Manchester United: Arguments for and Against the Glazers at Man Utd

Simon EdmondsCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 10:  In this handout photo provided by the NYSE Euronext, Manchester United Executives David Gill (L), Joel Glazer (3rd L) and Avram Glazer (4th L) prepare to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on August 10, 2012 in New York City. Manchester United shares started trading at USD 14.05 at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo Ben Hider/Getty Images via NYSE Euronext)
Handout/Getty Images

Debates about the Glazer’s involvement at Manchester United often split opinions heavily amongst fans of the Red Devils.

For the most part, any “good” United fan would tell you that the Glazers are like a cancer, with the sole purpose to extort the team to their own financial ends.

But are these fans really correct? Certainly there are some followers out there who see things very differently.

Without doubt there are aspects of the Glazer's presence at United that are questionable at the best of times. However, to claim that they are totally corrupt and harming England's most successful football team would also be unfair.


Financial Gain

Undoubtedly, the Glazers came to United with a business model. That being, that they wanted to make as much money from the club as humanly possible.

Having already taken control of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in America's National Football League, Malcolm Glazer wanted to try and concur one of the most lucrative sports financially in the world, English Football.

To achieve the desired success, tickets prices began to soar rapidly, making it so that the average fan could only ever dream of being able to afford a season ticket.

In response, a group of supporters broke away from the pack and formed a new club from what they saw as the ashes of the old one.

FC United of Manchester haven't had as much success in terms of silverware as their mother club since splitting away from them in 2005, but nevertheless have managed to achieve promotion three times since then, now residing in the Northern Premier League. 

Some supporters view this side as the "true United", having washed their hands of the whole filthy money-grabbing business.


New Found "Stability"

On the Forbes list of the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world, Manchester United ranked at the very top.

Beating out the likes of the New York Yankees in third, and footballing rivals Real Madrid in second place, United clocked in at a whopping £1.43 billion.

For a lot of you out there that probably either doesn't mean much, or is a very confusing statistic in regards to the debt that the club has found itself in as a direct result of the takeover.

Basically what it is saying, is that should for some reason Malcolm Glazer ever go bust, the club will almost certainly have another multi-billionaire out there willing to take the reigns.

Recent examples of a club losing their funding through either their owners' own bankruptcy or them pulling out include Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth.

The latter of the two especially applies here, with Pompey going into administration as a result of any real substantial interest shown by potential new bidders.

United topping this list means there will definitely always be someone out there ready to take on the financial goldmine that is Manchester United. 

Whether it's a good thing that the club is stable in this way, or a bad thing that they are viewed as a money making project by the business elite, is up to you.

But one thing it does guarantee is that, thanks to the Glazers, Manchester United football club will be sticking around for a long while to come.


Glazers Back-seat Approach to the Football

Say what you want financially, but when it comes to the football actually being played on the pitch, the Glazers very rarely—if at all ever—stick their noses into matters.

Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill are the men responsible for bringing in and buying new players, and United fans may do well to remember that.

In fact, all of you clamouring about the recent £24m move for Robin van Persie have in part the Glazers to thank for letting Fergie and Gill go ahead with the transfer without question.

There aren't many clubs in England where the owners will so willingly allow a manager to spend that sort of money on a player.

Sure, its easy for Chelsea and Manchester City to splash the cash on players like Hazard and Garcia, as they did this transfer window.

But remember, those clubs (particularly Man City) have what is basically a bottomless pocket of cash flow.

If Roberto di Matteo or Roberto Mancini want a player, then assuming they can agree to a deal with the individuals former club, they will always get their man.

It's not like that with the rest of the teams in the league, who have to convince the source of that money that it's a good investment of their earnings.

The Glazers top the list as "the best of the rest".

I can't recall in recent memory any transfer being denied by the family at the top. 


All That Debt

One thing that nobody can overlook is the severe levels of debt that the club went into after the takeover alone.

The sum total came to a staggeringly high £420m, with a further £60m a year to be paid in interest.

Most businesses are in debt these days, and its not something that harms the club too much in terms of continued success, but it certainly does limit what Fergie and Gill can do.

This seems contradictory to my previous point, but perhaps the Glazers always approve of deals because Fergie knows not to go to them with prices ranging anywhere above £35m?

If every transfer coming in is below a certain value, then the Glazers are probably more than happy to place a limited amount of investment on a player coming to the club.

Just think of the players that United could have signed over the years, if Fergie had been able to bid higher.

Wesley Sneijder would be the prime example of this.

Ultimately this debt does harm and restrict United greatly, and is something that has held back the most successful side in English football immensely since their American owners came to town.


In Conclusion

It seems as though for all their greed and "corruptness," the Glazers have in fact brought some positives to the club.

After all—business issues aside—since the Glazers came to Manchester in 2005, United have won four Premier League trophies and a Champions League, amongst other minor silverware.

Certainly it seems as though their presence at the club hasn't done the side too much harm when it comes to performances out on the pitch.

For the record, I have never considered myself either pro or anti-Glazer.

I try not to let the business side of things cloud my love for the beautiful game. Perhaps that's narrow minded of me.

My view is that football is something that helps us escape from the hustle and bustle of the "real world," and emerges us in an odd sort of wonder and excitement.

Letting financial issues (when your club is very secure) taint that seems somewhat odd to me.

But then, everyone is entitled to their own opinion's on football and on the Glazers' role in it.

As long as Fergie keeps the boys motivated, that's all I care about.

Follow me on Twitter: @Eddie_Edmonds