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Reds on the team sheets; red on the balance sheet (sort of)

United releases its financial results from the first quarter as the squad gets set for another round of international matches.

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Laurence Griffiths

NOTE: This post was heavily edited after feedback from TBB member jdw.karasu.

Manchester United's financial statements usually make for difficult reading, and not just because they are full of terms like derivative losses and PIK loans. United are a commercial and footballing behemoth capable of pulling in massive revenues, a club that seems to have an official partner for just about everything. They are also a club in 361 million pounds of debt thanks to the Glazer's highly leveraged 2005 buyout. So what does the club's latest earnings report mean?

Well, it's sort of contradictory. United this week reported record first-quarter revenues of 98.5 million pounds driven largely by an increase in TV broadcasting revenue and a spate of new sponsorship deals--and ended up losing 300,000 pounds. However, because the club crammed millions of pounds worth of tax credits into the last financial quarter, rather than use them in this one, that net loss is really nothing to worry about. The debt load continues to go down as overall revenue goes up. In fact, this is a good quarter that meets expected growth levels. Whatever Ed Woodward's flaws, he's a hell of an accountant.

Check out this excellent fan post from jdw.karasu (from which some of these numbers were taken) for a more in-depth analysis of the report. For some background on the state of the club's finances since the Glazer takeover I'd recommend andersred's blog or The Swiss Ramble.

On to the football:

  • Lots of United lads in international action today. Rooney starts for England as they take on Chile at Wembley. Phil Jones is in at centre-back, the position he still claims to be most comfortable in, while Cleverley and Smalling will hope to see some action off the bench.
  • Patrice Evra starts for France in their crucial World Cup Qualifying Playoff against Poland. The left-back is feeling the heat at home for some critical comments he made about the French press and will relish the chance to respond on the pitch.
  • Nani starts for Portugal in their playoff against Sweden after FIFA denied requests to just have Ronaldo and Zlatan play one-on-one. No breaks for re-applying hair gel either.
  • Marouane Felliani played a solid 90 minutes for Belgium in their 2-0 defeat to Colombia. "Fro" could face Shinji Kagawa on Tuesday when Belgium meets Japan. Antonio Valencia is in New York with Ecuador for their friendly against Argentina, and Jonny Evans's Northern Ireland have two friendlies this week as well.
  • Mexico did just fine without Chicharito, putting 5 goals past New Zealand on Thursday--and one foot in the World Cup Finals.
  • Michael Keane scored for England U-21's in their 3-0 win against Finland, while Jesse Lingard set up United-killer Saido Berahino for the second of his two goals. Wilfred Zaha played a good 90 minutes too. Good to see the youngster getting some game action.
  • Reserve goalkeeper Ben Amos has joined Carlisle on a month-long loan.