By Ed @ United Rant
Make no mistake; this revolution is being televised.
When 10,000 Manchester United fans marched on Old Trafford in summer 2005, most knew then what we know now. The soon-to-be implemented leveraged buyout of United by the American Glazer family would load the club’s books with millions in debt.
Anger was the dominant feeling. After all, the club’s own managing director David Gill prophesised that debt was not only an inappropriate business model for the club but, dramatically, the “road to ruin”.
In the aftermath of takeover, thousands walked away from the club. At least 30,000 gave up their season tickets in protest and many others never returned, forming the ‘Red Rebels’ FC United of Manchester.
Gill had fought off the Glazers’ advances for months – in public at least – as the game of offer and counter-offer between the Americans and United’s Irish investors Cubic Expression played itself out to inevitable conclusion.
Five years on, poacher has turned gamekeeper, with Gill – £1.8 million per year better off – the primary exponent of the leveraged business model that threatens not only United’s hegemony over the English game but the very existence of the club in its current model.
Gill, as the pre-eminent media face of the club’s upper management, has done most to deride supporters’ concerns over the club’s £716 million debt. It’s a debt that will suck at least £565 million from United between now and 2017.
The managing director would be foolish to underestimate the strength of feeling among United supporters this time around.
Five years ago, management’s gamble that supporters’ vocal protest would fade into apathy paid off. Angry as supporters were back then, the brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson in building yet