Fergie retirement: what does the future hold for Manchester United?
After 27 years and an astonishing 38 trophies, Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that he is to retire as Manchester United manager.
In recent days, there had been more than a little speculation about when he would call it quits, but now that Sir Alex has made his decision there is a lot of talk about the immediate future for United.
The first task the United board will have in the wake of Fergie’s departure is to find a replacement. The likes of Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and Everton’s overachieving David Moyes have been mentioned, while some of the backroom staff who Fergie worked so well with over the years could also leave, especially if the new manager wants to bring in his own team.
As well as transforming United from relative also-rans into the biggest and most successful club in England, Fergie also played an important role in improving the finances of the club. Blooding then-youngsters like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham and turning them into global superstars helped to boost the club brand. Annual income for United today is usually over the £300m mark.
In the previous financial quarter, Manchester United saw turnover reach £91m, thanks largely to the signing of a handful of new sponsorship deals. Winning yet another Premier League title will have helped too, while the mountain of debt accrued during the takeover by the Glazer family has gradually become smaller and more manageable over time.
Urgent decision needed
To try and calm the markets in New York, where the Glazers recently listed the club on the stock exchange, the pressure to name a successor to Sir Alex as soon as possible is growing. In the meantime, the financial picture at Old Trafford appears to be pretty rosy.
Analyst Joshua Raymond from City Index said: “Manchester United’s commercial dominance has been further entrenched within their quarterly numbers. Revenues rose broadly in line with market expectations of close to 30 per cent to £91.7m, whilst the recent success of winning the Premier League will also enable the club to secure more lucrative sponsorship deals and increases the value of the Man United brand.
“There remains an open question however on the sheer volume of sponsorship deals being secured, which may slow but could also impact the long term value of the brand. For now though, these numbers will likely please shareholders.”
Image: Saadick Dhansay