Ed Woodward: Louis van Gaal will have Man United challenging for trophies in all competitions
Louis van Gaal has been praised for his first season in charge of Manchester United by the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
United have all but qualified for the Champions League play-offs, the target given to Van Gaal when the Dutchman took over in the summer, and Woodward said the club's financial future was also looking rosy.
Woodward said in a statement announcing United's third-quarterly results: "As the season approaches its conclusion, we are pleased with the team's performance in Louis van Gaal's first season as manager and are well positioned to achieve a top four finish in the Premier League and to return to European football next year.
"As we look forward to next season, on the playing side we expect to be challenging for trophies in all competitions and on the commercial side we are excited by the numerous opportunities for further growth, including the first year of our 10-year partnership with adidas.
"We remain confident about the future of our business. Our commercial revenues were up year over year and we are raising EBITDA guidance for fiscal year 2015 from £90-£95 million to £103-£110 million."
EBITDA is related to operating profits and is the measure some companies use for their operating performance.
The club's EBITDA for the 2013/14 season was £113.3million so the effect from the estimated £50million drop in income from not playing in the Champions League looks as though it will be significantly offset by increases in money from commercial deals and a six per cent fall in the club's wage bill.
The gross debt has risen 12 per cent to £395.4million, almost totally due to the weakening of the dollar against the pound, and although there will be interest payments of around £30million, that should leave plenty of money for further team strengthening to accompany the signing of Dutch international Memphis Depay.
United's total revenue for the nine months ending March 31 was £289.4million, down 14.1 per cent, with commercial revenue up 4.1 per cent to £151million for the nine months.
Broadcast income the three months before March 31 was £21.7million, down £13.9million or 39 per cent, mainly because United's matches were televised much less often - five times fewer than for the same period in 2014 - so the club missed out on facility fees.
The statement from the club said: "[The drop] is primarily due to five fewer FAPL live broadcast games and two fewer FAPL home games in the current quarter, and non-participation in the UEFA Champions League."