The Glazer family have revised their business plan for Manchester United following concerns within the club, says chief executive David Gill.
“The board had concerns before they took over, but they’ve demonstrated they will listen,” Gill told BBC Sport.
“Their business plan clearly allows for investment in the product – the team. They share the vision we have as a club and want to be the best football club in the world on and off the field. Man Utd have a very rosy future.”
The Glazer family borrowed heavily in order to complete their estimated £800m buy-out of the club last June. And there have been fears among supporters’ groups that the club will be plunged into massive debt, leading to a big hike in ticket prices and a cap on money spent on new players.
The club announced a 12.3% average rise in season ticket prices for next season, although a seat at United will still be less than seven other teams in the Premiership. But Gill told BBC Radio Five Live:
“Manchester United has always had sensible ticket pricing and we will continue to have prices that reflect demands for the tickets, the fantastic facilities and fantastic team. The debt within the club is serviceable and, what with stadium expansion and sponsorship deals, our income streams are in good shape.“
Last week, United announced a £56m four-year shirt sponsorship deal with finance company AIG and next season Old Trafford’s capacity will be 76,000, comfortably the biggest in the Premiership.
“There are funds there and if you are investing in the product – the stadium, the training grounds, the players – then you’re going to get return. On the football side, the Glazers have been very supportive, for example buying Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic in January. I spoke to Joel (Glazer) and said, ‘these are the players the manager is interested in’ and he just said ‘go do it’. They are prepared to take a long-term view on things – they’re prepared to invest in order to get a return in years to come.“
Meanwhile, Gill categorically denied the club could consider renaming Old Trafford. When Malcolm Glazer took over American football side the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he rebranded the ground as Houlihan’s Stadium to promote his restaurant chain, as well as changing the team’s colours.
“We’re not going to rename Old Trafford,” said Gill. “We can go on record and say that won’t happen. I don’t think there’s value there and it’s not something we, or they (the Glazers), want to do.”
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