Crisis is down to penny pinching, say United fans

MANCHESTER United’s woes are not the fault of new manager David Moyes but the inevitable consequence of reduced investment in players since the Glazer takeover, according to a leading fans’ group.

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) argues that a run of three consecutive defeats and the seemingly certain loss of the Premier League title have their roots in the controversial 2005 buyout by the American family.

Since then United have reinvested less than seven per cent of revenue in net transfer spend, compared with around 12 per cent for the previous eight-year period. In absolute terms, their outlay has risen marginally, but is a far smaller slice of the football club’s mushrooming income, while domestic and European rivals have spent heavily.

“Fans have been warning about the potential underinvestment problem for years, ever since the Glazer takeover,” MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo told City A.M.

“Obviously a great manager like Sir Alex Ferguson gets far more out of his own players than any new manager could be expected to – given the stability he established. He had developed a well oiled machine which meant he could operate more efficiently, ie high performance at lower cost. So I don’t think the problems on the pitch are down to the identity of the new manager; anyone would have struggled under the circumstances.

“The current issues are exactly what we feared with the underinvestment under the Glazers. It is inconceivable that that drop in squad investment is not a direct consequence of the £680m-plus cost of their debt-based takeover. It’s something a lot of fans are now seeing as the chickens coming home to roost.”

United are thought ready to back Moyes, who replaced Ferguson in July, with significant funds, but could find it more difficult having missed out on major targets in the summer.

“They chose not to maintain squad investment and so not fixing the roof in the good times means the repair bill is going to be much bigger now,” Drasdo added.

United did not respond to a request for comment.