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Man. Utd. profits shoot up by 93 percent

  • Story Highlights
  • Manchester United see gross revenues up 21% to $478.5 M, pre-tax profits rise 93%
  • Club taken over in 2005 by U.S. tycoon and NFL owner Malcolm Glazer
  • CEO attributes much of success to Glazer, 'they have been true to their word'
  • Majority of active fans believed to be in Asia, estimated 333 million fans worldwide
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(CNN) -- English football club Manchester United have posted buoyant results for its U.S. owners, enjoying a hefty 93% rise in profits.

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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has steered the club to success on the field.

In the year up until June 2007, the English Premiership champions enjoyed gross revenues of £245 million ($478.5 million), up 21% from £202 million ($394.5 million).

And pre-tax profits were up to £59.6 million ($116.4 million) for the same period -- up 93%.

The club was taken over in 2005 by U.S. tycoon Malcolm Glazer and his family, who also own the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move was criticized by many fans at the time amid fears for the amount of debt that it would saddle the club with.

But the club's chief executive, David Gill, defended the role of the Glazers and attributed much of the club's subsequent success to the family.

"There are some people who will never be persuaded that the takeover was a good thing, not even if we won 10 Champions Leagues in a row," Gill said. "The Glazers are not in this for publicity or ego - but they have been true to their word.

"They said they would retain Sir Alex Ferguson and back him. They said they would keep me and other members of staff. They said they would invest in the team. They have done all that."

Gill has estimated that the club now has 139 million active supporters worldwide, with the majority of these -- 83 million -- living in Asia. Market research company TNS Sport has previously put its wider fan base at an estimated 333 million.

Gill also added that arrival of many of the squad's key players such as Nani, Anderson, Owen Hargreaves and Carlos Tevez at the club's Old Trafford ground was due to the family.

"I wouldn't disagree with the view that it would have been unimaginable to sign those four players if we had still been a plc," Gill added.

"The family understand the requirement to have a successful team, playing in the Manchester United way, and they have backed the manager with funds."

Gill also said that the club's world record four-year shirt deal with U.S. insurance company AIG Inc, worth £56.5 million ($110.4 million) in 2006 could also not have happened without them.

"They have also added value in other areas. The AIG shirt-sponsorship deal was a world record - that was down to them.

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"The financial position of the club is not something that worries us. Clearly, the cash from these results will be used partially to service the debt and also to reinvest in players.

"The banks would not have leant money to the club if they did not feel there was a sensible structure in place, and there has never been any brake on funds."

Elsewhere on the balance sheet, the club managed to cut its wages-to-turnover ratio to 43.6%, down from 51.6% the year before.

Media revenue, which includes prize money from the English Premier League and the European Champions League, came to £61.5million ($120.1 million), up 35% from £45.5m

Matchday revenues were up from £71.3m ($139.3 million) to £92.6million ($180.9 million), an increase of 30%.

During the period of accounts, the club won the Premiership in the season 2006/2007 and were runners-up the season before. They also reached the final of the FA Cup in 2007. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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