Belfast Telegraph

United fans call for clarity

Manchester United supporters have urged the Glazer family to come clean about their ownership of the club.

It has been confirmed the controversial payment-in-kind notes, lodged against the family themselves and which have been attracting interest at an eye-bulging 16.25%, will be paid off in full on November 22.

Yet there has been no explanation where the £220million has come from, other than an affirmation that it has not been taken out of club funds and the Glazers have not sold part of the Old Trafford outfit. It is possible new loans could have been taken out at a more favourable interest rate, or the family might have sold off some of their other assets.

Yet it is hard to envisage how either could have taken place without news leaking out given the huge interest in the ownership of one of the world's most recognisable sporting brands.

The PIKs were not discussed during a conference call for holders of the £500million-worth of bonds that were issued at the start of the year, and clearly the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST), who have opposed the Glazer family since their controversial takeover in 2005, remain unimpressed.

"Now is the time for the Glazers to finally come clean and tell the truth about what is going on at Manchester United and what their plans are," said MUST chairman Duncan Drasdo.

"What have they got to hide? No more secrecy. No more spin. Just tell the fans the truth."

It is doubtful whether these comments will have any effect on the Glazer family. It is only a matter of weeks ago that United chief executive David Gill sought to allay fears about the club's long-term future.

This latest development does appear to confirm repeated statements from Sir Alex Ferguson that he has a large transfer kitty at his disposal and he alone is responsible for it not being spent rather than being kept back to pay off a portion of the PIK debt.

As anticipated, the first quarter results to September 2010 showed United to be running in a very effective manner, with turnover up and their overall debt marginally down.

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