Manchester United's annual turnover fell for the first time in the Glazer era as the club paid the price for a disappointing season on the pitch.
United's executive vice-chairman
The club's total income fell by 3.3 per cent to £320.3 million ($498.65 million) for the year ending 30
But the commercial growth of the club has continued apace, and when the money from the incredible £357 million ($555.79 million) shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet starts to flow, not to mention the Premier League's £3 billion ($4.67 billion)-plus TV deal, it may be that 2011-2012 is just a blip on an otherwise upward chart - especially if the team keeps its good start to the season going.
Woodward told a conference call with investors: "The team's performance is central to this business. It allows us to get the great partners."
United's wage bill has climbed 7 per cent to £160 million ($249.12 million), and has just crept over the 50 per cent-of-turnover mark, though club officials are confident it will drop back below that mark next season.
For the first time, revenue from commercial income exceeded that from broadcast and matchday income. United ais predicting turnover will rise by nearly 10 per cent next year to between £350 million ($544.95 million) and £360 million ($560.52 million), based on the assumption the club reaches the quarter-finals of the Champions League and FA Cup.
Apart from the Chevrolet deal, which kicks in from 2014 but starts providing cash next year, United's deal with Nike expires in 2015 and looks likely to be renegotiated next year.
A United spokesman told the
The growth in income from sponsorship and commercial deals has certainly cushioned the blow of the shortfall from the Champions League and FA Cup compared to the previous season. Commercial revenue was up 13.7 per cent to £117.6 million ($183.05 million), while broadcast revenue was down 11.3 per cent to £104 million ($161.88 million) and matchday revenue down 10.9 per cent to £98.7 million ($153.65 million).
"In addition, we earned minimal revenues from the FA Cup following our fourth-round exit, compared with reaching the semi-final in the previous year.
"Matchday revenues for the year decreased... as a result of having played four fewer home games compared with the prior season when we also received a share of the gate receipts from the Champions League final and FA Cup semi-final, both of which were held at
Despite the drop in turnover, United actually recorded a profit of £23 million ($35.8 million) though that was entirely due to a tax credit of £28 million ($43.59 million) - without that credit there would have been a £5 million ($7.78 million) loss.
Woodward also said United expected that 'a substantial increase' in the value of the Premier League's overseas TV rights will be announced later this year.
He added: "In addition, we continued to strengthen our team by signing world-class players such as
The value of Kagawa off the pitch as well as on has been reflected by the fact that of the eight new commercial deals signed by United since
Woodward said half of the club's commercial revenue is likely to come from
That sum represented half of the income from the sale of 10 per cent of the Glazer shares - the other half went to the Glazer family, who have been in charge of the club since 2005.
United's net debt as of
Although gross debt was down from £458.9 million ($713.63 million) to £436.9 million ($679.27 million), the amount of cash in the bank was also down from £150.6 million ($234.14 million) to £70.6 million ($109.77 million), leading to the increase in net debt.
English Premier League
David Moyes has started the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United as the Premier League champion's new boss arrived at the club's training ground for the first time.