Ed Woodward has revealed Manchester United’s financial results for the second quarter of 2018.
United finished 19 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League, were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Bristol City and embarrassed by Sevilla in the Champions League – only beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final can salvage some silverware this season.
But off the pitch things are looking healthy, with revenue and profits up, and debt down.
"As another season nears its close, we have achieved our highest number of points and finish since 2012/13 and we look forward to another trip to Wembley," its Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said.
But what will it mean for Jose Mourinho’s summer transfer plans and the club as a whole going forward?
Here are 6 things we learned from United’s latest financial results…
1. A profit is a profit
£0.1million, just £100,000.
No, that isn’t the profit of a League Two side, it is Manchester United’s.
When you put it like that then it does seem all that impressive for one of the biggest clubs in world football.
But when the last quarter recorded losses of £29m it looks alright, things are going in the right direction.
The most promising news is the net debt has dramatically decreased to £301.3m – a decrease of £65.0 million over the year.
With revenue up eight per cent as well, Mourinho is set to be able to pocket a large amount to splash on players this summer.
Manchester City beware, the boys across town are coming for you!
2. Is football the priority at Old Trafford?
"Playing performance doesn’t really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business."
The phrase uttered by Woodward which will send a shiver down United fans’ back.
Is Manchester United a football club first, or a business?
Whatever the real answer is, it could be one to keep an eye on going forward.
3. The Sanchez effect
Alexis Sanchez joined United in January from Arsenal and while his influence on the pitch hasn’t overly impressed, but off it he has had a massive impact.
Woodward announced that the megastore income was "boosted" by Sanchez’s signing – which one would assume means a copious amount of shirt sales.
The Chilean was the mid-season window’s biggest recruit and it is paying dividends away from Mourinho’s XI.
Three goals excite supporters, millions of pounds worth of merchandise gets the money-men hot under the collar.
4. Season tickets sold out
United fans are excited about next season if the uptake of season tickets is anything to go by.
The ticket office phone must have been off the hook for the last couple of months as they completely sold out of season tickets and hospitality at the earlier possible moment.
In addition, official membership sales are up by a quarter season-on-season.
Mourinho has complained, almost continually, at the atmosphere coming from each corner of Old Trafford, but the lack of noise certainly isn’t from a lack of numbers.
5. Back in the Champions League
For fans, and a footballing perspective, returning to the Champions League, having been dumped to the Europa League after a couple of dismal seasons, was an important step.
But it has had mixed meanings for the beancounters.
One one hand, it has meant a 12.9 per cent increase in salaries, due in part to a series of clauses in player’s contracts if they were to qualify for the premium European competition.
And a shock round of 16 exit to Sevilla meant they failed to mean their quarter final objective – which mean missing out on all important prize money.
On the other, prize money is expected to increase by 30 per cent next season with BT Sport also likely to bump their payments.
Also co-efficient rankings are changing, Woodward explained: "The main change is the reduction in the market pool share which goes down to 15% creates a new co- efficient prize pool.
"It is calculated on performance over the previous 10 year period so that will represent 30% of the total prize money the club with highest coefficient will earn 32 times more than the lowest ranked club.
"We sit fifth in the coefficient table and are the lead English club at the moment we will need to wait until UEFA announce what the prize fund will be and the actual impact will be announced when we know."
6. Media savvy United
A lot can be read into the club’s Youtube channel being the "fastest growing sports club channel to launch on Youtube,” being more highly treasured as United reaching the FA Cup final.
But it all goes in with a forward thinking media strategy, with Woodward and co knowing the importance, and money, that comes from the sector.
A brand new website will only help build brand United into an even bigger colossus.
Netflix, an increasingly dominant player on the scene, was also mentioned, with Woodward saying: “Live compelling content will be a key battleground that influence which are successful”
Out of their control, yet intrinsic to income, domestic broadcast rights are expected to yield less – with two packages still yet to be sold.
But overall it seems United are ready to become a big name in football media, having lagged behind for a number of years – gone are the days of United being the only team without a Twitter page.
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