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22/04/2014

MUST response to the dismissal today of Manchester United manager David Moyes

In response to the dismissal today of Manchester United manager David Moyes, MUST - the Manchester United Supporters Trust released this statement:
 
 
We all understand football's a results based business and clearly the results were not good so it was no surprise that the manager paid the price for that failure.
 
However we believe the cause of the malaise at Manchester United runs much deeper than the single appointment of one man as manager. We need to look forward now and if the next manager is to have the best chance to flourish, wider issues need to be resolved to create the right conditions for success.
 
United probably peaked on the pitch in 2009 and since then we've seen a gradual decline, slowed only by the genius of Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite some key successes in that time, if anything the other elite European clubs have moved further ahead, while the domestic challenge has also become much stronger. The foundations of that early success were laid prior to the Glazer takeover with strong reinvestment of plc profits back into the squad recruiting players like Ferdinand, Rooney and Ronaldo.
 
The Club can (should) only spend money that it has and, unfortunately, the Club's owners have spent hundreds of millions of the Club’s money on financial restructuring, interest and debt payments and this has limited funds available for reinvestment in the playing squad.
 
We do not doubt that this summer will see significant funds made available to the new manager, but this isn't going to be resolved in one transfer window. We need to change the financial model as the reinvestment has to be sustained at the levels of our main rivals. That won't please the Glazers as it will eat up their potential profits for the foreseeable future and therein lies the conflict.
 
This is not to say we want United to operate under the ownership of a wealthy individual, we much prefer the Club simply being able to re-invest the money it generates itself, rather than that money being extracted from the Club.
 
The Glazers record of appointments at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is truly awful so it should come as no great surprise to see the same pattern emerge at Manchester United once the shield of Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer there to protect them.
 
The quicker the owners realise that the Club’s current problems are underpinned by their ownership model rather than just the identity of the manager, the better.
 
The challenge for the Glazers is that their ownership model, and valuation, is premised on the basis that either the club can operate on much lower investment levels and still compete as we did for so long under Sir Alex Ferguson or the club can generate enough surplus revenue to allow us to compete with the European elite whilst still having funds remaining for future dividends. 
 
 
Clearly the former is not possible following the retirement of Sir Alex and in actual fact United have gone backwards in relative financial terms from a position of undisputed number one in the football money league prior to the arrival of the Glazers to now occupying fourth place behind Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich - all, not coincidentally, fan owned clubs who reinvest their profits.
 
In short - the sooner the Glazers recognise that Manchester United has to be able to reinvest its own revenues, and that there will be no surplus for them to cream off, the sooner they'll realise they need to cut and run before the market corrects the vastly inflated valuation of Manchester United. This is based on profits that cannot be sustained if the re-investment necessary to compete is to be made.
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