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United 'will struggle to sell bonds'

The chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) believes the Glazers may struggle to attract investors with reported plans to sell an estimated £600m of bonds, and went on to to call for them to leave the club.

The Glazer family is reported to be considering a bond issue with the aim of raising between £500m and £600m to refinance Manchester United Football Club.

Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) said:  "This is surely the time for the Glazers to exit and make way for a new investor interested in working with the supporters to build a stronger football club and business together. In the best interests of the club MUST is keen to explore that possibility with all interested parties."

"Even Premier League games are going on general sale and any season ticket holder will tell you how much harder it is to resell an unwanted ticket this season as the previously seemingly bottomless excess demand has evaporated," Drasdo added.

"The Glazers have taken us from being a club that were the richest in the sporting world to now the most indebted. We have to be thankful for the magnificent job the manager and his squad have done. Where would we be now without the success Sir Alex has managed to maintain on the pitch? ''

The Glazers bought the club for £790m in 2005 but the deal left their takeover vehicle, Red Football Joint Venture Ltd, with debts of about £650m.

These include payment in kind (Pik) notes of £175m for which the Glazers are personally liable and which carry rolled up interest charges of 14.25 per cent per annum.

Red Football Joint Venture more than covered its £68.8m of interest charges last year with operating profits of £80.4m.

Latest published accounts show that after goodwill write downs, the company made a pre-tax loss of £44.8m in the year to June 30, 2008, after turnover rose 21 per cent to £257.1m. Net debt increased to £649.4m from £606.6m.

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