Understanding Manchester United

Understanding Manchester United - Johan Cruyff Institute

Let’s find out the secret behind Manchester United’s success, the richest and most valuable football club in the world, not as dominant in results since Alex Ferguson retired

Written by Oliver Seitz and Matheus Girardi

The most successful club in the history of the English Premier League. The richest football club in the world according to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. The most valuable football club in the world according to Forbes. The only football club listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in the world. Almost 700 million followers around the planet. Almost 200 thousand club members. Whatever way you look at it, the numbers of Manchester United are impressive.

In the 2015-2016 season, the club generated more commercial revenue than Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Atlético Madrid, Roma, Internazionale and West Ham combined. In 20 years, United has registered 99% occupancy in every season of the English Premier League (EPL), even though Old Trafford is the largest football club stadium in the United Kingdom, with a capacity of over 75,000 fans. Manchester United is the commercialization of football at its best.

However, since United’s long-lasting manager Sir Alex Ferguson  retired at the end of the 2012-2013 season, the club’s performance has plunged. In the four EPL seasons following his retirement, United’s best league position was fourth place in 2014-2015, lower than any of the EPL seasons under Ferguson.

Despite that, Manchester United’s financial performance has not been affected. At least not yet. But how is it possible that the club is getting richer season after season without delivering results on the pitch? Has the club found a solution for one of football’s biggest dilemmas? Or does the club desperately need to start winning major trophies again to be able to sustain the operation?

In this Football Focus edition, we will try to uncover the reasons behind the financial success of Manchester United and analyze the many challenges that lie ahead. At the end, you will be asked a few simple questions that, depending on the answer, could have profound implications for the future of the club.

So, what is the secret behind Manchester United’s success?

Let’s find out.

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