Managerless and finishing the season not just out of reach of the Champions League, but from European football all together. These are not things you would usually associate with a club like Manchester United. Regardless of David Moyes’ best efforts to fill Sir Alex Ferguson’s massive metaphorical shoes, he was dismissed from his position after just 10 months in charge as Man Utd look forward to a season without Champions League football AND money.
Despite being the 4th highest earning football club in 2014, they are still the club with the largest amount of debt, with the club currently owing a whopping £335.7M! So, just how is this club, this institution, going to fare without the big money from the Champions League that they can usually almost certainly bank on?
Just fine, that’s how. Recent reports suggested that, with Nike’s current manufacturing deal with Man Utd coming to an end, there would be an all out bidding war to become Man Utd’s latest kit maker. Sporting giants such as Adidas, Puma and Warrior were all expected to go up against Nike’s bid to renew their contract with the reigning Premier League champions. But Nike did not like the idea of this bidding war, not one bit. So they done what any serious sports manufacturer would do. They handed Man Utd a world record breaking, nay shattering kit deal to continue to make the Manchester club’s classic red attire for them.
As the deal would be for 10 years, my highly learned mathematical skills tell me that works out to £60M a season (I didn’t even use a calculator there, honestly) and this is nearly double the current highest paying deal in the world, Real Madrid’s deal with Adidas only nets them a meagre £31M (again, no calculator used.)
This of course, is to be added to the other world record breaking deal Man Utd have made with Chevrolet for the sponsorship (not to be confused with the manufacturing) of their kits. A deal which will gain them another tidy £53M per season. With these two deals in place, it doesn’t seem as if the potential £30.67M sum they would garner from the Champions League prize money will actually be missed, and that figure is based on if they actually won the competition! You are actually only guaranteed a figure just north of £7M for appearing in the Champions League Group Stages. The rest of the potential prize money comes from winning games, and in my opinion, that is never guaranteed in the Champions League.
So, with these record breaking financial deals coming in United’s favour, and the amount of money guaranteed by Champions League football turning out to be not as much as you’d think, it would be fairly safe to say that they will be able to spend accordingly to get them back to the glory days of…well, 2013. With Louis Van Gaal already the bookmakers favourite to take over, the rebuilding plan seems to be up and running.
You could perhaps even argue that not having the distraction of Champions League football for the first time in 19 years will actually aid them in what will ultimately be a period of rebuilding for the English giants. Rumour has it that United has known for longer than they’ll admit that Sir Alex was retiring, they foresaw the transitional period coming, and timed it perfectly to start when all this sponsorship mega-money started coming in. Who knows?