‘Man Utd still look equipped to continue to buy their way out of trouble”
Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper analyses the latest set of financial results from Manchester United.
There’s a very familiar ring to Manchester United’s performance off the pitch. The club continue to march on financially and are the envy of pretty much every team on the planet with record revenues placing them in second place globally behind only Real Madrid.
Tuesday’s figures were right in line with expectations bolstered by another 10 sponsorship deals and independent research which now clocks Manchester United’s fanbase across the world at 1.1billion. On top of that, the debt around the club’s neck is at an all-time low too at £203.6m.
But there are no signs of celebrations or champagne corks with Ed Woodward. In perhaps his most forceful and passionate opening remarks, he stressed the need for “patience” and a long-term strategy, while reassuring fans the “building blocks for success” are in place and that with a “strong squad” bolstered by summer arrivals, he’s “optimistic for the future”.
1:47 Paul Merson claims that Manchester United have got to have a plan for the next few years to catch up with Man City and Liverpool
So some off-the-pitch positivity to sit alongside the on-the-pitch negativity in the wake of the weekend defeat at West Ham. And admittedly at a time when people are demanding even greater spending on the back of a year that has seen nine new contracts and three summer signings, United still do look equipped to continue trying to buy their way out of trouble but the real problems might be spelt out this time next year.
The club will be hit in the pocket after missing out on Champions League football thanks to last season’s sixth-place finish. Should that be repeated at the end of this campaign, a penalty clause will be invoked that will see adidas’ payment as part of the 10-year £750m deal fall by 31 per cent.
Manchester United are a financial monster, spelt out by operating profits of £50m, but predictions of a fall in revenues next year to between £560-£580m, potentially the lowest amount in four years, shows they are preparing to navigate some sizeable bumps in the road to come. Woodward and his teams have set revenue records for the last three financial years, but that run is set to come to an end.
Previous figures have already illustrated just how much it cost United to get rid of Jose Mourinho, but at £19.6m it was worth repeating and another reminder that the club can withstand such a big payment and rake in more cash than they have ever done before.
1:31 Dutch legend Ruud Gullit says Manchester United fans have been spoiled by the success they have enjoyed during the Premier League era, adding they have every right to demand better from their team
Tellingly, post-Mourinho, Woodward also spoke of restoring the club’s ethos of young players playing attacking football. I have been reminded on plenty of occasions recently the entire club is dedicated to building “the next trophy-winning team” with no attention paid to “short-term distractions” such as a Premier League run that has seen just four wins from the last 14 games or 16 points from the last 45 points available.