Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Manchester United - losing money with the best of them

The latest from our favorite family owned business - Manchester United - has them losing a tidy sum of $171million. Yikes. Couple this with the shenanigans that went on last year with Barcelona just to ensure they could keep the lights on and once again we are reminded of how disjointed some of the business of football has become. I realize that the reality is you cannot run a sports team like a business, your goal is not to own a team to make money and gobs of profits. On the flip side you cannot run a sports team like a drunken sailor on 24 hour shore leave: completely disregarding financial responsibility. So the Glazers lost A LOT of money...and still need to service debt on the Red Devils. We all witnessed what happened when another North American partnership bought a storied English football side - Liverpool. Can this be far into the future for Manchester United? I, as are many Manchester United fans, am convinced that the Glazers never bought Manchester United for the love of the squad or the storied history, but because they saw an asset they could leverage. An asset they could milk for money and loans. An asset they could bleed dry to line their collective pockets. Thankfully for them, they have continued to win, but at some point the financial irresponsibility will catch up to them. We already started seeing some of this with the sale of Ronaldo to Real Madrid. Can further sales be far behind?

I certainly will not shed a tear over their hardship, but for the overall benefit of the game something must change.

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