United fail to hit season ticket target

But Gill insisted the figure is still “pretty good” in the current

economic climate and that the club is in good financial shape. Gill

said the number of season tickets sold was 51,800 compared to the

target of 54,000, and that executive seat sales were “on track”.

United’s season ticket sales have been conducted against a backdrop

of a campaign by fans’ group the Manchester United Supporters’

Trust (MUST) urging a boycott in the hope of persuading the

American owners, the Glazer family, to sell the club. Asked about

the season-ticket protest, Gill said: “I’ll be clear on that. Last

year our target was 54,000 season tickets, we’ve sold 51,800, which

is pretty good in the current climate. “We’ve sold more season

tickets than the capacity of most Premier League grounds. Our

executive seat sales are on track as compared with last year in a

different market. “I think the bare facts are that the club is in

good financial shape. The ticket sales have held up. We sold out

for Newcastle and West Ham but we are not complacent and we’ve got

to keep working to make sure that we fill the ground for every game

and we’ll do that by playing great football, attractive football,

exciting football that brings fans in.” The protest against

United’s owners surrounds the debts they took on to buy the club.

These now stand at more than £700million – including a

£500million bond scheme, and £202million in payment in

kind (PIK) loans. BBC’s Panorama claimed earlier this summer the

Glazers’ shopping mall empire in America was facing problems but

Gill would not be drawn on that, stating instead the club was very

successful financially and were comfortable with the position. Gill

added: “I’m not going to comment on that [Panorama]. We’ve had

another very successful year off the pitch when we announced our

results for June 2010 they were excellent, generating cash. “We

have put in place a long-term financial structure for the club with

the bond, obviously that’s serviced on a regular basis. “So no I

don’t think it impacts us at all. So I think we’ve got to be

comfortable.”