Without the sale of their star payer, Manchester United, who announced pre-tax profits of £48.2m today, would have been reporting a loss of £31.8m.
The figure for the year up to 30 June 2009 includes the record £80m fee received from Real Madrid for the sale and also £41.9m paid out in interest on a huge loan of £509.5m. The club’s turnover was also up to £278.5m from £256.2m a year ago.
The figures were released on a morning when United officially confirmed their intention to raise £500m through bonds in order to refinance their debts. While United are at least in profit once more, the figures merely emphasise what a drain on resources their debt position has become.
The situation without the sale of the Portuguese clearly is unsustainable over the long term, hence the refinancing plans of the club’s US-based owners, the Glazer family.
“Manchester United today announced that it will be seeking to raise approximately £500m aggregate principal amount from an offering of senior secured notes due 2017,” said a United statement.
“The notes, whose proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt secured against the club, will be issued by MU Finance plc.”
Because these “senior secured notes” will be used to pay off the club debt, they will not touch the £175m worth of payment-in-kind notes that are currently attracting 14.25% interest.
They are the Glazers’ personal debt, so another avenue will presumably be pursued to try to reduce that interest, which is rolling up annually at a staggering rate.
In contrast to the days when United were a successful publicly quoted company and offered plenty of financial information on a six-monthly basis, now there is no financial requirement to do so it is kept to a minimum.
Clearly, though, there are areas of improvement, including confirmation that the US finance company Aon will be the new shirt sponsors next season, while more sponsorship deals have been announced, underlining the impressive attraction United are across the globe.
Yet many supporters remain concerned about the financial structures underpinning the club, even if as recently as Friday, Sir Alex Ferguson tried to quell any fears, insisting the decision not to spend three-quarters of the cash received for Ronaldo was his alone.
“I don’t have any concerns about the financial situation,” he said. “There is absolutely no issue at all. I am really confident about that.
“Concerns of the supporters are down to the fact that I haven’t moved in the transfer market. But that is nothing to do with the Glazers or with David Gill. It is simply because I am not going to pay £50million for a striker who is not worth it.”
Group turnover 2009: £278.5m. 2008: £256.2m.
Matchday revenue 2009: £108.8m. 2008: £101.5m.
Media revenue 2009: £99.7m. 2008: £90.7m.
Commercial revenue 2009: £70m. 2008: £64m.
Group operating profit before depreciation and amortisation of players’ registrations and goodwill 2009: £91.3m. 2008: £80.4m.
Net interest payable 2009: (£41.9m). 2008: (£45.5m).
Profit on player transfers 2009: £80.7m. £21.8m.