Fuzzy Math From The Mad Twitterer

March 25th, 2010

It saddens Joe to read sloppy reporting — not opinion, or a simple error or typo — marked by lame-effort research that leads to big errors or horrifically misleads readers.

Joe can honestly say he’s never published such ugly slop in his journalism career.

Enter the Mad Twitterer, aka Rick Stroud of the St. Pete Times, who today tries to educate Bucs fans as to the finances of Manchester United.

Stroud wants to give Bucs fans “a little math lesson” to show that the Glazers’ soccer team, Manchster United, makes gobs of profit even with their massive debt. So Stroud wants Bucs fans to be wary of thinking the soccer team influences the Glazers’ operations in Tampa with the Bucs.

The only problem is that Stroud’s numbers are fuzzy and he doesn’t offer up any sources for his figures.

And Stroud seems oblivious to the fact that the Glazers’ soccer financials were exposed in full detail for a bond issue they sought to refinance the team’s massive debt earlier this year.

Stroud misleads Bucs fans by telling them the Glazers’ soccer team brings them “an annual profit, after principle and interest on that $1-billion debt, of $75-million.”

Bloomberg and many other news outlets reported the following earlier this year about Manchester United.

Net income for its holding company Red Football Ltd. was 25.6 million pounds for the year ending June 30, 2009, compared with a loss of 26.3 million pounds the previous year. Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for 80 million pounds last June.

Look at the previous [2006 & 2007] seasons, and Team Glazer took massive annual losses in England. 

Stroud’s own newspaper, in a report titled, “Blimey! That’s A Bloddy Lot Of Debt,” printed that Manchester United lost $113.4 millon (U.S. dollars) in 2007. 

And one can turn to various reports out of England, such as this from the Daily Mail,  quoting Red Football’s released financials that show the operation posted another huge loss in 2006, .

However, that was a substantial improvement on the £135.3m loss the company recorded in [2006].

Dr. Stroud” should be ashamed by trying to lead Bucs fans to believe the Glazers are “annually” making a near nine-figure profit in England.

Joe will keep his math very simple.

The Glazers many hundreds of millions in debt on Manchester United require gargantuan interest payments each year. In 2009, the soccer team’s revenue paid the bill. In past years, it hasn’t. Hence, the losses.

While the value of Manchester United keeps growing and growing (about doubling in the past five years), the Glazers clearly aren’t swimming in tens of millons of available cash.

One is free to believe that may or may not affect the Buccaneers operation. Just don’t take your math lessons from the Mad Twitterer.

12 Responses to “Fuzzy Math From The Mad Twitterer”

  1. Eric Says:

    Excellent article Joe, I had no idea they had taken that big a beating in 2006, 2007.

    Wow, that really does coincide with the start of backing off the salaries doesn’t it?

  2. Johnny D. Says:

    This is good stuff, Joe. I would love to see a line by line comparison of the verified financial performance of Manchester United against the actual salary expenditures (not salary cap values) of the Bucs with the British Pounds converted to US Dollars at the relevant exchange rates of the year.

  3. JimBuc Says:

    Oh boy, here we go with all the ManU conspiracy theories. Joe, I think you only made matters worse. Let me, a non-reporter, dispel the theory in 30 seconds. (The source for the financial info is ESPN by way of soccernet)

    JOe, you gave the figures through June 2009. Look at ManU’s financial performance AFTER June 30, 2009 please. Here are the results through December 2009 and the link:

    “The figures for the six months up to December show turnover up 19% to £144.7 million from £121.7 million for the equivalent period in 2008.

    The club’s debt dropped from £538.1 million to £507.5 million and there were increases recorded in matchday revenues, TV money – particularly from the Champions League – and commercial revenue.

    Media revenues have increased 33% from £40.3 million to £53.4 million and commercial revenues up 16% from £33.5 million to £38.7 million.

    The total debt of the Red Football Ltd, the Glazers’ holding company for Manchester United, was registered at £716.5 million at the start of the year.”


    The Glazer’s holding company, not the Glazers, lost millions in prior year due to the debt. But, that is part of the leveraged purchase plan. The plan in a leveraged deal like this is to deal with the debt through a refinancing and growth of the brand. Both have happened, just as they planned. ManU is growing, making money and gettting ready to spend another $80mil on players (the “Ronanldo” money that everyone likes to talk about) all while remaining at the top of the table.

    Oh, and by the way, during that whole period where the Glazer’s holding company was losing millions, the Glazers themselves were making millions, both in admin fees (reported to be $20 mil last year) and in the incredible increase in value of the asset.

    I know this does not mesh with all the conspiracy theories, but oh well.

  4. Jake Says:

    The bottom line is that the Glazers are not spending an adequate amount of money and have not for several years, to improve the quality of the product on the field. Regardless of the reason, this is unacceptable to many fans. When you go 3-13 many changes are in order from top to bottom and none of that has happened. Its unacceptable whether it is due to Man U or not. Quite frankly it is disappointing to see how soft the local media is in levying any criticisms against the Glazers. It appears to me that they are scared to take them on.

  5. Eric Says:


    You may be exactly correct.

    But, I am not a great believer in coincidence. The salary expenditures of the Bucs seemed to fall precisely when the Manu team was purchased.

    The firing of Gruden coincides with a replacement near the bottom of the league for coaches salary. Same for the GM.

    Lastly, the salary for this years team, at this point, is more than 20 million below what would have been the floor for salaries if this was a cap year. Another red flag.

    Perhaps these are all coincidences, and the Glazers just decided to implement a rebuilding plan in the teams best interest, and it has nothing to do with saving money and isnt tied to their financial situation.

    I for one find that a tad bit hard to believe. I accept the premise that they are richer having bought the Manu team, beacuse of the increased equity you have cited, but I also believe it may very well have put a strain on their cash flow and liquidity.

    Of course no one can prove it without looking at the real balance sheets, and cash flow statements. I doubt the Glazer’s will allow that.

    But don’t you think it is at least possible the Manu purchase had some effect on the Bucs and their spending?

  6. JimBuc Says:

    Eric — were are discussing two different things. You’re questioning whether the ManU purchase “had some effect on the Bucs and their spending?” I am sure it did. It only makes sense that the Glazers would want as much profit and cash flow out of their profitable asset while they were purchaing ManU. The positive cash flow from the Bucs is one of the reasons that they could buy ManU with other people’s money.

    However, you and many other seem to think the spending is a permanent issue because you, and many other, seem to think the Glazers are “broke” as opposed to transtioning through a big leveraged purchase. That is where we part ways. The notion that the Glazers are broke is absolutely laughable. ManU is cash flow positive. So not only did they make big paper profits from an appreciating asset (a point you concede) they actually made millions in fees in the process.

    Its an importnanht distinction because if they are “broke” due to Manu draining all their money, then they will never spend again until they sell one of the teams. However, if they are not broke — and the facts suggest they are not — then they will spend under the right circumstances, just like Glazer said. That’s a big distrinction. MOst seem to think the Glazer will never spend again and liken them to Culverhouse (of all people) even though they spent huge money to bring a SB championship here.

    So, if they are not broke why haven’t the Bucs started spending and why is their salary base so low? Glazer/Dominik gave two very reasonable reasons: uncertainty over labor has changed FA market and no big successful draft choices from the past that the Bucs had to resign to big second contracts. Of course, most don’t buy that because they believe the Glazers are “broke” even though the Bucs made Faine and Winslow the highest paid palyers at their position.

    By the way, the second point — nobody to sign to big second contracts — pretty much shoots down your veiled defense of Gruden/Allen. I am a Gruden fan, but they were fired for performance not to save money. You realize the Glazers are still paying Gruden? Would have been cheaper to keep him, right? Same thing with your suggestion that the rebuilding was prompted by money. That is absolutely silly. Your realize nearly every veteran the Bucs let go never played again, right? If you cannot see the Bucs needed to rebuild then not only are you drinking the kool-aid, you are pouring it in your eyes

    As Glazer pointed out in his comments, the whole ManU thing gets play because it is simple. It is a simple concept that people can grab on to. “They are broke” or “they don’t love the Bucs anymore” so that is why they are not spending. Problem is that simple approach does not mesh with the actual facts.

  7. Eric Says:


    I have never said or thought the Glazer boys are broke. Far from it I am quite sure they are fabulously wealthy. I don’t believe I have ever said such a thing. These NFL franchises arent publicly traded, so nobody gets the straight scoop on how much money they really make. Would take a team of CPA’s weeks to figure it out I suspect.

    As for Gruden, I have heard they are still paying him, but this is the last year I think. Im also unsure if there is some sort of deduction on that for the Monday Night gig. But, since they seem determined to keep him several more years wont that save money? Plus they aren’t paying Monte anymore, which saves quite a bit. And i don’t believe Dominik makes as much as Bruce Allen did.

    Im not necessarily against some of the player releases, except I think Brooks would have helped the team and deserved better. I also think the AB non-resigning was foolish and will come back to haunt them.

    But, let me ask you a question sir.

    Tomorrow the league decides to bequeth you an NFL franchise, beacuse your a hell of a nice guy. You also get a bundle of cash to spend on your team. The only caveat is you don’t get to spend it on Rachel Watson or the Swedish bikini team, but rather your new NFL team. So, money is not an issue.

    You have the choice of the following to be your head coach.

    A. Jon Gruden
    B. Mike Shanahan
    C. Bill Cowher
    D. Raheem Morris

    Are you telling me you would pick D?

    Is there anyone else out there in Joebucsfanland who would?

  8. JimBuc Says:

    Eric — that’s right you didn’t say “broke” you listed a bunch of spending examples that you tied to ManU and then said, saracastically, that it might be coincidence and not “saving money and isnt tied to their financial situation.” Whhy would “fabulously weathly” people be “saving money” or have a “financial situation? Sounds like semantics.

    Anyway, Gruden was fired for performance. Morris was hired either because the Bucs think he will be a good coach or because they were unwilling to bring in anyone bigger with a pending labor dispute or both. That also explains why the Bucs would never have signed Shanhan or Cowher. Which brings me to the obvious contradiction. On the one hand you say the Glazers don’t spend money, but on the other hand you pose a question about Gruden, Shanahan and Cowheras coaches over Morris. So you must think those coaches would come here. Why would any of those coaches want to coach here if the Glazers did not spend money?

    Anyway, if you think the Bucs fired Gruden to save money . . . so be it.

  9. Eric Says:


    You dodged my question.

    Because you know nobody of sound mind would pick D.

    Therefore, the Glazers hiring decision was not based upon merit, but some other reason, such as finances.

    One can be fabulously wealthy and not have present liquidity.

    I don’t know if those coaches would come, but none were asked, since the Glazers hired Raheem without interviewing any other candidates. If they didn’t jhave the money to do that, it proves my point doesn’t it?

    But hey, if you trust the Glazers and do not believe they are taking measures soley to save money, drink the Koolaid and enjoy.

    Personally, I am shocked at your level of nietivity.

  10. JimBuc Says:

    I didn’t dodge your question? Maybe you are confused. Let’s recap. I pointed out that the facts did not support the notion that the Glazers are not spending money due to ManU. You disagreed saying it could not all be “coincidence” and you cited numerous examples of what you believe to be money motivated action by the Glazers. The items you listed included the firing of Gruden and the hiring of Morris (and several other things). I agreed that money could have played a role in the hiring of Morris. That is what I meant by pending labor dispute. One could argue that the Glazers would not want to pay big money to a coach if there is going to be a lockout. That is why someone “with a sound mind” could pick Morris over the other coaches. I do think the Glazers are taking measures to save money. I just don’t think that it is due to ManU, nor do I think it is permanent, nor do I think that it is inappropriate under the circumstances (limited FAs and pending labor dispute). You, on the other hand, seem to think every single action taken is related to saving money including things that do not even make sense like firing Gruden and Allen. Until Allen got hired by Wash the Glazers were paying for two GM and two coaches. How is that saving money? The cheaper and easier route for the Glazers would have been to keep Gruden and Allen until the labor issue is resolved.

  11. Eric Says:


    I am not confused,

    You have dodged my question again.

    Out of that list which one would you chose to coach your team? It is a simple question.

    I think i am getting closer to understanding your position. You said “one could argue that the Glazers would not want to pay big money to a coach if there is going to be a lockout”. Are you included in the “ones” who hold that opinion or not? You seem to be talking in riddles.

    If that is your position, I disagree. I think the pending CBA negotiations should not be a reason for the Glazers to hire a substandard coach. I define substandard as not the best available. Bucs fans should not have to suffer because the Glazers want to save money because of a potential labor dispute. That is their problem, not ours.

    If the CBA is the driving force, and it is so reasonable, why don’t the Glazers just say it? Instead they said that money is no object. Is this theory of yours so shameful that it cannot be discussed publicly?

    I never said that every single action of the Glazers is to save money. To the contrary, I think they are also driven by stupidity and arrogance.

  12. JimBuc Says:

    LOL. Eric you are a true believer.