Monday, 25 October 2010

Nothing Roo under the sun

Wayne shares his thoughts...
For a fleeting moment I thought that there might be something more interesting than manipulation and greed behind Wayne Rooney's media ploy to wheedle something between £150-250 thousand-a-week out of debt-ridden megaliths Manchester United. As an embodiment of the triumph of realpolitik over any semblance of decency and dignity at the top of the game, that gurning image of Alex Ferguson and El Wayne, following Roo's "shock decision" to line his pockets after all, will take some beating. It was right out of the North Korean school of spin-doctoring.

But back to the nugget of interest. The original claim from Rooney's ex-vacuum cleaner salesman agent, Paul Stretford, was that "the boy" wanted to move on because he had not received assurances that the club could secure enough big signings to keep silverware dropping into their hands. The press pack immediately interpreted that as a "lack of ambition" accusation, which is obviously ridiculous. More serious is the thought that MUFC's debt servicing burden, leveraged in courtesy of the Glazers' overall £769 million millstone, will continue to constrain the purse strings and threaten the financial stability of even such a giant club as this.

One journalist and diligent student of football's ins and outs who continues to tell the underlying story of United's glistening goldmine is the estimable David Conn. Always worth reading. Earlier this month he lanced MUFC chair David Gill's feeble attempt to bypass debt-pile facts, by pointing to the club's operating profit, thusly: "With the interest payments, plus interest at 14.25% on the £202m 'payment in kind' hedge fund debt, and the £13m paid to banks for United to issue that bond, the cost of the Glazers' financial chicanery last year alone was £123m. The total cost of the Florida-based family's takeover of United, done with mostly borrowed money in 2005, which was then loaded on to the club to repay, has since been £583m, in interest, bank fees and other charges."

This story still has a lot of mileage in it. As for the dismal Rooney, Ferguson should have thanked him for his "change of heart"... and told him to take a hike. If only life was like that.

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