What Do the Latest Financial Results Reveal About Manchester United?
There was lots for Manchester United fans to get their heads around when the latest accounts were released this week.
According to Alex Bell of Manchester Evening News, United announced a record annual revenue of £363.2 million, up by 13.4 percent.
They announced increased commercial revenue of £152.5 million, an increase of 29.7 percent.
Match day revenue is also up 10.5 percent to £109.1 million.
They made another £101.6 million from broadcast revenue, although that figure was down by 2.3 percent.
They were the headlines, according to executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, the man behind the commercial juggernaut the club has become.
In the announcement, Woodward said he was "very proud" of the year since the flotation on the New York stock exchange.
He did, however, neglect to mention that United are still £389.2 million in the red—although that has dropped by 10 percent.
It's a more manageable number than in the past, but it's still a massive amount of money.
The accounts also showed that last season alone they spent £71 million financing the cost of the debt. That's roughly the transfers fees for Marouane Fellaini and Mesut Özil combined.
They are mind-boggling numbers that are better left to the financial experts to analyse.
But in layman's terms, the club is still under a mountain of debt, as it has been since the Glazer family's takeover in 2005. But it is also making money by the bucket load.
Ultimately, fans want to know that United can still compete with the biggest clubs in the world. They want assurances that they can rival Europe's elite for the best players.
But only David Moyes knows what his budget was this summer. Only he knows if the Glazers knocked back any requests for cash.
He's an employee of the club and can't be expected to do anything other that toe the party line. Sir Alex Ferguson adopted much the same approach.
Only they know the situation behind the scenes when it comes to asking for money for new players.
The bare facts are that this summer, United spent £27.5 million on Fellaini and £2.4 million Guillermo Varela.
But many fans will insist that's not an outlay befitting a club that is currently making more than £350 million a year.
It's hard to swallow, especially when there's more money being paid out to finance the debt than there is on new players.
Woodward and the Glazers are in charge of a money-making machine. And it shouldn't be forgotten that they have played a significant role in creating it.
But fans would rest much more easily if a larger chunk of the profit was being re-invested in the club rather than disappearing down Sir Matt Busby Way.
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