Manchester United's vice-executive chairman Ed Woodward told investors the club's number one priority remained to compete at the "highest" possible level on the pitch and confirmed United were in the process of restructuring their academy, adding he expected the club to be busy during the summer. Earlier United posted club record revenue in the second half of 2015 and reiterated guidance for full-year revenue for 2016. Here are they key points of United's financial results and of Woodward's investors call.
- Club posted record revenue of £257m in the six months to December 2015, up 32% year-on-year.
- United announce 42.5% commercial revenue increase, while broadcasting revenue jumped 31.3%
- Debt declined 6.2% and United expect revenue for the 2016 financial year to be between £500m-£510m.
- Woodward confirms United will freeze season ticket prices next season and was working with the Premier League on the issue of away ticket prices.
There ends the conference call. Those hoping to get some transfer gossip out of Woodward would have been left disappointed, as United's executive vice-chairman did not even mention Van Gaal by name once. He did, however, confirm United have made one signing so far, as a new head of retail started last week.
Woodward confirms the academy will remain at the heart of the club. "Giving youth a chance is what we stand for", he adds before confirming changes in United's youth sector are underway and an announcement will follow in the coming weeks. On the subject of transfers, the United's executive vice-chairman said he expects the club to be active.
Asked about ticket prices, Woodward refused to comment on other clubs' policies, though he stated United will continue to work with the Premier League on the issue of away ticket prices. "United have frozen their season ticket prices for years and will freeze them for next year as well."
United lift guidance for 2016 EBITDA due to lower player costs due to the lack of signings in the January transfer window and lower than expected appearance fees. On the subject of transfers, Woodward remained coy over the impact the Chinese league will have on the Premier League transfer window. "Very difficult to predict the impact will have ...useful market if we are looking to sell any players"
Woodward said United's continued commercial strength will enable the club to compete at the highest level. Presumably that's higher than the fifth place United currently occupy on the Premier League table.
The conference calls has started and Woodward is currently going through a list of all the sponsors United have signed commercial agreements with this season - there are many - including 20th Century Fox. Will we see the likes of Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones promote movies again anytime soon?
United's executive vice chairman Ed Woodward will take questions from investors in just over five minutes. You can listen to the conference call here by clicking on the box on the right.
United's coffers have also been boosted by the club's record breaking kit deal with Adidas, worth a staggering £750m over the next decade, which came into play at the start of the current season .The deal has seen the club's Retail, Merchandising, Apparel and Product Licensing revenue for the second quarter to go up by £17.8m.
United might be struggling to keep pace with their Premier League rivals - not to mention the likes of Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid - on the pitch, but they remain world class in the all important marketing department.
In case you missed out on the all important figures earlier on, here's a quick recap of how United have fared off the pitch in the three months between October and December.
Here's something that will please investors, as United expect revenue for the 2016 financial year to be within the £500m-£510m range, a figure which would blow most of their rivals out of the water. By comparison, in the 2014-15 season Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea delivered revenue between £314.3m and £351.8m.
However, the importance of the Champions League is highlighted by a 31.3% increase in broadcasting revenue from the corresponding period in 2014, which offset the fact United played two less home games and had two less broadcast games in the Premier League in the period. Can they afford to miss out on the Champions League next season?
Worth remembering than the results cover the three months to December and, therefore, take into account the club's revenue from the Champions League but could well miss out on a top four spot this season. United's cash balance, however, has jumped to over £120m.
Away from the financial figures, Woodward seems to have a pretty clear idea of what United should achieve on the pitch.