Manchester United’s latest set of financial results may well have a headline figure, but if Joel Glazer keeps his word then their summer spending won’t be affected because it “never” is.
The club have of course become adept at operating with a deficit during the Glazer’s ownership, but that still doesn’t stop their net debt of £443.5m being a figure that jumps right out at you from the latest set of results.
The fact that United posted just a four per cent decrease in revenue for January, February and March is something to be fairly hopeful about given that there were still no supporters allowed in grounds then, but what those fans will really hope for is seeing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be allowed to strengthen his squad this summer.
And that’s where Glazer’s promise comes in.
United’s part-owner – who will still be thinking about his role in the failed European Super League idea no doubt – spoke to supporters at a fans’ forum for the very first time earlier this month, 16 years on from the family buying the club.
ESPN quote the minutes from the meeting, in which Glazer said: “We think that Manchester United is a very well run club, and we think clubs throughout football could take a look at us, and there’s a lot of good to be seen when it comes to some of these things that are controversial.
“We’re able to spend with the top clubs throughout Europe, whether it’s wages or transfer fees, we’ve been able to keep our ticket prices low, we’ve not increased them in over 10 years.”
The idea that other clubs could learn from the Glazers’ ownership isn’t likely to be a view that is widely held by the club’s supporters, particularly not those whose protests before May’s scheduled match against Liverpoolcaused the game to be rearranged.
But those fans do now have words they can cling to in the hope that the club will complete deals for the their major transfer targets this summer.
The England pair of Jadon Sancho and Kieran Trippier and the Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane are the three names most often linked with moved to United, with each deal seemingly being at a varying stage of being completed.
Glazer insists that the club’s finances were not an issue to completing deals though, and that debt “never” is.
Again at the fans’ forum, he said: “It [debt and dividends] has never stood in the way of us pursuing players or transfers on the pitch.
“We may have walked away from transfers at times because the other side wanted an outlandish number. And while it’s easy to pay it that one time, it does have consequences.
“You do it once and the next person expects it, and then the next person expects it. And that’s not good, ultimately, for the club. So, we think that we’re able to accomplish all these things and still have.
“We’re going to keep investing on the pitch, which we did last year, and we plan on doing it meaningfully this year. So, we feel that we’re in a good spot.”