Glazers urged to clear United debt

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The much-derided Glazer family would bring much of the venom that has stained their ownership of Manchester United to an end if they used the proceeds of their planned part-flotation to pay off the club's vast debt.

That the observation is being made by the Manchester United Supporters Trust, who have opposed the Glazer family throughout their Old Trafford tenure, is telling. MUST recognise that if a debt that had shrunk to £308million when the latest accounts were released last week were to be cleared, the Glazers would enjoy a different status amongst many fans.

"A lot of people will come onside because the debt is what they see as doing the damage," said MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo.

"It doesn't mean they will be happy with what has happened and there is a substantial percentage of fans who will never accept them because they are so angry about all the divisions that have been created. But there is a value to be gained. It would remove the wound that is there now.

"Clearing the debt is quite an obvious thing to argue for. Most people would say it is fair that if the Glazers are going to make a big profit, they should clear their own debt. If they just reduce it they are missing a big opportunity."

Until United get clearance from the Singapore financial authorities to launch their takeover plan, there will be no indication as to what the Glazers intend to do with the money.

As an explanation has never been offered about how they managed to erase £220million-worth of high-interest payment-in-kind notes last November, it could be something to do with that. However, beyond question from what MUST can see, is that it is part of an overall exit strategy.

"It is telling you two things. Firstly they need money, and they need it fairly quickly. Also that they are prepared to sell," said Drasdo.

"I do think the sale of 25 or 35%, hopefully it will be more than that, is the first phase of that exit. Sharing ownership is just not the way they operate. They don't let people see inside the business. They do the exact opposite.

"The PiKs have disappeared. Nobody knows where they went and who paid for them. Everything is hidden. They never reveal any information. At the time of the takeover, they did a compulsory purchase to force the smallest of shareholders to sell."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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