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The Ultimate FOOTBALL Thread (04/05)

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I'm sure you are.


While I am not usually too worried about Manchester United, this is not a good thing. It's too early to tell what will happen from this, and how it will affect not only ManU of course but much wider.


But it is not a good thing.

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He makes our Russian revolution look intviting now hey?


Check out this quote:


Although sources close to Glazer have suggested Ferguson would have his backing, the American's 79-year-old sister Maria Shapiro gave no doubt as to who would be in charge.


Asked if her brother would take orders from the Scot, Shapiro gave a hollow laugh and replied: "This Sir Ferguson will do Malcolm's bidding or he won't be managing the team."

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Glazer is in negotiations with McDonalds for a new sponsorship deal to rename Old Trafford as McTrafford.


(* It might not be true ;\) , although you never know.)

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So no change on the playing side?


The point to emphasis over and over again is that Glazer has no interest in Manchester United, the football club. His only concern is Manchester United, the business.


Of course, he would prefer the team to be successful, but only because that enhances the club's appeal and in turn their business portfolio. Winning football matches will cease to be the priority of Manchester United.


Apparently he has pledged to give the ManYoo boss, whoever he may be, £100m over the next five years to spend. That boils down to £20m a year. To put that in context, note that Wayne Rooney cost in the region of £28m, and that Wigan are planning to spend in excess of £25m this summer.


With the club’s squad in urgent need of a dramatic overhaul, Glazer's arrival couldn’t be worse timed.


So should the other clubs be celebrating his arrival then?


Hopefully not. At the risk of sounding mawkish, no football fan should celebrate one of the biggest clubs in England being bought by an American tycoon who has no interest in football. Glazer's takeover is the most unhealthy and dramatic step yet in football’s relentless march towards commercialism.


Oh. But will it actually affect the other clubs?

Very much so.


The biggest of many fears around Glazer is that he intends to withdraw ManYoo from the collective agreement for the Premiership’s TV rights. At present, 50% of the £1.1bn deal for 2004-07 is shared throughout the league. But Glazer is expected to try to sell ManYoo’s TV rights separately (as they do in Italy), possibly even making each match pay-per-view worldwide.


Although the collective deal is part of the Premier League constitution, it's thought that if Glazer does push for its removal when the Sky deal expires at the end of next season then the European Commission could support him under the terms of 'free trading'. Think Marc Bosman.


The demise of the collective TV deal wouldn’t harm the likes of Chelski, Arsenal and Liverpool, but, as with the collapse of ITV Digital, it could spell grave financial strife for the clubs lower down the food chain.


And of course make a very unbalanced league even more top-heavy with cash.


That doesn't sound too good.

Indeed not. Nor is Glazer likely to stop there.


TV rights are just one of many of potential revenue streams that Glazer is undoubtedly considering. The spectre of a European League probably also looms large in his sights. As do countless new merchandise stores across the Far East...


How has Glazer gained control of ManYoo?

In many respects, ManYoo are now reaping what they have previously sown.


The absurd aspect of the ManYoo fans' mantra of 'Manchester United Not For Sale' is that, as a plc, this is exactly what they are.


Making the club a plc ultimately gave ManYoo a huge financial advantage over their competitors. But, as with any plc, it also left them vulnerable to potential takeovers.


Specifically, Glazer is now in control because JP McManus and John Magnier have sold their 28.9% stake in the club. And why did they sell? In a word, money. Or should that be 'profit'? The Irish duo have made a gain in the region of £80m to £100m from buying into the club.


At £3 a share, Glazer's offer to their pair was well above the market price. Had they rejected it then the American would have been forced to abandon his plans to take over ManYoo and the share price would have plummeted. Faced with a potential loss of perhaps £50m, rather than a huge profit, they made a decision that any businessman would have taken.


Having originally bought ManYoo shares to make a quick profit, they thus became Old Trafford kingmakers.


And once Glazer bought their shares it was game over.

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I woke up this morning and realised it wasnt just a nightmare.


Glazer saddles United with £540m debt: but Ferguson is to stay 'at least for now'


14 May 2005


The spectre of astronomical debts haunted the world's biggest football club last night as details emerged of the deal that handed an American tycoon control of Manchester United.


Malcolm Glazer, the 76-year-old businessman who took over the Old Trafford giant on Thursday, sent fresh shockwaves through the club's huge fan base yesterday when he unveiled the full funding details of his £790m takeover.


He confirmed that he will borrow £540m to finance the deal and it is estimated that he will need to spend £46m a year in interest payments alone to service the debt. That equates to a staggering £126,164 per day before any capital repayments are made.


The prospect of massive debts have been the main cause of trepidation among fans, who are also dismayed that a foreign tycoon with no background in football is on the verge of total control of their historic club.


The interest payments are put in starker perspective when compared with United's profits. The projected payments of £46m a year are more than twice the club's annual profits of £19.4m for the whole of the last full financial year, to July 2004. The figures revealed yesterday suggest that Mr Glazer could need to quadruple United's profitability to keep the club financially viable.


By last night, Mr Glazer had raised his stake in United to 74.8 per cent. That brings him to within a whisker of the 75 per cent holding he needs to take full control and delist United from the stock exchange. "We will definitely get to 75 per cent by Monday," a source said.


Mr Glazer sensationally snatched majority control of United on Thursday by adding the 28.7 per cent stake of the Irish racing magnates John Magnier and JP McManus to the 29 per cent he already owned.


Mr Glazer's 300p-per-share offer to the remaining stakeholders will now be circulated.


The formal bid document makes it clear that Mr Glazer is hopeful of soon reaching a 90 per cent ownership threshold, and that when he has done so, he intends to trigger a compulsory purchase order on the rest of the stock.


Mr Glazer's son Joel, who will be the figurehead in day-to-day control of the family's interests in United, said: "We are delighted to make this offer to acquire one of the pre-eminent football clubs in the world. We are long-term sports investors and avid Manchester United fans.


"Our intention is to work with the current management, players and fans to ensure Manchester United continues to develop and achieve even greater success."


A source close to the Glazers said last night that the reference to management was meant "in the widest sense", and that the Glazers want United's chief executive, David Gill, and manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, to remain in situ, "at least for the moment".


The source confirmed that neither Mr Gill nor Mr Ferguson have been asked about their intentions, however, and the Glazers are not taking for granted that either will stay. Both have long made it clear, tacitly, that they oppose a Glazer takeover. Neither has commented publicly on their intentions in the past few days. Both could argue a case for leaving now, saying they cannot work with a family whose priority is pure profit. United have traditionally consulted widely with fans on everything from ticket prices to community involvement. Yet both could convince themselves to stay, knowing that Mr Glazer needs them for a PR blitz on fans and would pay handsomely if they helped to smooth a rocky transition period.


Mr Gill convened a staff meeting yesterday, attended by 300 club employees, in a suite at Old Trafford. He spoke about a variety of issues relating to how pensions and employment rights might be affected under a Glazer regime. He also "promised to keep communicating" with staff on developments, but made no specific reference to his or Mr Ferguson's situation.


Under complex funding arrangements, the Glazer family will provide £272m of equity for the takeover, as well as borrow £265m from banks and raise another £275m from "preferred securities", or special shares. City analysts with experience of similar deals said Mr Glazer will pay around 7 per cent annual interest, or £18.55m, on the bank loans.


Mr Glazer has confirmed that the £265m bank loans will go directly on to United's balance sheet as debt and will be secured directly against the club's assets.


The preferred securities will also be costly. They typically involve a special yearly dividend of between 10 and 12 per cent to the lender.


Even using the lower end of that scale, Mr Glazer will need to repay some £27.5m in effective interest, making a total of £46.05m in annual interest.


"We now know how much debt he has taken on," said Sean Bones, the vice-chairman of the anti-Glazer campaigning group, Shareholders United, which hopes to wreck Mr Glazer's business plan by urging fans not to spend their money on the club.


"We know he has massive repayments to service and we are confident we can affect club turnover to such an extent it will be impossible for him to continue," Mr Bones said. "We are urging all supporters to boycott any club merchandise and even refuse to buy a pint and a pie inside the ground on match days. Sponsors' products should also be avoided and eventually we hope the message will get through."


Other fans scoffed at Joel Glazer's statement citing his United allegiance. "That statement is an insult to human intelligence," said Mark Longden, a spokesmen for the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association. "Does this guy really think anyone will actually believe him? Maybe it should not be a surprise given what has gone before, but the ignorance of the Glazers about ordinary Manchester United fans is truly astonishing."


Despite Mr Glazer's huge debt-piling, some financial experts believe that United's new owner has a decent chance of dramatically improving United's financial fortunes.


"A serial entrepreneur such as Glazer and his backers would not borrow large amounts of money unless there was a sensible way of recouping it," said Joe McLean, a football finance specialist within Grant Thornton's Recovery and Reorganisation team. Such ways, added Mr McLean, include ticket price hikes, brand expansion across Asia and America, and a revolutionary attempt to discard current collective TV rights' deals and, long-term, seek new world-wide solo TV deals based around radical international leagues.

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Well we won our last game, but it wasn't on tv here \:\( Until next year. Oh yeah, there's that final left to play \:D


And there's the FA Cup next week. I can see the possibility of some trouble at that game.

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Nice one silly-sausage. Well it looks like he has control now. We can only hope that things aren't as bad as people say they could be. Troubling times.

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Oh yeah just reading His Way: The Brian Clough Story, which is pretty interesting. One of those interesting controversial characters footie gives us every now and again.

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I can't believe this thread was on the SECOND PAGE of the forum. We just can't have that.


OK predictions for the FA Cup final. I think it'll be a 2-1 win for Arsenal, potential for a brace of red cards and a ban on pizza in the dressing rooms.

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It'll either be a great game with a great atmosphere, or a nasty stalemate kinda deal. Or perhaps something else lol.gif


I reckon a 1-0 win for Arsenal, I just think they are better than United at the moment.

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Er, it goes to penalties, unfortunately - and it did for the first time ever.


We played the Bottoms off the field (how on earth did we not score wakaranai.gif but still lost on penalties. Most Bottom fans must be feeling a bit shifty.gif after that performance, but hey their name is on the trophy.

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I'm gutted. I just can't believe we lost that. How manny friggin chances do we need to convert?


But I just knew we were going to lose when penalties loomed. For all the faults of Lehman, he is more confident and likely to save than Carroll.


Bye Carroll wave.gif (please).

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Interesting stat:


>>>Rooney hit the post in excess of 70 times this season.


Now if the luck that has deserted us this season decides to take a ride with us next season..... \:D

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It sounds like the biggest drama this weekend was north of the border. Celtic bottled the SPL in the last two minutes of the final game. They let in two, lost 2-1, and handed the title to Rangers. They'll be crying into their beer.

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