English Premiership

Man Utd's cash reserves fall

2012-02-21 20:41
Manchester United (File)

London - Manchester United's cash reserves fell by £ 100 million in six months, partially to finance an investment in the squad that is failing to maintain the English champions' dominance on the pitch.

As a result of spending that also took in stadium improvements and a bond repurchase program, the Old Trafford bank balance dropped from £150.6 million to £50.9 million to December 31, the club's quarterly accounts revealed on Tuesday.

Despite net spending of £48 million on new players, including goalkeeper David de Gea, defender Phil Jones and winger Ashley Young, United exited the Champions League in the group stage in December and are now out of both domestic cups.

Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City has established themselves as the Premier League's new force, holding a two-point lead over United, who won a record 19th English title last May.

United spent £5.3 million in the three months to December 31, buying back bonds that were issued two years ago to raise £504 million  to replace long-term financing and reduce debts to hedge funds.

United have now spent £92.8 million repurchasing that debt - more than the £80 million received from Real Madrid in 2009 for the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The club's debt, resulting from the 2005 takeover by the American Glazer family, stood at £439 million at the end of 2011 and incurred almost £24.5 million in interest payments in six months.

Although the debt was down from the £508 million at the end of 2010 it rose again in the final three months of 2011 by £6 million.

However, United's moneymaking abilities appear to be undiminished, with £175 million generated in the six months to December 31 - up more than 10% on the same period a year earlier due largely to a rise in TV income and a new training kit sponsorship deal with express delivery and freight firm DHL.

"Revenues continue to grow strongly although costs are increasing just as quickly so pretty much negating that growth," the Manchester United Supporters' Trust said in a statement. "However the key figures of interest to supporters show the Glazers have now spent every penny of the money received from the sale of Ronaldo, and more.

"That's now £92.8 million spent on buying back their own bond debt that they loaded onto our club."

MUST said that since Ronaldo's departure, net transfers totaled £90 million while £225 million had been taken out of the club to cover debt payments and interest.

"What could the club have done with that extra £225 million? Cheaper tickets for loyal fans, investing massively in the squad and stadium, developing and retaining the best youth players, competing on an equal basis with the very best teams in Europe," MUST said. "This is the true cost to Manchester United of the Glazers' ownership."

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