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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Gill: United won't try to match rivals' spending

Manchester United chief executive David Gill has ruled out any attempt to match Manchester City's surge to the top of the spending stakes.

City have forked out some astonishing sums already this summer and it is claimed they are willing to offer John Terry £250,000-a-week in a desperate bid to entice him north from Chelsea.

Aside from finding Sir Alex Ferguson's successor when the most successful manager in Manchester United's history eventually decides to call it a day, Gill would probably concede wage inflation is the biggest medium-term problem he is likely to face.

Just as Liverpool and Arsenal are trying to wrestle with major financial issues in addition to putting a winning team on the pitch, so must United given their near-£700m debt.

So Gill has no interest in attempting to match City, or Real Madrid, the summer's other colossal spenders, for that matter.

''It is highly unlikely that we would want to go to those levels,'' said Gill. ''We don't think it's necessary because we are looking to the medium and long term.

''United has been around since 1878 and our job is to make sure it is still around for many more years in a sensible fashion.

''That is by generating our own income. There will be ups and downs but, overall, we think that what we are doing is having a sustainable business model for the long-term.''

With City, the motive is fairly obvious. Mega-rich owners wanting to make a big impact. At the Bernabeu, Gill senses a flaw.

''I don't understand the economics of what Real Madrid are doing,'' said Gill. ''Their turnover is not materially different to ours so I am not quite sure how they can make the profits to justify the salaries. It's none of my business I suppose but I don't think they can.''

The departures of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, plus the refusal of Karim Benzema to entertain a move to Old Trafford once he knew Real Madrid were offering more cash, proves the lure of United cannot conquer all.

However, Gill is confident the attraction is still there, enough to ensure they can continue to recruit the players to keep them at the top.

''Not everyone wants to come. Not everyone loves Manchester United,'' he said. ''But if we continue to grow our revenue, that will deliver more profitable income, which we can then put into the players. Then we can continue to attract and retain the best players in the world.

''We should not under-sell our key assets. We have the history and heritage of Manchester United and 76,000 people in the stadium every week.

''I still think we are a major attraction.''

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