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.
10 thoughts on “Lies, damn lies and David Gill”
“I would appeal to the fans to be sensible and get behind the team” David Gill
We ARE behind the team you condescending, thick twat! We LOVE UNITED and HATE GLAZER!
He is clearly trying to create division amongst the United fans by suggesting that those who take part in the anti-Glazer protests are somehow not supporting the team. But they can’t drive us apart because we’re ALL united in fighting the Glazers, and we won’t stop ’til we get what we want, and that is the Glazers out of our football club. And Gill can join them if he supports them so fucking much, the condescending prick.
Ravel Morrison? isn’t he tipped to have real potential? pace -skill-direct-and plays out wide
Well, he’s right about one thing.
Boycotting the start of the Milan match will not help our lads on the pitch in what is likely to be the biggest game of season so far at Old Trafford –
Yes. even bigger then City.
It will help the players in the long run when the club eventually goes tits up and the players don’t get paid, like Portsmouth & Leeds etc.
The current predicament we face is not the fault of Gill, as the article states he tried to fight the Glazer bid. So he was unsuccessful, not his fault, more the fault of the authorities that allow leverage deals like this to take place than of our Chief Exec. Don’t get me wrong, I dont like this situation anymore than the next United fan, but praise where praise is due. Gill could of walked on principle (then you’d be happy) and what would of happened is we’d probably have got a Yank idiot talking about Man U’s great ‘soccer’ history. So get of Gill’s case as I hope he is with us long after the Glazers. He is an astute business man, playing the long game with his current bosses. If SAF trusts him then he can’t do a bad job or do you all want Sir Alex out as well for showing support for the current owners!! No didn’t think so. Wear your Green and Gold, no harm done, but do not turn on the people keeping the club at the top even in the most difficult situation.
The real issue with this Glazer situation is not the club’s debt, but rather the holding company’s debt. Gill’s explanation of United’s debt situation is accurate, and is certainly manageable. However, the biggest problem is that the holding company created by the Glazers which took over United, called Red Football Joint Ventures Limited, bought the club from the previous owners with money they didn’t have. In simple English it means they didn’t pay them in full but instead arranged to pay the old owners in chunks over time. The only way the old owners would let this happen is if they charged interest for the money still outstanding (i.e. Payment in Kind).
Listening to Gill on the BBC made me wonder if he truly understands the financial situation the Glazers have landed the club in.
“I would appeal to the fans to be sensible and get behind the team” David Gill
Read : ‘I would appeal to the fans to stop making trouble, so I can continue to pick up my nice fat pay cheque’
Come any future takeover, this traitorous lying t**t should be the first ‘down the road’, before he has chance to turn his coat, once again.
i hope david gill dies a slow agonising death soon…he is the biggest traitor…let him rot with his masters…let them all die