Embattled Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal suffered a fresh blow on Monday when the Premier League club’s share price dipped to its lowest level in over three years.
Van Gaal has been engaged in a battle to hold onto his job for much of a troubled season and that struggle was hardly helped by news that United’s share position isn’t much healthier than their league status.
United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were dented on Sunday when Chelsea striker Diego Costa scored in stoppage-time to rescue a 1-1 draw against Van Gaal’s team, who are now six points adrift of the top four with 13 matches remaining.
The possibility of failing to secure a place in Europe’s lucrative flagship tournament clearly concerned investors as United’s share price dropped from $14.50 (10.05, 12.95 euros) to $13.86 on Monday.
That figure is the lowest price since December 2012, meaning not even during the darkest days of David Moyes’s reign had United’s shares been valued so lowly.
United’s share price dropped by 2.6 per cent in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange before rising above the $14 mark again in the afternoon.
The club’s financial position remains strong, given their world record 750 million kit deal with Adidas, but United’s performances on the pitch and their league position are of clear concern to those who invest in the club.
Investors will get their chance to grill United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward during a conference call on Thursday, when the club’s first-quarterly results of 2016 will also be announced.
Van Gaal has shown signs of cracking under the pressure of United’s struggles and he bristled at suggestions he was about to be replaced by Jose Mourinho following the draw against Chelsea.
He snapped at one reporter in his post-match press conference when asked about reports he was about to lose his job.
“You haven’t spoken to Ed Woodward or (owners) the Glazers, so you are inventing this story,” Van Gaal said.
“I don’t have to answer this question and I shall repeat myself every week. Now I have to say that you are getting the sack tomorrow. What is your name? Then I can announce the name also.”