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Woodward speaks up for Solskjaer as Man Utd financial results are released early

Everton v Manchester United – Premier League – Goodison Park
(Image credit: Clive Brunskill)

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward insists the club remain “absolutely committed” to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Woodward’s words of support for the Norwegian were contained in the Premier League club’s first-quarter financial results, which were released a day early in error and show an operating loss of £27.1million.

Solskjaer’s position at Old Trafford has come under increased scrutiny following an unconvincing start to the season, with Mauricio Pochettino widely linked to the job.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has publicly backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has publicly backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Martin Rickett/PA)

United sit 14th in the table following disappointing home defeats to Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Arsenal, which were compounded by a shock Champions League loss to Turkish club Istanbul Baseksehir.

“On the pitch, while there is still hard work ahead to achieve greater consistency, we remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop,” said Woodward.

Financial details were mistakenly made public on Thursday evening due to a blunder from the US-based publisher of United’s regulatory statements.

Results for the 2021 fiscal first quarter – ended September 30 – show United operated at a loss of £27.1m. The club made an £11m profit during the same quarter last year.

Overall revenue was £109m, a drop of 19.5 per cent.

With fixtures being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, United’s revenue continues to be adversely affected.

Matchday revenue dropped dramatically, falling 92.3 per cent from £22.1m to 1.7m, while commercial revenue plummeted 25.7 per cent to £59.7m.

However, broadcasting revenue rose – from £32.9m to £47.6m – as a result of the delayed 2019-20 Premier League campaign being completed in July.

Premier League matches, including at Old Tafford, continue to be played behind closed doors

Premier League matches, including at Old Tafford, continue to be played behind closed doors (Michael Regan/PA)

The club’s net debt stands at £440.6m, a 14.6 per cent rise from last year’s 384.5m.

Shareholders will receive a divided of 0.09 dollars per share (£0.069).

Woodward added: “While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause significant disruption, we are optimistic that the recovery and normalisation phase is gradually coming into view.

“The club’s resilience and our strong commercial business continue to provide a solid foundation and gives us confidence in our long-term outlook beyond the pandemic, both on and off the pitch.”