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Manchester United – six in a row



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Debt is evil. Glazers brought debt to United. Therefore, Glazers are evil.

United may not have the best marketing (Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal trump everyone in that department) but they sure as hell have the best money-men in the world. Where else do you find a club that is, on one hand, supposedly teetering on the edge of annihilation under the burden of unsurmountable debt (or so the more aggressive anti-Glazer campaigners would have you believe), and on the other hand is coming off its most successful era in it’s history (3 consecutive league titles + 2 consecutive Champions League final appearances) and has been, for six years in a row, been counted as the most valuable football club in the world.

Forbes’ lists are not a market for financial stability or footballing success, but they do make a valid point – Manchester United has, like it or not, thrived in the last 4-6 years, partially because of it’s success in the 90s but equally because of a commitment towards establishing a global brand that has been executed remarkably well in the 00s.

While I wait for men with more financial acumen than me to give as much time evaluating the 500m refinancing deal as they have in painting worst-case scenarios about United’s debt situation, it’s satisfying to see a large, thriving business prosper where the haters (and that’s what they are, mostly, barring the United fans) have been predicting it’s demise for years now.

Debt may not get you anywhere fast, but as we’ve seen with a smaller club like Liverpool, even not finishing in the top 4 can kill a big team like United. At most, it will just signal a change in ownership. In all likelihood, the Glazers will continue to build United until they can either figure out how to keep the club while paying off the debt or to sell it at a healthy profit. No one kills their cash cow, especially not the most valuable one in the whole wide world of football.

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.