Manchester United are performing better than expected off the field and are now predicting record revenues of up to £570million this year.
Jose Mourinho’s men sit sixth in the Premier League and have the Europa League final against Ajax to look forward to next week.
But despite league struggles and being without Champions League football, United have raised guidance on revenue and profit for the year ending June 30, 2017.
United have increased projected revenue in their third quarter results to between £560million to £570million – a £30million rise on the second quarter prediction.
Ed Woodward: "First season under Jose has seen Manchester United make tremendous progress on and off the pitch." #MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtdUpdates_) May 16, 2017
The club achieved a record profit of £191.9million last year and, despite big-name acquisitions and the lack of Champions League football, are on course for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between £185million to £195million.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “As we near the end of the season, I am delighted we have picked up two trophies so far, and look forward to competing for a third in the Europa League final, the only trophy we have never won.
“We are forecasting better full year financial performance than expected and as such have raised our revenue and profit guidance for the year.
“We look forward to a strong finish to 2016-17, both on and off the pitch.”
Adidas goes down by £21m if united don't qualify for champions league this season - Ed Woodward in conference call to investors.— Boy Wonder Rashford (@RedRashford19) May 16, 2017
Total revenue for the fiscal third quarter ending March 31, 2017 was £127.2million and broadcasting revenues of £31.4million were up 12.9 per cent for the quarter.
Staff costs rose 18.3 per cent on the previous year quarter and net debt is £366.63million, representing a £17.6million increase over the year but US dollar debt principal remains unchanged.
Source: Press Association
Eric Cantona shocked the world 20 years ago when he decided to hang up his boots at the age of 30.
The Manchester United captain had just lifted his fifth league title in six years having previously been at Leeds.
It was at Old Trafford where Cantona truly became a Premier League icon as he graced the number seven shirt so closely associated with United’s greatest stars.
In 2013, another United great, David Beckham called time on his career. The Englishman bid farewell to football as a Paris Saint-Germain player after spells at Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan.
Here, we look at five of the best to ever wear the fabled number for the Red Devils.
United appearances: 470
United goals: 179
Joining United as a shy, retiring teenager from Northern Ireland, few could predict the impact Best would have on the football world – and beyond.
The first footballer to truly cross over into the world of celebrity Best was also a superb master of his craft – his weaving runs and marvellous goals were a staple at Old Trafford.
Best won two First Division titles and the European Cup and was on the score-sheet as United beat Benfica to lift the European Cup in 1968 – just a decade on from when manager Matt Busby’s team was decimated following the Munich air disaster.
The man dubbed ‘El Beatle’ would see his career head into decline after leaving United in 1973 and his long-standing battle with alcoholism ended when he died in 2005 aged 59.
Cantona himself paid tribute to Best, saying after his death: “I would love him to save me a place in his team – George Best that is, not God.”
United appearances: 461
United goals: 99
Signed by United in 1981 for a then-British record transfer fee, Robson would have to wait over a decade to claim the league title he had craved.
But United and England’s captain still played a key role in delivering trophies in the interim, winning a trio of FA Cups as well as a League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
A mainstay in Ron Atkinson’s side before the arrival of Sir Alex Ferguson, Robson became a true United favourite.
It was fitting that he would lift the inaugural Premier League title in 1993 along with Steve Bruce before repeating the feat a year later as United’s period of dominance began with him only a bit-part player.
United appearances: 394
United goals: 85
Born in Leytonstone, Beckham was always a United fan and would come through the ranks with plenty of his friends to achieve great things at United and beyond.
The former England captain could hit a free-kick as good as anyone and was also a superb crosser of the ball.
In his 11-year senior United career, Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League in 1999 as part of an historic Treble.
His rising status as a celebrity, helped by his marriage to Spice Girl Victoria Adams, never sat well with Ferguson and the pair often clashed – leading in part to Beckham’s departure to Real Madrid in 2003.
United appearances: 185
United goals: 82
Arguably one of the most inspired signings in the history of the Premier League, Cantona had already helped deliver a title at Leeds before Ferguson made his move and took him across the Pennines.
He cost the Red Devils just £1.2 million and would establish himself as a player who would forever go down in the history of the club.
His arrival coincided with the first back-to-back Premier League title wins before he was banned from football for eight months as his fierce temper got the better of him and he kicked a Crystal Palace fan after being sent off.
He returned in time to nurture United’s blossoming youth talent, a father figure to the Class of ’92 such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and the Neville brothers, Gary and Phil, back to the title in 1996.
United would retain the crown again the next season with Cantona as captain but his star was on the wane and he shocked the sport by announcing his retirement at the age of 30.
United appearances: 292
United goals: 118
Now breaking goalscoring records at Real Madrid, Ronaldo came of age during a spell at United in which he truly shone.
Signed as a relatively unknown teenager, Ronaldo was initially only recognised for his skill as he adapted to a new league and continued to develop physically and mentally under Ferguson.
It was following Euro 2006, where Ronaldo was vilified in England for his apparent part in a red card for United team-mate Wayne Rooney, when the Portugal international began to flourish.
He had already starred in the FA Cup final of 2004 but he went on to be the talisman as United won a trio of league titles between 2007 and 2009, with Champions League success in 2008.
His goalscoring became a regular occurrence and in 2007/08 he surpassed Best’s previous record tally of goals in a season for a United winger.
Best himself had previously spoken about Ronaldo. “There have been a few players described as ‘the new George Best ‘ over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me,” he said.
Provided by Press Association
With Pablo Zabaleta announcing he’s leaving City this summer, James Piercy and Alam Khan debate whether the veteran Ivorian midfielder should follow his fellow club stalwart out of the door or earn a new deal at the club.
With Pablo Zabaleta leaving Manchester City after nine years, it would be a mistake to lose another icon.
It’s true Toure may not be the midfielder he was, forging forward with finesse and fire, but he still has much to contribute, much to teach.
City have more pressing transfer priorities this summer, namely in defence, and with Ilkay Gundogan needing time to rec-over from his serious knee injury, Toure would provide trusted cover. He knows Pep Guardiola, his system and City.
I recall when Patrick Vieira joined in 2010 at the same time. At 34, in his final season, he was slower, but a calming influence when used by his old Inter boss Roberto Mancini. Vieira provided experience, expertise and a winning mentality that City needed at that time. That’s Toure now and why he should be equally respected and revered a la Vieira.
Ironically, the Frenchman’s farewell – six years ago yesterday – saw Toure score against Stoke to lift the FA Cup – ending a 35-year wait for a major trophy and sparking City’s rise.
Just like Vieira, Andrea Pirlo or Michael Carrick over at United, age doesn’t matter when brains can make up for tiring limbs in terms of doing the basics brilliantly, of knowing when to play the right pass or make the right tackle or take the right shot.
Toure can still control games, and that’s what Guardiola has seen since restoring him to the line-up in November.
It is difficult to find complaint with his attitude either. An effervescent character, through his enthusiastic displays and encouragement to the younger talent, Toure has become the ‘daddy’ of this team. Letting Gabriel Jesus take the penalty in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester, when he was designated, was a sign of his maturity.
Having just turned 34, he doesn’t need cake to appease him, but recognition of his value.
And whatever agent, Dimitri Seluk, might say about better financial options elsewhere, this should not be about money for Toure, but his legacy at City.
For all the influence and experience Yaya Toure brings to the City dressing room, as a footballer, his lack of suitability to the style Pep Guardiola wants to implement will only become increasingly more apparent.
The Ivorian deserves credit for the way he has applied himself in the second half of the season, albeit without delivering too many grandstand displays, just keeping it nice and simple. But Guardiola needs his central midfielders to either be controlled in possession or dynamic and able to get up and down the field, pressing, harrying and recovering the ball.
Toure hasn’t been such a midfielder, in a defensive sense, for a long time and his legs and body simply can’t summon the energy required to fulfil such a task across a 45+ match season.
Ilkay Gundogan’s injury has afforded him more gametime than perhaps Guardiola envisaged at the start of the season but he is nowhere near the same level of distributor as the German. Similarly, Fernandinho’s disciplinary issues and need to fill in at full-back meant Yaya was only in direct competition with the Brazilian, who possesses a superior work rate, for a limited time.
Under Manuel Pellegrini, Yaya became a luxury player, rarely checking runners, barely pressing and offering occasional protection for his defence. He’s improved marginally, but still not at a level of consistency, with Guardiola not starting him against Monaco in the Champions League second leg, Arsenal and Liverpool telling.
All with the nagging feeling that he’s merely obliging to ensure a new contract and may return to old ways. He’s doing that because clearly not too many clubs out there are willing to pay a 34-year-old £220,000-a-week, and neither should City for a glorified squad player.
Yaya’s place in club history is assured; bar the ludicrous influence of Dimitri Seluk he’s helped shape the club in the Abu Dhabi era. But there are plenty of midfielders; younger, fitter and significantly cheaper who can take the club forward under Guardiola.