Thursday, 18 February 2010

An open letter to David Gill with 10 key financial questions

Following David Gill's somewhat unsatisfactory radio interview with Garry Richardson on 31st January (his only formal statements about United's finances since the bond issue) and the emotional exchange of views he had with two supporters at Birmingham University last week, I am today sending David an open letter with ten key financial questions about the Glazers' stewardship of the club.

The full text is set out below and the letter can be downloaded in pdf form here.

I have a lot of time for David who is clearly an excellent administrator in an "industry" lacking in such people.  In the plc days I met him on several occasions.  I do however think he is not being straight with the media or supporters about key aspects of the club's financial position and my questions attempt to get to these aspects.

The amount of interest costs and fees imposed by the Glazers on the club (including monies taken for the Glazer family's personal benefit) since the takeover compared to exactly zero the family have invested in the club (rather than in buying it).  Without these costs, ticket prices could have been frozen at pre-takeover levels and the club would still be worse off.

David's dismissal of a potential sale of Carrington, a prize footballing asset built by the club entirely from its own resources.  Such a sale is definitely envisaged by the bond document and would be another direct transfer of value from the club to the Glazer family.

Of most importance, the crystal clear mechanisms put in place by the bond covenants to allow club profits to be used to pay down the PIKS, which totally refute David's many statements that this debt is not Manchester United's "problem".  These mechanisms are the only "benefit" the bonds provide.

I don't know whether David will reply to my letter, but in any case I believe (from a professional point of view as well as that of a supporter) that my 10 questions represent the subjects on which the United management and the Glazers must be challenged.