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Glazer family attempt to draw a line in sand by refusing to sell Manchester United
Published : 28 May 2010 19:35:54
In a short statement appended to a quarterly financial update published for bond holders, the Glazers responded to the prospect of a bid from the Red Knights investment group with an apparently unequivocal commitment to remain in charge. "The board notes recent press speculation regarding a possible bid for Manchester United," they said. "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." Related ArticlesGlazer family insist Man United 'not for sale'Manchester United finances in Panorama probeGlazers to keep cash in United coffersUnited to plead Hernandez caseFoster criticises anti-Glazer movementSport on televisionUntil now the Glazers had made no direct comment on the bubbling supporter unrest or the Red Knights. Chief executive David Gill gave an extremely rare newspaper interview in which he insisted that the Americans had been good for the club. The figures released on Friday revealed revenue for the nine months to the end of March was up 13 per cent, and a cash balance of £95 million, of which around £45 million will be paid in interest. They also disclosed that the club lost £40.7 million in a disastrous interest rate swap effectively a hedge against rates rising secured as part of the previous financing arrangement. Debt held against the club fell to £520.9 million down from £543.3 million a year earlier, with the Glazers owing a further £212 million in payment-in-kind loans. Supporters groups remain unconvinced by the Glazers' statement, with the Manchester United Supporters Trust, architects of the green and gold protests, dismissing it as a public relations exercise. There are indications too that investors who funded the £500 million bond issue remain concerned about the potential impact of supporter unrest on season tickets sales, as well as declining hospitality revenue. In a conference call with club chief of staff Ed Woodward on Friday investors asked for an update on season ticket and hospitality sales, but were told only that sales were in line with previous seasons. The investors also wanted clarification of United's likely transfer spending. When the bond was issued the club said that net spending would average £25 million. With £32 million already spent in this financial year that leaves little room for manoeuvre. Woodward said that the £25 million guidance figure remained valid and pointed out that Ben Foster had been sold for £6 million, reducing spending to £26 million. This indicates that any summer spending by Air Alex Ferguson will come after June 30, placing it in the next financial year. Attention will now shift to the Red Knights, who remain publicly committed to making an offer despite indications from within the group that a bid is unlikely. MUST said on Friday night that they would continue to agitate against the American owners. "They know that supporters have the power to remove them and they clearly fear that the anger amongst supporters at the millions they've taken out of our club has driven many beyond breaking point," said a spokesman.