By Ollie Irish
Manchester United’s owners are a stunning £1.1billion in debt, way more than anyone suspected, according to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama.
The programme claims the Glazers have borrowed £388million against their shopping mall business in the USA, and a further £66million against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL side they own.
Mortgages have been taken out on 63 of the 64 malls owned by First Allied, the company owned by the Glazers. Four of those malls have subsequently gone bust, with a further 28 being closely watched by banks.
Financial expert Andy Green thinks the Glazers borrowed against these malls to help fund their purchase of Man Utd in 2005.
Green said: “At the time when they [the Glazers] had to present a huge amount of cash over here in the UK they borrowed a huge amount of extra money in the US and publicly they didn’t buy anything else that year.
“Around a quarter of them (the shopping malls) cannot pay the interest on their mortgages already. Another quarter are coming off interest-free deals and, when those interest-free deals end, those shopping centres won’t be able to pay their mortgages either.
“So the whole thing adds up to a real cash-flow problem for the Glazer family.”
And United themselves are some £700million in debt, and would have posted a significant loss last year had it not been for the £80m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.
Fun times at Old Trafford, eh – and no amount of green-and-gold scarves can alter that.
I look into the future and see… no Fergie, a bubble bursting, a grand era ended at the Theatre of Dreams.