Manchester United’s finances have taken a hit after the club went without Champions League this season, with worse to come if they are unable to secure football in Europe’s premier competition next season.
United lie in fifth, but have Sheffield United, Everton and Spurs snapping at their heels, and Chelsea remain in fourth place. However, United might benefit from Manchester City’s apparent Champions League ban, which might mean a fifth placed finish is good enough, assuming they do not manage to appeal, postpone or overturn the punishment.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are still in the Europa League, and winning that tournament would also secure them football in the Champions League, as it did when they won the trophy with Jose Mourinho in his first season in charge.
Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward spoke to investors on Thursday afternoon as part of the release of the club’s quarterly figures.
Broadcasting revenues are down by £39 million pounds compared to last year, a direct consequence on missing out on the Champions League, and matchday revenue fell by 15%.
There has been a decrease in the wage bill due to the lack of Champions League participation, with a reduction of nine per cent in the total spent on players’ salaries.
Elsewhere, there was a commercial revenue increase of 7.1% to £70.6 million, as United continue to sign sponsorship deals for anything and anywhere, with anyone who ponies up the cash.
Other income, such as retail, merchandising, product licensing and apparel sales were essential flat, down almost half a per cent at £25.5 million.
More concerning might be debt, with net debt rising by £73.6 million to a total of £391.3 million, though this is still eminently supportable. However gross debt, the amount actually outstanding without taking account of cash on the books, is unchanged in dollar terms.