Chief Executive of Manchester United David Gill has consistently denied that the debts accrued by the Glazer family when they acquired Manchester united in 2005 has in any way hampered their ability to compete in the transfer market. His denials have been quite heated at times, displaying an amount of exasperation at constantly being asked the same question. Unfortunately, it has been nigh on impossible to find out the true extent of the indebtedness due to the complex and convoluted financial network the Glazers have in place.
However, today we might at last have an insight into the true situation and it reveals that Gill has been economical with the truth to say the least.
Figures released in a brochure designed for prospective investors in the NY stock exchange flotation show that Manchester United still has the burden of around £423m in debt that was dumped on the club when the Glazers first took over. By way of a simple analogy, it is like a mortgage that is taken out by somebody to buy a house. Technically, the debt is with the owner, but the equity of the asset is used as collateral.
In other words, the debt is the owners, but the profits from the club (the asset) are used to service the debt. It is precisely that procedure that so infuriates fans, because it means that resources that would otherwise have been available for purchasing players are being used to repay interest charges. This has always been denied by Gill and Ferguson. Nevertheless, todays revelations will show that the rosy picture painted by Gill recently when questioned again about United's inability to nail the top transfer targets, is a long way off the mark.
Manchester United have repaid £500 of interest payments since Glazers took over. That amount is more than Manchester City or Chelsea have invested in their transfers in the same period.
But do not take my word for it. What better and more respected institution could there be than the New York Stock Exchanges own regulatory body who insist that a risk statement is attached to the flotation documents.
There is, however, a formal warning that United's debts, wholly imposed by the Glazers' original takeover, "could adversely affect our financial health and competitive position".
Gill may be an expert at fending off awkward questions from irate fans or busybody reporters, but this basically refutes everything he has said to date about the state of United's financial ability to compete in the transfer market. It also explains the strange and sudden outbreak of comments from Sir Alex Ferguson about there not being any 'value' in the transfer market.
What he really meant was that they could no longer rely on the fact that it was Manchester United making a transfer request and therefore, the player would automatically want to join. Now they had clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, who could offer higher wages and a bigger transfer fee.
Fans will be waking up this morning and reading their papers, realizing they have been duped by Gill all along.
My father once told me never to trust a man who had a permanent grin on his face despite anything he was saying. Gill is that man, and he shouldn't be trusted.