Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward acknowledged to investors their on-field results this season have been "disappointing" even as they revealed more off-field commercial profits with income at Old Trafford rising to its highest ever level.
Last season's Premier League champions announced record revenues for the second quarter of the 2013-14 financial year, thanks to large increases in the amounts they have earned from broadcasting and commercial deals.
United are only seventh in the Premier League and may not be in next season's Champions League, which has proved profitable for them in the past. But Woodward said the club are confident they can grow commercially and have 72.1 million pounds in the bank, which suggests manager David Moyes has a healthy budget in the transfer market.
"We once again achieved a record revenue quarter with strong contributions from our commercial and broadcasting businesses despite the current league position, which everyone from the team manager down has acknowledged is disappointing," Woodward said.
United’s commercial revenue rose to commercial income of 42.3 million pounds, up 18.8 percent for the quarter and 30 percent for the year after they began six new sponsorship partnerships.
Broadcasting revenue went up to 46.9 million pounds, an increase of 18.7 percent, with Premier League rights commanding larger sums in both the British and the international markets as a result of rights deals which began this season. However, the bottom line showed that net profit plummeted 49 percent to 18.7 million pounds.
Failure to qualify for the lucrative Champions League next season would be a big blow to the club's prestige, and revenue stream.
The team is struggling in the Premier League it won by 11 points in May despite wages leaping 17 percent to 51.6 million pounds ($85 million) in the quarter "primarily due to the impact of player acquisitions and renegotiated player contracts," United said.
What continues to cause frustration among some fans is the debt that didn't exist before the Glazer family bought the club in 2005. But the debt has dropped three percent year-on-year to 356.6 million pounds ($590 million), far down from a high of 716.5 million pounds (then $1.1 billion) in 2008-09.
The cash balance on Dec. 31 was up to 72.1 million pounds ($119 million) before Spain midfielder Juan Mata joined from Chelsea for a club-record 37.1 million pounds (then $61 million) last month.
"We are... very pleased to have added a world-class player in Juan Mata to our squad, who has already made a positive impact," Woodward said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.