Glazers prepared to invest for success - Gill

April 11, 2006

Chief executive David Gill insists Manchester United's new owners are prepared to invest in the team to further the Red Devils' quest for success.

When Malcolm Glazer completed his hugely controversial £790million Old Trafford takeover in the summer there were many who claimed the American's debt burden would prevent him from handing Sir Alex Ferguson a transfer kitty big enough to allow United to challenge Chelsea.

While there has been no massive signing since Glazer's buy-out, Edwin van der Sar, Park Ji-sung, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra have arrived at a combined cost of over £18million.

If the transfer fee in excess of £24million being placed on the head of Lyon's Mahamadou Diarra is any guide, the Glazer's will need deep pockets this summer to fund the key midfield reinforcements Ferguson has made his priority.

But Gill is adamant the Glazers understand the need to speculate to accumulate and can see no cause for concern over Ferguson's projected transfer budget.

'The Glazers understand the relationship between success on and off the pitch,' Gill told BBC Radio Five Live's 'In Search of the Glazers' programme.

'They are taking the long-term view and they are prepared to invest to get a return in years to come.

'They share the vision we have of the club. We want to be the best we can be, on and off the pitch.

'They are prepared to invest in it properly and support what we want to do.'

Glazer surprised many observers by opting to leave Gill in control of day-to-day operations at Old Trafford, even though prior to the takeover, he had authorised at least three statements claiming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner's business plan was 'too aggressive'.

However, it now transpires Gill's cautionary words have had a major effect, with Glazer revising the plan most financial experts agreed was impossible to attain.

Privately, sources close to the Glazer camp insist the business plan was always a 'moveable feast', while a refinancing of the £275million borrowed from hedge funds to complete the deal is 'conceivable'.

Having not been allowed by Gill to conduct a full examination of United's accounts prior to the takeover, there were bound to be some assumptions made, while the unexpected loss of the Vodafone shirt deal forced a hasty rethink of their plans to overhaul the club's sponsorship plans.

'Assumptions have to be changed and modified all the time,' added the source.

'What has happened at Wembley is a prime example of that - and that situation has a knock-on effect at Manchester United.'

The two most recent delays to the Wembley construction project means Old Trafford will now host five England matches it would not normally have expected to; the pre-World Cup friendlies against Hungary and Jamaica, two autumn Euro 2008 qualifiers against Andorra and Macedonia, plus a friendly in the middle of August.

Income from those fixtures, plus the 8,000 extra seats created by the new stadium expansion, leave Gill bullish about the future for United.

There are still many fans who remain to be convinced, wondering how the club can possibly achieve the 50% increase in turnover it is thought Glazer's initial business plan demanded.

The answer, it appears, may come through the digital revolution according to one of Glazer's fellow NFL owners, Jeffrey Lurie of the Philadelphia Eagles.

'In one sense, it was a big surprise for someone to branch out of the NFL into another country,' said Lurie.

'But, in another, it makes a lot of sense.

'Maybe it is not a question of them improving Manchester United as an entity, maybe they just see an increase in its value through the use of digital media and broadband.'