Manchester United supporters demand debt clearance from Glazers

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The Independent Online

The Manchester United Supporters Trust have repeated their call for the Glazer family to use the proceeds from their intended Singapore Stock Market flotation to wipe away the club's massive debt.

Even MUST, who have always opposed the Glazer families ownership of United, admit the latest figures, revealed yesterday, are impressive.

However, whilst acknowledging the work done by commercial director Richard Arnold and his staff, they believe most of the credit should go to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

And, in acknowledging how Ferguson managed to collect a record 19th title and a place in last season's Champions League final with minimal investment in his squad, they now want the debt cleared to allow United to really punch their weight.

"The commercial team at United are clearly smart operators and we welcome continued growth in the business but to be fair we've seen growth consistently year after year long before the Glazers took over," they said.

"There is only one man who is responsible for that consistent success - the same one responsible for success on the pitch - Sir Alex Ferguson.

"Without the incredible performance on the pitch and the fantastic loyal support of thousands of match-going fans, as well as millions more around the world, there would be no platform on which to build the growth of the business.

"So while the financial results are strong, they also show that the Glazers have taken another £51m out of the club in the last 12 months as well as using an even bigger chunk (£64m) of the club's money to pay down part of their bond debt.

"This is money that the club has generated and money that should stay in the club rather than go to Florida or to pay down the Glazers' debt and interest.

"That's why we're calling on the Glazers to use any share sale in Singapore to clear all of the club's debt - debt that they put on the club and they must take responsibility for."

The Singapore venture provides the backdrop to United posting record operating profits of £110.9million.

This comes from record revenue of £331.4million - an increase of £45million from last year and passing £300million for the first time.

Commercial turnover for the Premier League title winners and Champions League finalists reached £103.4million, with matchday turnover (£108.6million) and media (£119.4million) also up.

Net debt, meanwhile, is down to £308.3million due to the club's vast cash reserves.

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