Record Turnover Still Not Enough For United
United announced pre-tax profits of £48.2 million pounds. In itself this does sound great but when you take the mitigating factors into account it's clear we have reasons to worry.
Turnover was up from £80.4M in 2008 to £91.3M in 2009 which is a 9 per cent increase and highlights the success the Glazers had in squeezing even more money out of the club's earning potential. However, even this mammoth revenue was not enough to keep us in the black, with all the interest payments: for the aforementioned profit we needed the money from the sale of Ronaldo.
A simple calculation will tell you that if we report profits of £48.2m thanks to the sale of a player for £80m then without the sale of that player we would have generated a loss of almost £32m. Which slightly undermines Sir Alex's insistence that the debt does not impact upon transfer funds - or, if he's telling the truth then spending in the transfer market would mean United living well outside their means.
I'm no economist but there is genuine concern about the debt and it's clear the Glazers are worried as well: the club has confirmed that moves are being made to raise £500m in bonds.
"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.
"The notes, whose proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt secured against the club, will be issued by MU Finance Plc."
This will not be used to clear up the so-called payment-in-kind loans which amount to £175m and attract an interest rate of 14.25 percent which is staggering. This is the Glazer's personal debt (the £500m will be used to pay off the club debts) but it is affecting the club of course and they have to find a solution to refinance that as well, because at this rate this debt will only snowball.
In this climate, we have plenty of reasons to regret that some acquisitions (most notably Nani and Dimitar Berbatov) did not live up to the expectations. Had they performed as expected, the situation would be a lot less graver. But right now we have a squad in need of serious strengthening but we do not seem to have the financial means. Fergie must be very wise, careful and clever during the summer - we simply cannot afford any bad signing. Let's hope we can afford some good ones, anyway...