Ed Woodward Says Glazers Are at Manchester United 'Long Term,' Club Not for Sale

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Fans of Manchester United protest against the owners of Manchester United, the Glazers and Chief Executive Ed Woodward prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford on October 20, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said club owners the Glazers have long-term plans and do not intend to sell.

Woodward's comments follow speculation that Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman could be interested in buying the Red Devils.

He told fanzine United We Stand (h/t Goal's Josh Thomas) of the Glazers: "Based on what I see, they're in it for the long term. With regards to offers or asking prices, my understanding is that there have been no discussions for a price for the club or anything like that. Every conversation we have is based on the long-term."

United supporters protested against Woodward and the Glazers ahead of Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford:

Overseen by Woodward, the Glazers completed a takeover of United in 2005, which loaded £540 million of debt on to the previously debt-free club.

Per the Guardian's David Conn, the debt remains at £511 million, while the takeover has since cost the club "more than £1 billion in interest, fees, refinancing penalties and other dead money."

Conn also reported the club paid out £23 million in dividends in the 2018-19 financial year, £18 million of which was to the Glazers. The American family have made £200 million since the takeover selling their shares to investors.

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Speaking to United We Stand, Woodward said the structure of the club's debt is "just under two per cent of our annual revenue each year, so it doesn't really have any impact on us."

He also said the change in approach to commercial activity under their ownership has "brought in an extra £2.5 billion to £3 billion," and despite the "negativity" surrounding some of the club's sponsorship deals, they give the club more to work with in the transfer market.

"We absolutely feel we are on the right track to getting back to winning trophies," he added.

Winning the Premier League title is a priority, according to Woodward, who said "second is not success."

Following Conn's report, football author Colin Millar discussed the club's decline on the pitch under Woodward and the Glazers:

Since Woodward was promoted to replace CEO David Gill when he left the club in 2013, United have only exceeded 70 points once in the Premier League in six seasons, when they achieved 81 in 2017-18.

That got them second place, 19 points behind winners Manchester City, and it was only the second time they've finished in the top four since 2013.

Last season, they finished sixth with 66 points, 32 behind champions City and 31 back on runners-up Liverpool. This season, United are already 15 back on the Reds and nine behind the Sky Blues after nine games.

Despite the debt saddled on them, the Red Devils have the spending power to match virtually any club in the Premier League or across Europe.

However, Woodward has failed to deliver a structure or the right personnel at the club conducive to on-field success.

Until that changes, the Red Devils will continue to underachieve under their current ownership.

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