Manchester United are richer than Arsenal

When Manchester United announce their financial numbers from the 2006/07 season next month, they will be announcing record numbers in both profits and in turnover.

After the club had an excellent year on the pitch, winning the Premiership title and making the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, along with making the FA Cup final, the club looks to have reaped the rewards off of it, which will make the Glazer family, David Gill, and Sir Alex Ferguson all quite happy. United are expected to announce profits of more than 60 million GBP and turnover of more than 200 million for the year ending June 30, both club records.

Last year, United had operating profits of 49.7 million GBP, which was an increase of 3.6 million from the previous year, and turnover last year was 165.4 million, up from 157.2 million in the previous period.

Last year’s figures, however, were hurt by United’s exit from the Champions League (and Europe completely) in the group stage, but were an improvement over the previous year, the club’s last as a PLC, when Manchester United went without a trophy, finished third in the league, and exited the Champions League in the round of 16.

But, in the past year, the club greatly benefited from that run in the CL, their first Premiership title since 2002/03, and consistently maintaining high attendances in the expanded, 76,000-seat Old Trafford. Not spending exorbitantly on transfers was also beneficial, as the only big-money move was the transfer of Michael Carrick from Tottenham.

The huge profits mean that the Glazers’ goal of reaching profits of 108.9 million GBP by 2011 is attainable, providing the club experiences the same increase in profits for the next few years.

This projected announcement takes a little air out of Arsenal’s sails, after Arsenal announced turnover of more than 200.8 million GBP in September, along with operating profits of 51.2 million, leading to Arsenal fans and the press touting Arsenal as Britain’s richest club at the time. However, it appears as if that title will last for only a short time.

Manchester United’s financial upswing could very well have them claim their place as the world’s richest club, though the figures have not yet been released for Real Madrid and Barcelona, who were rated as the world’s top two richest clubs last year.

It can also alleviate some concerns about the massive debt that the club has as a result of the Glazer takeover, because if United continue to rake in similar profits, that debt will be significantly lessened within a short period of time.

And, Manchester United can maintain their reputation and buying power in the transfer market. Because of the expected profits, Sir Alex Ferguson is now being linked with a January move for Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm, even after more than 50 million was shelled out on summer transfers Carlos Tevez, Anderson, Nani, Owen Hargreaves, and the permanent signing of goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Looking ahead to next year’s profits, numbers should be high once again. If the club continues its challenge for a repeat as league champions and make another run deep in the Champions League, that will be a huge benefit for the coffers, along with likely high match day revenues, with Old Trafford having no issues with being filled despite an increase in ticket prices that angered quite a few patrons (prices that are still lower than many clubs in the league). And, with a considerable amount coming in from the transfers out of Alan Smith, Giuseppe Rossi, Kieran Richardson, and Gabriel Heinze – and potentially Wes Brown or others to come before all is said and done.

You can never get too excited (like Arsenal), however, because you never how things can change from one year to another. But these numbers bode well for the future, without a doubt.

Update: More information here – Manchester United turnover is now 40m more than Arsenal’s.

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