June 23, 2021

Man Utd debt soars by 133 per cent to £474m as coronavirus impact revealed

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The club’s executive vice-chairman is keen to see fans return to Old Trafford after the Red Devils posted a significant drop in profits

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the club are having to adapt to “significant economic ramifications” of the coronavirus pandemic after they announced a severe hit to their revenue with net debt rising by 133 per cent.

The club released their quarter four financial results on Wednesday which highlighted the full impact the pandemic has had. 

The report showed a revenue drop of 19% to £509 million ($664m) and a loss of £23m ($30m) compared to a £19m ($25m) profit made last year. 

United estimate that Covid-19 has cost them £70m ($91m) in revenue, with the lack of Old Trafford matchdays and the closure of the club shop contributing a large chunk of that sum.

While their principal debt remains the same, the club’s net debt is up 133% to £474m ($618m). It is understood the drastic rise in that figure is due to a decline in cash income due to the coronavirus pandemic and money spent on player transfers.

Woodward said: “Our focus remains on protecting the health of our colleagues, fans and community while adapting to the significant economic ramifications of the pandemic. 

“Within that context, our top priority is to get fans back into the stadium safely and as soon as possible.”

United signed Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo in the summer transfer window, which the club say has contributed to their debt rising.

Woodward added: “On the pitch, we have strengthened the team over the summer and we remain committed to our objective of winning trophies, playing entertaining, attacking football with a blend of academy graduates and high-quality recruits, while carefully managing our resources to protect the long-term resilience of the club.”

While the figures made for bleak reading, there was some positive news in that the club have extended their partnership with shirt sponsor Chevrolet for another six months and talks continue as to who will replace the American brand at the end of their deal. 

Commercial revenues were also up nearly 6% and those commercial deals accounted for 72% of the club’s income between March and June, while football was suspended.