Manchester United are ‘ruining football’ and must share blame for Bury and Bolton struggles – Mark Saggers’ talkSPORT rant

2 Sep

Mark Saggers says Manchester United must share the blame for the financial struggles of neighbouring clubs Bolton and Bury.

In a furious rant, the talkSPORT host took aim at the Glazers and chief executive Ed Woodward and accused the Premier League giants of ‘blowing apart the football pyramid’ and ‘ruining football’ with their outrageous spending.

Ed Woodward has come under heavy fire from Manchester United fans over their recruitment

The financial disparity between the English top flight and the rest of the Football League can be summed up in just the Greater Manchester area over the last few years.

Manchester United are one of the richest clubs in the world and have spent millions on new signings including Paul Pogba (£89m), Harry Maguire (£80m), Romelu Lukaku (£75m) and Alexis Sanchez (free, but on £500,000-a-week wages).

Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road, Bury have been kicked out of the EFL over their financial woes and Bolton only just escaped the same fate when they were successfully taken over by new owners last week.

Unlike blue rivals Manchester City, United’s big spending has not led to success on the pitch, either.

And Saggers believes United’s recent reckless splashing of the cash has filtered down and had a huge impact on lower league clubs.

Speaking on Sunday Exclusive, Saggers said: “They’ve had the chief executive doing all the business and it’s all gone totally wrong, but the owners don’t care because they just use the club as a bank!

“This shows you where we really are.

“We look at Bury down the road and there are two Man United players saying ‘it’s terrible, our parents were linked to the club but we can’t help bail them out because we have our own side’.

Bury have been booted out of the EFL and now stand on the brink of liquidation
Getty Images - Getty

“And then you look at Salford City, who are at times paying above rates for players.

“They’re all getting skewed by this ridiculous top-end, where Sanchez is on ridiculous amounts of money and United are just throwing money at players they think they want because have they just read the back pages and somebody says they’re brilliant.

“This is all being filtered down and it is blowing up our pyramid. It’s outrageous, it’s absolutely outrageous.

Manchester United paid big money to bring Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford, but he was a huge flop
Getty Images - Getty

“It’s about time the likes of Phil Neville – who this week talked about how much Bury means to his family – come out and say, ‘the whole of my game is skewed by these financial problems, we are ruining it’.

“That’s what Manchester United are doing.”

Manchester United fan protests: Darren Gough blasts Glazers for siphoning £1BILLION out of club since 2003 takeover

26 Jun

Manchester United owners, the Glazers, have been blasted by talkSPORT hosts Darren Gough and Adrian Durham for taking £1BILLION out of the club over their 16-year ownership.

Red Devils fans have stepped up their protests of the Americans in recent weeks following the club’s poor Premier League campaign, with irate supporters getting #Glazersout trending on social media.

Manchester United fans unfurl an anti-Glazer banner at Old Trafford

The club have even apparently cancelled MUTV’s popular phone-in shows for fear they will be bombarded by the #Glazersout brigade.

However, supporters have been handed a glimmer of hope this week, with reports the Glazer family are considering selling the club due to the huge investment it will take to get United battling to top honours again.

And there has been rumoured interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe – the owner of British cycling team Team Ineos and a supposed boyhood United fan, who is worth more than £21billion.

Claims the Glazers could be willing to sell is great news for angry fans, who have campaigned against the American family ever since their takeover in 2003.

MORE: Every Premier League owner rated on current performance, featuring the Glazers, Ashley and Abramovich

And on Tuesday’s Drivetime show, Goughie read off a list of extraordinary figures to show just how much the Glazers have made from owning the 20-time Premier League winners.

The England cricket legend said: “The debt is just over £500million and there has been no capital paid off that debt since 2011, which is massive.

“Only interest has been paid off – £786m. That’s the finance costs over the last 13 years.

“Share sells over the last 13 years, since they put the club on the stock market, they managed to bring in £452m. None of that has been invested in Manchester United.

“You know where it goes – to the owners of the football club.

“Dividends – since 2013 there has been £78m in dividends paid.

“Now, Liverpool and Manchester City do not pay their owners dividends. £78m is a lot of money!

Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks to club owners Avram Glazer and Joel Glazer

“Directors fees, work that one out, are £75m as well.

“This is what has been going on Manchester United.

“They’re still a financial powerhouse, but if you think when the owner of Manchester City came in he has pumped in £1billion-plus to that club, in the same time the Glazers have taken £1billion out of Manchester United.”

Listen to a clip of Darren Gough on Drivetime above

Manchester United owners ‘have no plans to sell club to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’

22 Oct

Manchester United’s owners are not looking to sell the club amid rumours of a potential takeover bid from Saudi Arabia, it is understood.

The Sunday Mirror reported that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, worth £850billion, is set to table a stunning £4billion bid for the club, who are currently owned by the Glazer family.

Saudi Arabia’s all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is reportedly interested in Man United

United’s share price was pushed to an all-time high on the New York Stock Exchange as rumours of a Saudi offer continued to circle.

But it is understood that, as things stand, the Glazers are not looking to sell and United have not initiated any discussions, while it has been reported co-owner Avram Glazer has pulled out of an investment forum in Saudi Arabia next week.

United already have business interests with Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Telecom the club’s official integrated telecommunications partner.

The club, meanwhile, signed a memorandum of understanding with the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia last year to help develop football industry in the country.

The Glazers have no plans to sell

Further investment would therefore be a predictable next step in some ways but the timing would be extremely difficult politically given the fallout from the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Crown Prince has shown a big appetite for bringing sporting events to his country over the past couple of years, including motor sport and boxing, while earlier this week Brazil and Argentina played a football international in Riyadh.

Golf’s European Tour and WWE wrestling have faced calls to cancel planned events later this year, while tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have so far made no comment about whether they will pull out of a scheduled exhibition clash in December.