Manchester United have returned to the top of the Deloitte Money League as football’s richest club for the first time in 11 years.
Due to record revenues in the 2015/16 season (£515.3m) which included the start of a world record shirt sponsorship deal with Adidas, Man United have leapfrogged Real Madrid (£463.8m) and Barcelona (£463.8m) back into top spot.
It’s a sign of how much commercial value Ed Woodward has brought to United and having been free spending in the transfer market in the last few years after a substantial period of underspending and overachieving under Sir Alex Ferguson, fans are starting to see a kickback from United’s substantial wealth.
We’re now in the perfect position to make a move for the likes of Antoine Griezmann in the summer. We have already spent big in recent years but we can continue to do so and well within the barriers of Financial Fair Play, something the likes of Manchester City and Paris St. Germain are unable to do. We may have broken the world record transfer for Paul Pogba last summer but with so much money coming into the club, the investment in rebuilding United as a powerhouse will continue.
The fact we’ve returned to the top of the list after the three years we’ve had on the pitch is both impressive and ridiculous at the same time. We only finished in the top four once and the FA Cup under Louis van Gaal was our only silverware yet our revenues have soared, even without Champions League football. That goes to show the power of United as a brand in this scope of modern football.
Looking forward, it means Jose Mourinho can continue shaping his squad. There will be plenty of hate spouted towards United but this is not money from a sugar daddy or an oil baron, this is money United have earned off their own back. Sure, I’d prefer to return to a day where we didn’t have regional tomato juice sponsors and players with emojis on Twitter but the footballing landscape has changed, United have adapted and are sitting atop the pile.
Now it is time for that success off the pitch to be married with winning on the pitch. For years, Sir Alex was the Glazers’ dream because he got more than he should have out of players and it glossed over United’s lack of investment in players. That mirage doesn’t exist any more and Mourinho is building his own squad player by player; so far you can see the improvements which have been made but with United intending to return to the Champions League next year, more new faces will be brought in and I’m looking forward to seeing who else he brings in. Whoever it is, United have earned the money to spend it on them.