Tag David Gill

Tag David Gill

Gill lashes out at fans as sales dept make threats

May 28, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 5 comments

David Gill has launched another scathing attack on Manchester United’s green and gold protest campaign, dismissing the scarf wearing supporters as a minority while predicting its demise. Speaking to the Independent newspaper, Gill argues that fans do not understand the protest and are never happy despite success.

Gill’s interview comes as United’s commercial department warns executive seat holders not to delay renewing, with the deadline looming on 31 May. Published today, it is not the first time United’s chief has hit out at the green and gold campaign but the strength of the Surrey-born ceo’s attack may take supporters by surprise.

“I think that [the green and gold] minority will go away. I see people from Asia walking out of the megastore with a red and white scarf on and they just assume they [green and gold] are official scarves and go and buy one,” Gill told the Independent, presumably from the safety of his Old Trafford office and not the forecourt.

“I think there is an element of that. A lot of people understand what it means but a lot of them don’t.”

Gill’s tactic to dismiss the protests, claim the club’s finances are sound and suggest that Sir Alex Ferguson has money to spend in the transfer market is not new. Indeed, the ceo’s interview comes a week after chief of staff Edward Woodward invited leading national journalists to meet at United’s commercial offices in Pall Mall, London.

“They are not going to change their opinion even if we win three Champions League titles in a row,” adds Gill of the 160,000 fans that have joined the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) this season.

“We couldn’t have been much more successful in the last three years: we won the league, we were Champions League winners and runners-up and we won the Carling Cup, but they are never going to be happy.”

United finished second to Chelsea this season, while losing in the Champions League quarter-finals – for which Gill took a public dressing down by his American paymasters – and third division Leeds United dumped the reds out of the FA Cup.

With the season ticket and executive renewal deadline in the next fortnight, box holders yesterday received a letter boasting of a significant hospitality waiting list. Stating that the letter “is a warning not a threat” United’s Head of Client Relations claims that hospitality facilities “will be released to the waiting list on 1 June.”

Aside from the unfortunately threatening tone, it is odd that the bond prospectus released in January notes significant unoccupied executive facilities at Old Trafford last season, with the worldwide recession hitting the club hard.

“For the 2009/10 season, reduced demand for executive and box seats has resulted in approximately 16% of those facilities (by value) remaining unsold as at 30 September 2009, compared with just over 12% unsold at the same stage in the 2008/09 season,” the club told potential investors.

This comes as the club released its Q3 financial results through Manchester United Finance plc, showing cash reserves of more than £95 million on a sharp increase in year-on-year Champions League media revenues.

While many feared the Glazer family would exercise its option to pay down Payment in Kind (PiK) debt most analysts now expect this to come after the end of the financial year on 30 June, meaning the results will not be released until August 2010. Well after the 13 June season ticket renewal deadline.

The results showed year-on-year gross debt down at £520.9 million, although the quarter-on-quarter debt was up, reflecting conversion of bank to bond debt. This does not include the PiK debt, which totals more than £200 million and will be paid down from club cash reserves.

The results also coincide with another reiteration in the Glazers’ stance that the club is not for sale.

“The Board notes recent press speculation regarding a possible bid for Manchester United. The owners remain fully committed to their long-term ownership of the club. Manchester United is not for sale and the owners will not entertain any offers,” said a club statement.

With United’s effective debt now at more than £720 million supporters can only hope the family changes its mind, perhaps by the time the BBC’s Panorama programme on the club’s spiralling debt goes live on 7 June.

Otherwise fans may need to wait for UEFA’s financial fair play regulations to kick in for the 2015-16 season, which include the provision to exclude from competition any club with net debt greater than revenues. Net debt is gross minus liquid assets, including cash.

United’s net debt is more than £425 million with revenues at £278 million for the last reported full financial year.

Poll: Should David Gill resign now?

May 28, 2010 Tags: , Polls 35 comments

David Gill, the Manchester United ceo, has launched an extraordinary attack on thousands of fans who wear green and gold at Old Trafford, dismissing scarf wearing supporters as a “minority” who “don’t understand” why they’re protesting and will “never be happy.” It’s not the first time Gill has lashed out at the fans he no longer speaks to.

But with other ceo who consistently insults his customers normally asked to resign, should Gill now go?

Should David Gill resign now?

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United fan 1 – 0 David Gill

February 13, 2010 Tags: , , Just for fun 1 comment

The genius of the modern Internet is in it’s ability to turn the humble fan – yours included – into an international broadcaster. Take this audio clip from an event attended by Manchester United’s managing director David Gill in Birmingham. Confronted by a rightfully angry fan, Gill attempts to shout down the supporter who points out hypocrisy of the MD’s position.

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.

Lies, damn lies and David Gill

February 2, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 10 comments

For a man paid £1.8 million per year to espouse the Glazer family’s line, Manchester United managing director David Gill is hardly likely to utter a word against the club’s owners. Instead, Gill went on the PR offensive this weekend, belittling fans’ concerns and leading a campaign of disinformation emanating from the club.

Gill, managing director since 2001 following a stint as United’s finance director, has consistently supported the takeover and the Glazer family’s financial management of the club. At least since confirmation of the takeover that is.

This weekend Gill launched a sustained attack on supporters’ ongoing protests over United’s financial mismanagement, branding the green and gold revolution “ridiculous” and claiming that fans should feel “proud” of the club’s current direction.

One protest idea, first brought up at a supporters’ meeting held in a Stretford pub  last month, is for fans to enter Old Trafford 10 minutes late for the Champions League match against AC Milan on 10 March. It’s one that Gill aggressively dismisses.

“I would appeal to the fans to be sensible and get behind the team,” said Gill, who fought the Glazer family’s 2005 takeover, calling the business model aggressive and debt a road to ruin. How right he was.

“We are a very well-run club and given what’s happening at other clubs, people should be proud of what’s happening at Manchester United. It [a protest] serves no purpose and it won’t change a thing. [Milan] will be a tough game and we can’t afford for the fans not to be there. Let’s not have ridiculous protests of that nature.”

It is with no sense of hypocrisy that Gill brands the club “well run,” with United’s total debt now topping more than £716 million, according to the most recently published club accounts.

While the recent bond raised £504 million the issue actually increases the club’s annual debt interest payments. More insidious still, the financial reorganisation brought about by the notes issue means that the Glazer family will leach more than £560 million from the club over the next seven years.

However, Gill insists that Sir Alex Ferguson has money to spend on player acquisition in the summer, with just Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan and Chris Smalling bought, in addition to free-transfer Michael Owen, since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last June. The total outlay, including Smalling, is just £28 million.

“The owners understand that they will only get value back by ensuring the team continues to be successful and continues to attract exciting players and produces results off the pitch as well. They are in it for the long term,” Gill told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I do not have a clue about how many players we would buy in the summer. We do our planning throughout the year but the money will be there and it might be more than £55million.

“We have well over £100million in the bank, so we will assess the squad over the next few months and go into the market as appropriate.”

In the face of a sustained supporter campaign that has now reached the highest level City investors, business and celebrity – the so-called ‘Red Knights’ – the club has chosen a strategy of clampdown and disinformation.

In the stadium fans find themselves frisked for seditious banners, while a club statement issued to the BBC’s Football Focus contained the outright falsehood that the “group’s debt is £340 million,” based on the £500 million bond, minus £140 million in cash reserves.

What Gill failed to admit is that the Glazer family will take up to £127 million out of the club’s cash reserves in the coming year, with the family’s £200 million Payment-in-Kind burden now a financial priority above all others.

Gill’s assessment that Ferguson has £55 million to spend not only breaks a promise made to supporters in 2005 that the manager would be able to spend a net £25 million per season, it is also now clear that any future spending will come from the club’s new revolving ‘overdraft’ credit facility.

While the Glazers have effectively pocketed the £80 million raised by selling Ronaldo, Gill insists that the club’s major star, 22-goal Wayne Rooney, will sign a new contract at the club despite reported interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“Wayne has a contract through until 2012,” said Gill.

“He has gone on record to say he wants to stay and we want him to stay. I’m sure that will be addressed in the close season. We hope that would be the case as we want to put him on a new, long-term contract.

“He’s 24 and has got the best years of his life ahead of him. Very few players, particularly UK-based players, want to leave Manchester United.”

Indeed that is true. Although Gill said the same of Ronaldo at this stage last season. In any case Rooney’s future is a moot point. The question Gill must answer with some honesty is where the next Rooney is coming from.

Sir, I challenge you to a duel

September 8, 2009 Tags: , Shorts 1 comment

Manchester United managing director David Gill has accused French club Le Harve of insulting the club in the increasingly bitter row over 16 year old midfielder Paul Pogba. Le Harve, which hasgone on a media offensive in the past few days accusing United of poaching the player, is yet to officially complain to the world governing body FIFA.

“It is an insult by Le Havre to suggest that Manchester United and the employees of Manchester United have paid the players’ parents and bought the parents a house,” said Gill.

“We will not accept the good name of Manchester United being trawled around on websites and the press to say that we have done these things which we are not allowed to do and we would never do. We’ve done everything, we think, by the book.”

United yesterday issued a written warning to Le Harve, which was relegated to French Ligue 2 at the end of last season, of legal action if the club continues to make accusations about the transfer of Pogba in the press.

Gill denied the warning was an attempt to intimidate Le Harve from making an official complaint to FIFA.

“We are not intimidating Le Havre. We have no intention of intimidating Le Havre,” said Gill. “They can do whatever they feel is appropriate. We can defend our case in the football bodies. We are very comfortable doing that.”

Gill apparently stopped short of demanding satisfaction.

Gill voted to ECA board

September 7, 2009 Tags: Shorts No comments

Manchester United’s David Gill has been voted to the the European Club Association’s (ECA) 15-man board, beating CSKA Moscow president Evgeni Giner to the seat. The ECA the 53-nation pan-European club lobbying association that replaced the G14 on the latter group’s dissolution in January 2008. Gill’s election to the group, which is chaired by Bayern Munich’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, increases the power base that United enjoys at the game’s top table. United is one of the founder-members of the organisation.

“I’m obviously very pleased to be elected,” Gill told The Associated Press. “The ECA has a very important role to play in the relationship with UEFA and other bodies within European and world football.”

Gill is one of only two new faces on the board along with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. It is perhaps ironic then – with a combined debt of the two clubs being close to £1,500 million – that one of the group’s main priorities is said to be cost cutting to ensure that football remains sustainable.

“We are the people who run the clubs, we understand the issues. All parties need to work together to come up with a set of rules and regulations that everyone buys into,” said Gill.

There are 144 clubs in the ECA, which holds its six-monthly general assembly tomorrow. The transfer of young players from continental Europe to England is sure to be a hot topic!

United’s board strikes the real deal

June 13, 2009 Tags: , , Opinion 1 comment

It’s not often that the United board have received praise on this website over the past five years. But praise they must receive after Sir Alex Ferguson and Managing Director David Gill played hardball for more than a year in the face of Real Madrid’s relentless pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a game of brinkmanship that – while ending in the inevitable transfer of the Portugese winger to United’s European rivals this week – ensured a world-record fee and a massive profit on the player. The board must now follow through and provide all of the funds to Ferguson for squad strenghtening. The alternative – ploughing the funds into the black hole of the club’s finances – would be an admission that United’s £669 million Glazer-induced corporate debt now comes first, and success on the pitch second.

But United haven’t always been so successful in their transfer dealings. The move of David Beckham to Real Madrid in 2003, for example, was criminally undervalued. Beckham, who in 2003 was at the peak of his physical and commercial powers, was sold for just £18 million plus bonuses. United eventually accepted a flat £23 million fee for Beckham and Madrid laughed all the way to the club shop, on the back of a massive increase in commercial revenues. United were then led by Peter Kenyon, now a director at Chelsea, and many fans and pundits felt that it was his incompetent handling of the deal that ensured the Reds were at least £10 million short of a fair market price for the player.

Incoming transfers have been poorly handled too. The year before Beckham’s departure to Madrid, United paid more than £30 million for Rio Ferdinand. While Ferdinand has proven to be an excellent acquisition over the long term, his then central defensive partner at Leeds United, Jonathan Woodgate, moved to Newcastle for a third of the price later than season. Leeds were in desperate need of cash, and United had no competition for Ferdinand’s signature. Moreover, it was widely believed that Leeds’ asking price for the player before the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea had been less than £20 million.

Bad deals are not the preserve of the Kenyon era however. There is also last summer’s transfer of Dimitar Berbatov, in which United blinked first when Manchester City threatened to muscle in on the deal at the 11th hour. After waiting all summer to sign the Bulgarian, in the hope of striking a more favourable deal with Tottenham Hotspur, United eventually paid five million pounds over than their original ceiling for the striker. The player himself paid a heavy price by missing the entire pre-season training programme.

The Reds’ board must now be as hard-nosed in their summer recruitment as they have been with Real Madrid over the transfer of Ronaldo. The club’s pursuit of Antonio Valencia, Franc Ribéry, Karim Benzema and others will now come with additional media scrutiny, and knowledge on the part of the selling clubs that United’s management have cash in their pockets. If United truly believe that the older Ribéry is in a similar bracket to Ronaldo, for example, then Bayern Munich are right in holding out for a reported £60 million fee. About £30 million too much it would seem.

Meanwhile, new President Florentino Peréz believes that Real Madrid can once again increase commercial revenues to cover the cost of Ronaldo’s acqusition. But contrary to Peréz’ claims, the club’s €600 million debt (similar sums have been written off twice in 2001 and then 2007) suggests, despite a massive increase in commercial revenues over the past five years, that the spend, spend, spend policy is unsustainable. But if it goes pear-shaped, at least Real will always have the local council to bail them out.