Glazers are going nowhere
The most significant line in Manchester United's extremely lengthy filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission is the club's admission that heavy indebtedness poses a risk to future financial success.
This is what critics of the club's American owners, the Glazer family, have been saying ever since they borrowed £525m to complete their £790m takeover in 2005.
Since then over £500m has flowed out of United to service interest and debts charges. And yet the debts still stand at £423m, according to figures up to the end of March.
So the Glazers' public admission that they need to reduce their debts is a significant moment. The timing is all the more intriguing as it comes after a season which saw their neighbours and rivals Manchester City take the Premier League trophy from them on a thrilling final day.
Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer has put his sons Joel Glazer (left), Avram Glazer (centre) and Bryan Glazer (right), in charge of day-to-day running at the club: Photo: Getty
Backed by the vast wealth of Sheikh Mansour, City are threatening to leave United behind unless they can free up significant sums of money to compete in the transfer market.
The initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange is certain to be worth more than the £64m pounds ($100m) quoted as a registration fee in the document filed last night. This is the minimum requirement to cover the listing.
The exact price and number of shares to be offered to the public will become clear in the coming weeks but the Glazers will undoubtedly be seeking to pay off most, if not all, of their debts in a float which could value the club at more than £1bn.
So is this the beginning of the end for the Glazers at Old Trafford?
Far from it. The Glazer family intend to retain control by issuing two classes of shares - A and B.
The A shares will be offered to the market in New York as part of the IPO while the B shares will be held by the Glazers. The difference is the B shares will have 10 times the voting powers of the A shares which are sold to the public.
There is also a line in the document which makes it clear that in future the club will continue to be owned by Malcolm Glazer and his "linear descendants" - namely his five sons and one daughter.
Of course every business is ultimately for sale but the Glazers do seem committed to their long-term ownership model. For all the criticism of their debt structure they have massively increased United's commercial revenues and - last season aside - have generally brought success on the pitch.
What is really interesting is how all this has come full circle. Remember the Glazers took the club off the London Stock Exchange following their takeover, allowing them to be more secretive about how the club was being financed and run.
A lot of that changed with the £500m bond issue of 2010, which required the club's owners to be far more open.
But a New York listing may require them to disclose even more information to shareholders and the public - even though registering the new company in the Cayman Islands might make it easier to maintain the families' prized privacy.
The listing in New York, coming after failed attempts to float in Hong Kong and Singapore, also confirms United's global, rather than domestic, ambitions.
The question now is whether the Glazers can raise the equity they need to rebalance the club and free up funds for big money signings.
Given the continued volatility in the global economy that is hardly a given. Facebook's IPO may lead some investors to be cautious about valuations.
But United's brand remains powerful and the Premier League's new £3bn UK television rights deal demonstrates the competition's seemingly unstoppable ability to generate money.
United are the driving force behind that, even if the claims of 659 million fans around the world seem far-fetched.
It's that continued popularity that the Glazers are banking on.