Wednesday 26 October 2016

Man United chief Ed Woodward predicts swift return to Europe's top table after revealing record earnings

Simon Peach

Published 12/09/2016 | 15:47

Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward
Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward believes Manchester United are entering an exciting new chapter that can return the club to football's "pinnacle".

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A general air of malaise had set in since Sir Alex Ferguson's exit, with the club missing out on Champions League qualification in two of the three years following his retirement in 2013.

Last season's fifth-place finish in the Premier League meant FA Cup glory was not enough to save manager Louis van Gaal, with Jose Mourinho swiftly named his successor at Old Trafford.

That along with the high-profile acquisition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and world-record capture of Paul Pogba has helped to lift expectations, with Woodward excited that the club is "writing the next chapter".

"In May, we announced Jose Mourinho as our new manager," he told investors. "He needs no detailed introduction from me having won 23 trophies in 13 years.

"His appointment is a reflection of the club's determination to return to the pinnacle of our sport.

"Despite the result from Saturday (when United lost 2-1 at home to Manchester City), there is positive momentum behind the team this year and expect this season to be one of the most exciting in the Premier League's history.

"We've also signed several top-class players in (Eric) Bailly, (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan, Pogba and, of course, Ibrahimovic.

"We believe our investment in these players will better position us to challenge for trophies in the coming years. "

Woodward, speaking for the first time since Mourinho's appointment, added: "These are very exciting times for Manchester United and we're optimistic for the season ahead and for our longer term future.

"Our club remains at the top of the sport and global interest in football has never been higher."

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Woodward was basking in the afterglow of United's record-breaking financial results, which showed they had become the first UK club to earn more than half a billion pounds in a single year.

The accounts up until June 30, 2016 showed the club's revenue was £515.3million, which is predicted to rise to between £530m and £540m at the end of the next financial year - albeit a figure less than Barcelona's 679million euros (£570million) revenue announced in July.

United have enjoyed record operating profit of £68.9m in 2015-16, with broadcasting revenue up 30.4 percent to £140.4m as matchday revenues rose 17.7 percent to 106.6m.

Commercial revenue rose 36.3 percent to £268.3m in a year that the agreement with Adidas came into play, helping retail revenues rise 207.9 per cent.

United's net debt increased 2.2 percent to £260.9m, with that £5.7m change pinned on the impact of exchange rate movements on their US dollar denominated debt.

Total operating expenses were £436.6m - a 12.8 percent increase - and employee benefit expenses £232.2m, an increase of 14.6 percent primarily thanks to contract extensions and a rise in salaries due to Champions League participation.

There is no increase this term as United will ply their trade in the Europa League, but Woodward is still expecting record revenues next year.

"Our record Fiscal 2016 financial performance reflects the continued underlying strength of the business and the club is on target to achieve record revenues in 2017, even without a contribution from the Champions League," he said.

"This strong financial performance has enabled us to invest in our squad, team management and facilities to position us to challenge for, and win, trophies in the coming years."

Press Association

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