Man United reveal increase in revenue
Financial matters look good for Man United as Arsenal shareholders complain about the club's expenditure.
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2012 16:14
Summer signings Phil Jones and Ashley Young added to net expenditure but overall revenues rose [GALLO/GETTY] 

Manchester United reported a sharp increase in revenues over the final six months of 2011 following rises in matchday income, media and commercial earnings, the club announced on Tuesday.

United's revenues increased to $276 million in the second half of last year, the club revealed as they released their financial report for the fourth quarter of 2011.

The figure was up $29 million from the $246 million reported over the same period in 2010.

The rise was attributed to an increase in matchday revenue from $82.7 million to $86 million, media earnings, up from $84.8 million to $96.2 million, and commercial income, which increased from $80 million to $92.5 million.

United's debts meanwhile were reduced to $693 million from $802 million the previous year.

United's increase in revenues, however, were offset by a rise in operating costs from $153 million to $174.9 million.

Net expenditure on players also increased, reflecting the summer signings of David de Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones.

United's cash reserves meanwhile were put at $80.3 million.

Gunning for blood

Arsenal are another financially stable English Premier League club but unlike current champions Man United are without silverware for seven seasons. This hasn't prompted them to splash the cash.

At a supporters meeting on Monday, angry Arsenal shareholders asked the club whether it has curbed spending to cushion against a possible failure to qualify for the Champions' League after another disappointing season.

Small shareholders represented by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) also demanded greater engagement from Stan Kroenke, the American billionaire who owns a majority stake in the club.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 and have suffered a disastrous week in which they were knocked out of the FA Cup and effectively eliminated from the Champions' League following a 4-0 first leg drubbing by AC Milan in the round of 16.

"Did the manager have the option to use all or some of these cash reserves in summer 2011 and January 2012, or are resources being held back as a contingency for failure to qualify for the Champions League"

Arsenal Supporters' Trust online posting

In an analysis of the club's finances, the AST estimated that Arsenal had around $79.4 million to "spend or to save for a rainy day". It asked whether this was made available to manager Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad.

"Did the manager have the option to use all or some of these cash reserves in summer 2011 and January 2012, or are resources being held back as a contingency for failure to qualify for the Champions League?", it asked in an online posting.

Failure to qualify for Europe's premier club competition would cost Arsenal 71 million dollars, the AST estimated.

Arsenal are currently fourth in the Premier League, level on points with fifth placed Chelsea in the battle for the final Champions League slot.

The success of north London rival Tottenham Hotspur, 10 points ahead of Arsenal in third place, has added to frustration among the AST, who represent shareholders owning around 4.5 percent of the club.

"Our wage spend is 40 percent higher than the payroll at another club in north London and Arsenal are in danger of being overtaken more than temporarily by those who spend their wages more efficiently," it said.

Owner Kroenke would attend the monthly Arsenal board meeting on Thursday, a club spokesman said.

It was not clear if he planned to meet anyone from the AST and the club declined further comment on their financial
situation ahead of the publication of interim results this month.

Arsenal host Tottenham on Sunday in a game that will dictate the mood at the club for the short term at least.

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