Why the Glazers cannot afford to lose Wayne Rooney
Since Monday’s newspapers landed, radio phone ins and internet blogs have been full of claims that Wayne Rooney’s departure from Manchester United would somehow be welcomed by the Glazer regime. According to this reading, the much reviled US owners would be happy to bank the fee, shift Rooney off the wage bill, recruit some lower paid replacements and add the cash to the pile of money they are accumulating to pay down the high interest loans that helped them acquire the club.
Meanwhile the owners continue to hold fast to the line that team affairs are entirely the domain of the manager – whatever else is said about them, they were canny enough from day one to realise no good would come of meddling there – and back Sir Alex Ferguson and the chief executive, David Gill, over Rooney. But the truth is that there is compelling evidence to the contrary, best mens canada goose jacket that the loss of Rooney could be the worst possible thing to happen to the Glazers.
The Glazers and Gill continue to point to the £164m sitting in the bank (up to £95m of which could yet be siphoned off to pay down their loans) as evidence average price of canada goose jacket that the club’s cashflow is healthy, despite the £769m debt secured on the club and the owners’ shareholding and recently announced annual pre-tax losses of £79.6m.
The private riposte of the owners and the club’s senior executives when grilled over the eternal question of whether the £80m Cristiano Ronaldo windfall is available to be reinvested in the squad is to insist there is money to spend and reiterate that without a winning side the whole project becomes unsustainable. The Glazer vision is reliant on continuing to expand global sponsorship revenues (up 16.5% last year and on target to outstrip matchday revenue in the coming years), keeping fans clicking through the Old Trafford turnstiles and hoping that new media revenue streams will start to make a difference in the broadband age. They are also – crucially – hoping that Uefa’s financial fair play regulations will allow the club’s revenue generating potential (up to £286.4m last year) to give it a huge natural advantage.
All of that depends on continued success on the pitch. As outlined in the expansive bond offer document in January, the Glazer leveraged model stands or falls according to their ability to achieve the tricky high wire act of remaining among the top clubs in Europe while cutting down on costs and keeping wages in check.
“Largely as a result of Champions League broadcast revenues paid to participating clubs, the financial gap between the clubs at the top end of the Premier League and the rest has widened. This gap results from the top clubs achieving a share of the significant Champions League broadcasting revenues and using those revenues to purchase the best players in Europe and elsewhere,” it explained.
“The effect is a kind of ‘virtuous circle’ in which better performance on the pitch results in increased revenues and cash flow which can be used to buy better players. This makes it harder for other clubs to break into the top of the Premier League. In the near term, we believe we will continue to benefit from this polarisation as a top team with consistently strong performance.”
The flip side, of course, is the dire consequence of that circle being broken – as proved most recently and most dramatically by buy canada goose coat uk Liverpool.
That much discussed bond document also made the obvious, but in this case highly relevant, point that investing in a football club involves taking a punt not on plant and machinery but human beings. “We are highly dependent on members of our management, coaching staff, including our manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and players. Our success is highly dependent on their performance and, to a lesser degree, the behaviour of players and staff on and off the pitch,” read one of the long list of risks to investors.
“Our ability to attract and retain the highest quality players and coaching staff is critical to the first team’s success in league and cup competitions and, consequently, critical to our financial performance. Any successor to our manager may not be as successful as he has been. A downturn in the performance of the frst team may adversely affect our ability to attract and retain such coaches and players.”
There is another reason why Rooney is important to the Glazers. While there is an imperative to keep the wage bill down and an acceptance they can no longer compete with Manchester City or Real Madrid for the biggest names, there is also a recognition that authenitc canada goose outlet store in gta with discount price marquee names that are recognisably part best place to buy a canada goose jacket of the United tradition are required to maintain the allure of the “brand” to supporters, sponsors and corporate partners at home and overseas.
Indeed, as even the anti-Glazer green and gold campaigners recognise, as long as the fans keep coming in through the turnstiles and the megastore tills keep ringing it is hard to see how enough pressure will build on the Glazers to force them to reconsider their position. If this month’s year-end results illustrated the scale of the money flowing out of the club in interest payments and authenitc canada goose outlet store in gta with discount price one off refinancing costs, it also showed the extent to which the owners and the highly skilled executives who they employ have refined it into a money-making machine. It is exactly that contradiction that sparks fury among those who want to see the Glazers out and also ensures they are unlikely to be going anywhere soon.
Ferguson, Gill and the owners can continue to insist until they are blue in the face that the money is there for Ferguson to spend and that the manager simply does not see any value in the market. But the longer the benefits of canada goose jacket wait before another marquee signing, and amazon canada goose parka the more incoming players appear to fall into the category of hopeful punts on lower wages rather than proven stars, a large majority of fans simply will not believe them.
Manchester United Supporters Trust and others argue that the Glazers have left United unable to compete at the top level on transfer fees or wages and canada goose coat 1000 bulbs garland that whatever Rooney’s wage demands they pale into insignificance next to the claimed £487m that has flowed out of the club in can you wash a canada goose coat interest payments and fees. Rooney’s departure parka, even more than that of Ronaldo, would give their arguments added weight.
Senior executives who were at United at the time the club was sold to the Glazers but have since left Old Trafford have long insisted that just a single season without Champions League football would be enough to bring the artfully engineered financial house of cards crashing down. That’s still an unlikely prospect. But it would become that bit more likely without Rooney.
Perversely, the departure of their biggest hero of modern times could be the catalyst for the meltdown that the green and gold campaigners have been predicting and could finally give them some leverage of their own. The Red Knights – the group of wealthy fans forced to abandon a takeover bid last year in the face of an implacable refusal to sell from the Glazers – are understood to have kept their bid “warm” and are still waiting for an opening. The Glazer camp will furiously deny it but it could be that Rooney may be about to inadvertently give them one, particularly if his departure were to lead to the beginning of the end of the Ferguson era and the period of uncertainty that would inevitably follow.