So, somewhat to my surprise, I received a reply from David Gill to my open letter in the post this morning. I have to thank David for replying, which he did very promptly after I had sent an email on Monday night giving him my full name and address (having concluded that I would not receive I reply writing under a pseudonym).
Here is the reply:
The letter seems to suggest that:
- Publishing my questions (and his reply) in public means he is not prepared to answer them (would he answer them privately?); and
- That all important issues relating to United’s finances and the Glazers were covered in David’s interview on BBC 5Live on 31st January.
I wrote an open letter because I believe there are fundamental financial problems with the Glazers’ ownership of United that need to be aired in public. The supporters have not had any adequate justification from David Gill or the family itself for the pillaging of their football club which is described so clearly in the bond prospectus. The club will not engage with any of the democratically elected supporters groups, despite the government expressly asking clubs to do so. I believe David Gill has a responsibility to communicate with the supporters on major issues concerning the club. A club is nothing without the supporters, they deserve to know the truth.
Turning to the content of the 5Live interview, I can only reiterate what I said at the time. None of the major financial issues were raised in the interview by Garry Richardson. Areas not covered included:
- The scale of the cash costs of interest, financing fees, derivative losses, “management fees” and loans to the family since 2005. The fact that none of these costs would have been incurred if the Glazers had not taken over the club.
- The huge increase in ticket prices imposed to pay these costs with no other benefit to the club.
- The inconsistency in David describing the PIKS as “not the club’s responsibility” when the bond prospectus clearly outlines the intention to use the club’s cash balance and profits to repay them.
- The Glazer family’s inability / unwillingness to pay down the PIKS in the last four years and the questions this raises about their financial position.
- The justification for replacing bank debt with more expensive bond debt, other than to permit the payment of dividends to the Glazers.
I'll say it again, NONE of the key financial issues were covered in the 5Live interview.
At a time of enormous concern among United supporters about the financial position of the club under the Glazers, demonstrated in spectacular style by the huge number of fans wearing green and gold at every game, the Chief Executive of Manchester United does not want any detailed public discussion of the issues. Supporters will have to draw their own conclusion from his unwillingness to enter into such a discussion.