Glazer plan demands success
One barren season for Manchester United has thrust the Glazer family back into the spotlight, putting added pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson to deliver trophies...
Manchester United remain the world's biggest football enterprise and the club generates unparalleled revenue from its commercial initiatives. However, much of that money is being used to pay off debts accrued by the controlling Glazer family in their purchase of United in 2005. The Glazers are shrewd businessmen who run a slick operation and they're blessed with arguably the greatest manager in the history of English football, which is crucial because the debt prevents United from competing in the transfer market with clubs who harbour similar ambitions.
Sir Alex Ferguson is the glue that holds everything together. The team has been fairly mediocre by United's lofty standards in recent years, yet Ferguson continues to outdo himself in terms of results. Last season's haul of 89 points was the third-highest total in United's history, bringing Ferguson within seconds of a 13th Premier League title. But ultimately it wasn't enough. His grip has weakened, if only slightly, and recent comments in defence of the Glazers have upset the fans, doing more harm than good.
There's a whiff of mutiny around Old Trafford with the spotlight turning back on the Glazers in the wake of a first barren season for seven years. Having dominated the English domestic game for the past two decades, United fans are no longer willing to tolerate second-best and losing the title to Manchester City was a big blow to self-esteem. Ferguson has managed to keep a lid on the simmering discontent until now, but the situation could erupt this season if City take control and United fail to keep up.
United's recruitment policy over the past two years has led to a dearth of peak-age players. Eight of the last ten signings have been 23 or under, ensuring only four players between the age of 24 and 29 reached double-figures for league appearances last season. It's a situation that should only mildly concern the Old Trafford faithful. The Red Devils carry the potential to be formidable in the coming years. In the meantime, Ferguson is capable of launching another title challenge with what he has.
Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Nick Powell (Crewe).
Park Ji-Sung (QPR), Fabio (QPR), Michael Owen (released), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Ritchie De Laet (Leicester), Matty James (Leicester), Oliver Norwood (Huddersfield), Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton), Ben Amos (Hull), Reece Brown (Coventry), John Cofie (Sheff Utd), Liam Jacob (Oldham), Sean McGinty (Oxford), Joe Coll (released).
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