Once hailed as the most threatening side in European football, Manchester United’s recent failures on the pitch are officially affecting the club’s financial success. Even after announcing an increase in earnings during the first quarter of this year, Sky Sports reports the 13-time Premier League champions revealed their net debt increased by £140 million this quarter, approximately $181 million. This translates to a 55 percent surge, raising the total deficit from £247.2 million to £384.5 million. These numbers reflect the period of July 1, 2019 to September 30 of this year.
Despite what the numbers read, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward doesn’t appear to be anxious about the shortfalls. In fact, Woodward believes the club’s success in certain areas like transfers and recruitment bode well for United’s quest for another trophy haul in the coming years.
“We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment,” Woodward said, Via Simon Stone of BBC Sport. “The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our academy are already beginning to bear fruit.
“Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions.”
Lack of Champions League Football Has Dented United’s Profits
There was once a time when United and Champions League were a match made in football heaven. As of late, United would be so lucky to even find themselves in top-four contention. The Champions League is arguably the most competitive tournament in Europe and United have walked away with the trophy three times, having last won it all in 2008.
Despite playing in the competition last season, United’s inability to secure a top four spot in domestic play demoted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to Europa League play this year. Consequently, United’s profits fell, including player salaries.
Broadcast dividends for the quarter was £32.9 million ($42.7 million), down £9.9 million ($12.8 million) from the previous quarter.
United Still Remain One of the Most Popular Clubs in the World
The numbers aren’t necessarily in United’s favor right now, but viewers can’t seem to turn away from their screens when the Red Devils take the pitch. Per Woodward, United’s October 20 clash against longtime rivals Liverpool was the third highest watched domestic game in the Premier League’s history.
United had one of their best performances during that contest, and remain the only side in which Liverpool dropped points against this year. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a testy January transfer window ahead of him. Not only is the Norwegian tasked with replenishing a midfield riddled with injuries and exits, but also convincing transfer targets that United can find themselves with a top-four finish at the conclusion of the season.
Manchester United finished sixth in the Premier League last year, and are currently seventh place ahead of a decisive list of December fixtures. Should the Red Devils exhibit the same amount of competitiveness they did this time last year, then fans would have every reason to believe this club is poised for a true resurgence they have been long promised.