MANCHESTER United are STILL making money – despite the Covid crisis.
The pandemic has shut Old Trafford for 12 months, costing United around £6million in revenue every matchday.
Ed Woodward has lauded Manchester United’s progressCredit: PA:Press Association
But qualifying for this season’s Champions League helped plug the money gap, even though United exited at the group stage to go into the Europa League.
United banked £108.7m in broadcast cash for the first three months of the season, up £34m from the same period in 2019.
That more than made up for gate revenue falling off a cliff, with United taking just £1.5, compared to £33.1m 12 months earlier.
The club’s total revenue stood at £172.8m, up £4.4m, bringing a profit of £63.9m – although the club’s net debt stands at £445.5m.
Unveiling the club’s latest financial results, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward conceded the club was still in the middle of an unprecedented situation, although he believes there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.
We are pleased about our this season’s on-pitch progress and the strength of our current squad and equally bullish on our long-term prospects
Woodward said: “This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for Manchester United, for football, and for society as a whole.
“It is almost 12 months since the pandemic began and we were required to close Old Trafford to supporters.
“Their absence has only highlighted the importance of fans to the fabric of football, and we can’t wait to welcome them back.
“Our focus remains on preparing for the return of fans to Old Trafford.
“The successful rapid rollout of vaccines and falling rate of infections in the UK makes us optimistic about the Government’s roadmap out of the lockdown, including plans for the gradual reopening of sports stadia to spectators beginning this spring.
“Initially this will be with limits on capacity, but we are hopeful of crowds ramping back up to full capacity next season.”
United’s title challenge has wilted away since they were top of the Prem table in mid-January but Woodward gave a public vote of confidence in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He said: “We are pleased about our this season’s on-pitch progress and the strength of our current squad and equally bullish on our long-term prospects.
“Our self-sustaining operating model, will all enable this Club to emerge from this crisis in a stronger relative position.”
Woodward added he was proud of the club’s response to a “once in a century level crisis”, pointing out: “The past year has tested our Club’s resilience and values and I am pleased with how we have performed in both respects.
“As we look beyond the pandemic, we feel more confident than ever about the power of sport to unite and inspire across generations, cultures and ideologies.
“Football is playing an active role in the campaign against racism and other forms of discrimination and we, as a club, will continue to be at the forefront of those efforts.”
But United are not shying away from their determination to be at the forefront of change at both domestic and European level.
The club were promoters, alongside Liverpool, of the proposed Project Big Picture, while Woodward is helping shape Uefa’s Champions League revamp.
That is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks and he said: “We continue to play an active role in discussions on the future of UEFA’s European club competitions after the current competition cycle ends in 2024.
“We anticipate the final proposal will include a greater involvement of clubs in the governance and control of the competitions, and of course, a new format with greater appeal to fans, which will continue to go hand in hand with thriving domestic leagues.”