing side of it – acquiring players and player contracts.

“That model is probably envied throughout the football world and is appropriate for us going forward.”

Oh wait a minute. That was 2004 and since then Gill’s annual remuneration has climbed 60 per cent to £1.8 million. Now he’s a big fan of United being loaded with £700 million debt.

Silly us.


IVOR - February 11, 2010 Reply

It’s about bleedin’ time. Hopefully, the Glazers will be daft enough to fire him and up the ante. With a bit of luck the Glazers can be surgically removed by August!

dhruv - February 11, 2010 Reply

ivor you joking right? the interview is from 2004 its given in the last paragraph

mico - February 11, 2010 Reply

Ivor, wake up mate! Read the last bit, yeah?

elvido - February 11, 2010 Reply

@Ivor, that WAS in 2004 mate. Gill’s getting paid a lot to keep his trap shut now. Wish he or SAF would say something to that extent in public though. And we’ll a lot more than a bit of luck, like the better part of a billion!

Gregory Musyoka - February 12, 2010 Reply

No matter when the interview was, it’s time to face these dudes by all means, be it by monkey/unorthodox/dirty/inhuman/unholy….name it tricks.

They found it the most stable club financially in the globe but now we talk of debts less than 6 yrs down the lane.

One suggestion, we can hit them on the teeth by persuading Rooney not to sign a new for contract extension for now and wait till the last yr coz as dirty as they are, the Glazer won’t mind to sellthis priced asset as long as it puts a penny into their pockets. They are just that naive/money hungry/immoral etc etc. This would mean he can leave on the cheap if they will not have given back the club to the rightful owners.

I hate the Glazers and ever since becoz, for one, they thrive on our generocity/loyalty to the club. They forget this is exactly what has taken the club that far. So the moment they trode on this, isn’t that not a good sign that they are out to ruin all we have achieved si far???

Fergie and Gill – I believe they still have the FINAL SAY on the direction we should take. Their word can always show us the way. Pliz don’t sit back as all those selfless efforts you have put for the club to be who we were before the thieves came into our lives.

Red Rupert - February 12, 2010 Reply


Ed: you should be looking for copyright here mate. Doing Fleet Street’s job for them again – they don’t go out interviewing people these days – they just trawl the fans’ forums

Julian - February 12, 2010 Reply

Gill is employed by the Glazers. He’s not going to come out with the same views he held when the club were trying to fend off the hostile takeover now is he ? The issue is does he still believe that view or has he changed his mind ? I suspect not. It’s something we won’t know until this whole sorry Glazer saga is over – one way or t’other

JIM - February 12, 2010 Reply


To the sound of Boy Georges Red Gold and Green.

You heard it here first!

Ed - February 12, 2010 Reply

Check out our podcast from Jan 22 – http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/?p=6099

ja - February 12, 2010 Reply

Apropos the official club reaction to the green and gold campaign. They have put the champions league red shirt on special sale!!! See below and link!
Champions League shirt offer
Show your support as United head to Milan by wearing this season’s Champions League shirt.

For a limited time only, the shirts are available at United Direct, the official online megastore. Featuring a free ‘starball’ badge, they are priced from just £29.99 – saving you up to £14.47 on selected shirts.

The offer includes all home and away shirts for men, women and children and if you order before Monday 15 February at 10:00 GMT your delivery will be ready for the next Champions League game.

Other ranges now available at the online megastore include the Nike training range, homewear, accessories, fashion range, souvenirs and gifts.

So order now and show your support!


Real Red - February 12, 2010 Reply

Yup I remember that statement of Dave Gill back in good ol’ days of 2004.

I also remember that the only gripe many shareholding fans had then was still rabbiting on about Martin Edwards in AGMs, who just happened to be the one chap who stuck by Fergie when similar protests yelled for both their heads way back in ’89. **

Meanwhile the devil within gradually took control.

Nowt like taking your eye of the ball is there ?

I’m all for the scalps of greedy money-grabbing suits (in this case, rather shabby unstylish ones) pillaging our club and our life-long investment in it so, maybe, just maybe, with this campaign there could be light at the end of this dark tunnel.

Just make sure of the intentions of the Red Knights.
Let’s not take our eye off the ball again.
It is imperative that a majority of any future shares must never end up in one pocket, by fair means or foul.

By way, why not sell red-green-gold paraphernalia (Jim’s song) ?

** Yeh, I know Bobby likes to take his fair share of cred for that, but Edwards stood a lone figure buttressing a lot of the flak at that time.

kei skepta - February 12, 2010 Reply

Da man has too play nice for da glazers infront of da media
REMEBER DA GLAZERS R HIS BOSS NOO SMART PERSON SLAGS OFF DER BOSS,he wants to keep his job no1 knws da work Gill is doing in the background to try resolve da problems of da glazers n uniteds finacial problems

hetixo - February 12, 2010 Reply

Little wonder United supporters are oblivious to the crisis that has engulfed the club, Ivor.

Real Red - February 13, 2010 Reply

As they say hetixo, a little knowledge is oft worse that none at all.

Regards a fans’ takeover led by our glorious knights.

Glazers will be aware of all this.

That puts them in a very commanding position.

In fact, it begs that this could be what they have been scheming all along.

Recipe for making money.
1. Buy a big popular football club with a huge fan base mostly oblivious to finances.
2. Get banks and all sorts to lend you the dosh at ridiculous rates.
3. Pay yourself a nice big divvy.
4. After a few years reveal what a sick predicament the club is in.
5. Play off fans’ panic and get ’em to pay up or club will go under.
Nice little earner.

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