Glazers won't sell out to fans 'at war' with Manchester United, insists David Gill

09 March 2011 02:14
Manchester United chief executive David Gill has insisted the club were right to snub fan groups who were 'at war with the owners'.

Gill defended the board's decision not to open a dialogue with groups such as the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) and the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), who are fundamentally opposed to the Glazers' ownership.

This policy was challenged today by a House of Commons Select Committee as part of a wider inquiry into football governance, with Gill asked whether he was simply avoiding engaging with those who disagreed with him.

Backing: David Gill (left) with Avi and Joel Glazer

But he was unmoved, saying: 'If we're going to be castigated for notspeaking to one or two groups who have particular, very clear agendas,then so be it. We'll take the castigation.'

Gill was adamant United did respect the opinions of their fans and heldforums with them three to four times a year to gauge - and often actupon - their concerns.

'We'd be naive and stupid if we didn't understand what the fans think,what they want, and reflect that in our business policy,' said Gill,who insisted he had no problem with MUST and IMUSA members attendingsuch forums as individual United supporters.

But he added: 'At the same time, we're not going to engage in structured dialogue with organisations like that. I don't think it's appropriate or sensible. They're at war with the owners.'

Dismissing the rebels as 'domestic' supporters, Gill said: 'We've donestudies that show we have 333 million followers around the world. Not everyone hates the owners.

Protests: United fans have attempted to oust the Glazers

'When we first went public in 1991, a lot of fans didn't like the club at that time. They loathed the Edwards family.'

Their current enmity is centred largely on the issue of United'sownership being leveraged by debt, for which the club pay annualinterest in the region of ?45million.

Critics argue that is money which could otherwise be spent on players or reducing ticket prices at Old Trafford.

'There's been no impact in terms of our transfers,' said Gill, whoinsisted any extra spending power United might have if debt-free wasoffset by the additional revenue streams the Glazers had tapped into.

Claiming United's debts were perfectly serviceable, he added: 'The?45million, if that wasn't there, that would be better in some respects.

'But, at the same time, it's not hampered us developing the club. Ournet spend on players since the owners took over is greater than it wasin the five or six years before that.'

Gill also defended the Glazers' unwillingness to communicate directlywith the fans, saying: 'The owners have delegated that to myself, theteam we have, Alex Ferguson.'

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Source: Daily_Mail