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Gill: No pressure on United to sell
Published : 08 Oct 2010 14:14:39
Manchester United chief executive David Gill insists there is no pressure to sell star players such as Wayne Rooney despite the club making losses of £83.6million. Gill said the club would still prefer to have "Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch than £80million in the bank" as proof of their desire to keep players. Although United's group operating profit topped £100.7million, after player-related costs, interest payments and a number of expensive one-off costs related to the bond issue, overall there was a record loss for the club. Gill said the accounts released on Friday were "very good" with excellent revenues, and said there should be no concern about United going down the same road as Liverpool, whose American co-owners have struggled to finance their ownership. The United chief executive did admit the figures could be confusing to fans who saw a record turnover of £286million for the year ending June 2010 contrasting with the record losses of £83.6million. For the previous year the club had returned a net profit of £48.2million thanks to the sale of Ronaldo, but Gill said the Glazer family who own United had not pushed for that move, nor would they for any other player. He added that United's balance sheet includes £165million remaining in the bank if Sir Alex Ferguson wants to buy new players. Gill said: "We are not a club that needs to sell. We have money in the bank so there is zero pressure on that, no pressure at all to sell any star player whether it is Wayne Rooney or X,Y or Z. I can categorically say that. "There was no desire at all from anyone at the club to sell Cristiano - he wanted to go and as a result we managed to extract a world record fee. "These philosophy is to retain and attract the best players. We have £165million in the bank but in some ways we would prefer to have £80million in the bank and Ronaldo on the pitch." Payments Gill said part of the losses related to one-off payments after bank loans were turned into a bond, totalling £47million. He added that if 'goodwill' losses - an accounting practice relating to the original takeover - of £35.2million, and foreign exchange losses of £19million (which should be recovered next year) and depreciation are ignored, United would have an actual profit of about £25million. Gill added: "There are very good results for the club with records here, there and everywhere but they are complicated with non-cash items and exceptional one-off hits." Fans' group have raised concerns that there could be parallels with the Liverpool crisis, where the holding company may be forced into administration next week over unpaid debts following a leveraged takeover, and the Glazer ownership of United. Gill however insisted that was not the case. He added: "I can't speak for any other club but the United fans should not be concerned, we have a long-term financing structure in place, excellent revenues that are growing, we are controlling our costs - total wages are 46% of turnover - and we can afford the interest on our long-term finance. "In our opinion if something changed in the ownership this club will survive and continue - it is covering the financing cost more than adequately. "We still have cash to invest in players and to give good contracts to players and we are comfortable with the business model." The figures show that United's wage bill rose by 7% to £131.7million, while United's overall debt rose to £521.7million. It may also appease some critics that according to the figures, the Glazers have not taken any money out of the club to pay any of their £200million-worth of PIK notes that are now attracting interest at 16.25%. Gill added: "They have retained that money in the bank and it's there for Sir Alex if he needs it for players, and for investing in the training ground and the stadium." United are confident that they will meet UEFA's financial fair play rules despite the figures because not all the paper losses - such as depreciation - are included by UEFA when they calculate whether clubs are only spending what they earn. What do you think? Have your say.