Manchester United's David Gill Needs to Answer These 10 Financial Questions

Anders RedContributor IFebruary 18, 2010

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 25: (CHINA OUT) David Gill of Manchester United attends a press conference on July 25, 2005 in Beijing, China. Manchester United are in China's capital to play the Beijing Hyundai team on July 26 at the Workers' Stadium. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
China Photos/Getty Images
Following David Gill's somewhat unsatisfactory radio interview with Garry Richardson on 31 January (his only formal statements about United's finances since the bond issue) and the emotional exchange of views he had with two supporters at Birmingham University last week, I am today sending David an open letter with 10 key financial questions about the Glazers' stewardship of the club.
The full text can be read at
I have a lot of time for David who is clearly an excellent administrator in an "industry" lacking in such people.  In the plc days I met him on several occasions.  I do however think he is not being straight with the media or supporters about key aspects of the club's financial position and my questions attempt to get to these aspects. 

The Glazers' ownership of United

1.   Can you confirm that the Glazers have not put any money into the club since 2005 (as opposed to spending money to buy it), but have in fact imposed costs totalling £266m, including fees and loans for their own benefit of £22.9m?

2.   Isn't it the case that if the Glazers hadn't imposed any of these £266m of costs, the club could have held all ticket and executive facility prices at their 2004‑05 levels (at a cost of £109m) and that the club would still be better off? 

3.   Isn't it true that tax and dividends "saved" under the Glazers' structure compared to the plc represent less than 50 percent of the interest, financing costs and fees the Glazers have made the club pay?


The Carrington training ground  

4.   If there is no possibility of Carrington being sold, why is it purposely carved out of the security for the bonds and why is the option outlined in the prospectus? 

5. If Carrington were to be sold, isn't it true that any buyer would require a commercial rent after the 10-year peppercorn rent period ended, so the club would inevitably be financially hurt in the medium term?

The financial position post the bond issue

6. Will Manchester United have to pay the Glazers the £70m identified in the prospectus and do you believe this will be used to repay some of the PIKS?

7.   Will Manchester United have to pay the Glazers the other dividends and fees to which they are entitled to under the bond covenants and do you believe they will use any of these payments to repay the PIKS?

8.   Why do you think the Glazers haven't used any of their personal wealth to repay the PIKS and are you concerned about the family's financial position given their need to borrow £10m from United last year?

9.   Why did the club insist on the new shirt sponsor Aon making such a large upfront payment a year ahead of the deal starting, given such terms will reduce the total value and the club had a very significant cash balance at the time?

10. Given that the rate paid on the new bonds is higher than that paid on the old bank debt, isn't the only "benefit" that arises from the refinancing the right to pay dividends from United to the Glazers' holding companies?

I don't know whether David will reply to my letter, but in any case I believe (from a professional point of view as well as that of a supporter) that my 10 questions represent the subjects on which the United management and the Glazers must be challenged.