Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 24th 2014 Contents A53
Thursday, April 24, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LONDON---Manchester United s owners
will be relying on the strength of the club s
brand to soften the impact of a sudden
downturn in its fortunes over the past six
Few clubs have the money-making abilities
of United, which has been setting revenue
records even as the team endured lows on
the pitch not witnessed for 24 years during
the brief but woeful managerial reign of David
Moyes. His spell in charge was abruptly ended
on Tuesday before his first season had even
drawn to a close.
For all United s success in squeezing every
dollar, euro and yen out of its brand, handling
a managerial succession has proved more
challenging. Not only has it created uncer-
tainty for the New York-listed business, it
has also provided a renewed platform for
protests against the American Glazer family
that bought the club nine years ago.
The Florida-based Glazers have no emo-
tional attachment to the 136-year-old club
they bought amid street protests. They refuse
to engage with fans and never justify decisions
in public. While the hierarchy is silent, fans
groups have a more powerful voice to protest
against the family, which loaded hundreds
of millions of dollars of debt onto the club
through a leveraged takeover.
"United probably peaked on the pitch in
2009 and since then we ve been in a gradual
decline, slowed only by the genius of Sir Alex
Ferguson," said Duncan Drasdo, chief exec-
utive of the Manchester United Supporters
Since 2005, more than US$1.1 billion has
been spent servicing the club s debt, which
is currently around US$600 million. Drasdo
argues the club has "limited funds available
for investment in the playing squad." United
has been generating record revenue, though,
each quarter, with turnover set to exceed
US$700 million in the 2013-14 financial year.
United fans have cast envious eyes at Abu
Dhabi-owned neighbour Manchester City
and Qatar-backed French champion Paris
Saint-Germain. Both clubs have been invest-
ing their owners oil wealth during splurges
in recent transfer windows.
But who could have forecast that a United
side that won the Premier League by 11 points
before Ferguson retired last May after 26 tro-
phy-filled years would plummet to seventh
this season under Moyes? The Glazers feared
a post-Ferguson slump but never expected
such a dismal showing, ditching Moyes just
ten months into a six-year contract.
Since 2012, when ten per cent of United
was floated by the Glazers, the rise and fall
of the club s shares have been as keenly
watched as the team s results. Wall Street
investors initially welcomed the dismissal of
Moyes, with shares soaring by seven percent
at one point after Tuesday s announcement---
reaching their highest level since Ferguson s
Those gains were wiped out yesterday,
with shares dropping by almost six per cent
to US$17.69 in morning trading, sending the
club s value below US$3 billion again to
United will be hoping the 659 million fol-
lowers they claim to have worldwide are more
loyal to the club than some investors.
Such a large fan base has helped United
attract an enviable array of sponsors across
the world with innovative country-specific
deals masterminded some at the club s cor-
porate headquarters in London s Mayfair dis-
trict. From curries in South Korea to crisps
in Malaysia to credit cards across the Middle
East, companies have been willing to pay
millions of pounds to United to use its brand-
ing.However, those companies were attracted
by a club that has won 13 Premier League
titles since 1993---not one that has fallen
from grace under Moyes. Its failure to finish
in the Premier League s top four to secure
Champions League qualification will not just
cost United more than US$50 million in lost
UEFA television revenue and gate receipts.
It will also deal a blow to the club s pres-
Sponsors might also not want to be asso-
ciated with a club where disenchanted fans
are protesting against the owners. With three
of the final four matches of the Premier
League season at United s 76,000-capacity
Old Trafford stadium, the Glazers might find
a hostile atmosphere if they make a rare visit
to a game. (US)
Liverpool tops the Associated Press global
football poll this week for the fifth time this sea-
son and for the second consecutive week after
its 3-2 win over Norwich kept it atop the English
Raheem Sterling made it a double for Liverpool
in the poll, as his two goals in the victory earned
him leading player honours.
"Sterling may just have won the league for Liv-
erpool. Brendan Rodgers says the 19-year-old is
the best young player in Europe right now and
it is hard to argue with that assessment," Mark
Rodden of Eurosport said.
Sterling was joined in the top ten by teammate
Luis Suarez in fifth. Sterling provided an assist
for Suarez to score his league-leading 30th goal.
Atletico Madrid remains second after it prepared
for a Champions League semifinal against Chelsea
with a 2-0 win against Elche to stay first in the
Spanish League. Diego Simeone s side can win
La Liga for the first time since 1996 if it wins its
next three matches.
City rival Real Madrid is third, a point behind
Atletico, after winning the Copa del Rey final
against Barcelona. Gareth Bale, who won the copa
with a fantastic solo goal, is runner-up to Ster-
Edinson Cavani polled third, after scoring both
goals in Paris Saint-Germain s 2-1 defeat of Lyon
in the French League Cup final. PSG ranked fifth
in the team vote, tied with Borussia Dortmund.
Juventus polled fourth after moving to two wins
away from its 30th Serie A title with a 1-0 win
at home against Bologna. Paul Pogba scored the
winner, and was ninth in the player vote.
Lukas Podolski was fourth after finding his form
in front of goal to boost Arsenal s bid for Cham-
pions League football. He scored four times in
the games against West Ham and Hull.
Man U counts on brand
...as it is set to lose US$50 million in TV and gate revenue
top AP soccer poll
1. Liverpool, 111 points.
2. Atletico Madrid, 72.
3. Real Madrid, 71.
4. Juventus, 46.
5 (tie) Paris Saint-
7 (tie) Everton, 42.
Bayern Munich, 42.
9. Roma, 35.
10. Sunderland, 32.
1. Raheem Sterling, 87.
2. Gareth Bale, 68.
3. Edinson Cavani, 39.
4. Lukas Podolski, 32.
5 (tie) Luis Suarez, 30
Marco Reus, 30.
8. Lionel Messi, 25.
9. Paul Pogba, 17.
10. Seamus Coleman,
AP GLOBAL 10 RANKINGS
In this August 16, 2010 file photo Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, right, with teammate
Paul Scholes after scoring a goal against Newcastle United during their English Premier
League soccer match at Old Trafford, Manchester, England. AP PHOTO
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