That has certainly been the accusation thrown at the Glazer family since they assumed control of Manchester United in 2005 in a highly controversial leveraged takeover. The brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to stave off the lack of investment in the side as they continued to amass silverware.
While United’s performance on the field has left a lot to be desired since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, they have continued to perform off the field.
United remain a financial behemoth. Their ability to attract commercial sponsorship appears almost unrivalled, as evidenced by this list of their commercial partnerships.
Furthermore, their popularity across the world remains incredibly impressive – particularly if the latest shirt sales figures are anything to go by.
The Daily Mail reports that over the last five years United and Real Madrid sold an average of £1.5 million replica shirts globally, with the figures coming from sports marketing consultancy firm PR Marketing.
A table of which can be seen below:
Average shirt sales per year 2009/10-2013/14
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Madrid edge United at the top with four English clubs in the top ten. Bayern Munich are the sole representatives from the Bundesliga with nouveau-riche Paris Saint-Germain tenth and surprisingly below French rivals Marseille, who are a respectable eighth.
However, the gap between seventh placed Liverpool and Marseille is stark.
So, there you have it, United are still top of world football – sort of.
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