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Adviser defends Glazers as United shares fall


Ed Woodward, Manchester United's vice-chairman and the man who engineered their listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has sprung to the defence of the Glazers as the club's shares continue to fall.  No surprise there, but it is the content of the defence that is interesting.

The club's shares were trading yesterday on the NYSE at $12.24 (about £7.67) each, down from $14 at the August flotation.   This price values the club at about $2,05 billion (£1.3 billion).   However, Mr Woodward emphasised that the club was not concerned about the share price on a daily or weekly basis. He said that the real priority was deliver y on the promise of a growth company to investors.

Many fans blame the Glazers for loading the club with debt.   However, Mr Woodward argued that the debt was small relative to the size of the business.   The servicing costs relative to the profits were going down. The debt reduction would not hinder United in the transfer market and, in any case, there was not a transfer budget as such.

Mr Woodward emphasised that the Glazers were there to stay.  He told the Financial Times, ''They are convinced by the long-term opportunities of this business to deliver and they absolutely love it' [in which case it is a shame they don't come to Old Trafford more often].

As for the Glazers taking money out of the club, Mr Woodward told the Pink 'Un this was their entitlement: 'The Glazers haven't had a liquidity event since they put the money in in 2005.'  Come to think of it, I haven't had a liquidity event myself recently.   Perhaps I should treat myself to one.