MANCHESTER City have slashed their losses from a staggering £197.5 million last year to £97.9 million and increased turnover to a record £231.1 million.
It confirms City’s emergence as one of Europe’s elite clubs, despite obvious setbacks this term, including another early elimination from the Champions League and Sunday’s defeat by Manchester United, which leave City six points adrift in the Premier League title race. However, even chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak acknowledged the most significant part of the year came in those two minutes of injury-time on 13 May, when Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero scored the goals against QPR that won the championship.
“2011-12 will always be remembered as a particularly significant year in the history of the club, a season when Manchester City demonstrated an ability to win in even the most challenging of circumstances,” said Al Mubarak. “We experienced the Champions League, won the Premier League and with two goals in added time, redefined what is typical of City for a generation of supporters.”
Although the financial figures are no match yet for Manchester United, whose latest reported turnover was £320.3million, it shows just how must progress City have made. And they are confident even the huge losses will not have an impact on their ability to meet Uefa’s strict Financial Fair Play guidelines as £15 million comes from infrastructure and youth development costs.
More importantly, approximately £80 million comes from contracts that pre-date 2010, from which City expect to get some kind of relief.
While the results, to 31 May, 2012, show marginal increases in gate receipts and TV revenue, it is in the commercial sector where City are making huge gains. Revenue has gone up from £64.7 million to £121.1 million, underlining City’s increased growing global exposure, which is being shown in all areas, from merchandise to club tours. Although the enormous £400 million, ten-year contract with Etihad, who now have naming rights to both the stadium and the entire campus, on which work began in the autumn, raised eyebrows, City believe history will show it to be a well-structured financial deal.
Other contracts, such as a new kit manufacturing contract with Nike, point to increased commercial revenue in the years ahead. Meanwhile, City’s overall wage bill has risen from £151.6 million to £178.1 million. The club’s annual statement also confirms the “capital base of the club has also been strengthened through the issuing of £169 million in new equity during the year, avoiding debt based funding and continuing to ensure that the club is virtually debt free”.
Clearly, the largesse of owner Sheikh Mansour is still required to make the club viable in the short term. However, it is the state-of-the-art City Football Academy (CFA) project across the road from the Etihad Stadium, on which the club expect to build a financially sustainable business. “The CFA will strengthen the club’s youth development and training capabilities, enable more players to move through the academy and elite development squads into the first team in the future, while bringing all of the club’s operations together on a single site within the Etihad Campus,” said Khaldoon.
Little wonder new chief executive Ferran Soriano is so excited about the future. “Since joining Manchester City in September 2012, my first priority has been to deepen my understanding of the club, its history and its operations,” he said. “What I have found is a club on the verge of a historic transformation, reinforced by a genuine commitment to doing things well.”
It is hard to envisage further failure on the European stage being tolerated under Roberto Mancini’s stewardship and the club are privately suggesting there will be no transfer window reinforcements. But it is evident no return to obscurity is envisaged any time soon.
“Having returned to the summit of English football in 2011-12, the club has earned the chance to compete for a place as one of the biggest and most successful globally in the years ahead,” Soriano said. “It is an opportunity we will work hard at to achieve.
“The club has assembled a world-class team on the pitch. Now, however, it is vital that we extend this winning mentality and commitment to excellence across all aspects of our operations.”