Don't You Dare Thank The Glazers

Manchester United have spent big this summer, but that should be the norm for one of the world's biggest clubs. They've been hamstrung by the actions of their owners...

Last Updated: 03/09/14 at 19:31 Post Comment

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"Look at the Glazers... you would have thought they were nothing but a bunch of Americans intent on buying the club and selling off Old Trafford to Tesco judging by the howl of protests from the fans. Within two seasons though, they had won the title and built a squad the envy of Europe."

You don't hear a massive amount about the Glazers, these days. Or, at least, not enough. Not if you aren't a Manchester United fan, anyway. There's just too much shambolic about United on the pitch to bother with stuff on the pitch, and it might seem like a proper critique of their time in Manchester requires a detailed knowledge of financial data, which is frankly too boring to even try to understand.

The good thing about the Glazers though, is that the headline figures are more than enough to judge them. They've taken in the region of £700million out of the club since arriving in 2005, in assorted fees, interest and other payments with complicated acronyms. A few weeks ago, they made a handy $127million from selling shares to an investment firm. That's a decent basis for an opinion.‎

But it's all OK, isn't it? Because they're spending money now, aren't they? Loads of it, in fact, with north of £150million lavished this summer on a variety of players, some of them really very good. So everything's cool? Well, obviously not.

At this point it's worth saying that this could be something of a straw man piece. There have been, to my knowledge, no serious articles defending the Glazers or praising them excessively for finally opening their chequebooks. The quote at the top of this article, from the great man Tim Lovejoy, currently stands as perhaps the only scholarly defence of the way they have run Manchester United.

But those pieces will come, and at some point soon, too. If you care to treat Twitter as anything close to a reliable barometer of opinion, just do a search for 'Glazers well done' or 'Glazers finally', then resist the urge to take a long walk in the woods.

This year has seen unprecedented spending at Manchester United, and that they have splashed so much cash on their team and it's still hugely flawed gives you an indication of how jiggered they were, and perhaps still are. You'll have read many times about Sir Alex Ferguson's neglect in relying on his own brilliance and letting his squad fall into such abysmal disrepair, but it's worth repeating the point.

Of course it was only partly the old man's fault. Ferguson frequently praised the Glazers, and indeed famously and charmingly instructed United's supporters to "go and support Chelsea" if they didn't like them. But if you think Ferguson was happy mending and making do, adding decent but ultimately not quite good enough players when this was the man who'd previously spent millions on Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and Rio Ferdinand, then pass on your email address, because you've just inherited £63million from a Saudi prince and all I need is your bank details to make the first payment.

The Glazers haven't spent money this summer for altruistic reasons, but rather out of desperation, knowing that although they can handle a couple of years of mediocrity and lurking outside the Champions League, they know the sooner they get back in the better for their own investment.

The only reason United have been forced to spend this much in one go is because of the neglect under their stewardship. They have created this problem through years of funneling the club's money towards their own debt rather than the team, and now they don't have a once in a generation genius to help them save face, they're trying to spend their way out of trouble.

Congratulating the Glazers for this transfer window is a little like thanking someone for buying you a new shirt after they've just spent nine years punching you in the nose. Or thanking a man for taping your Ming vase back together after smashing it into tiny pieces.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Manchester United are spending money as they can, and indeed as they should have been doing for years before. Meanwhile, the Glazers still pocket £100million after leeching for nine years. It's the most obvious thing in football to point out that they Glazers are poison, but it's well to remember they shouldn't be thanked for this burst of spending.

Nick Miller - you are allowed to thank him on Twitter

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