Man U about to break bank

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LONDON, February 14 – Manchester United were predicted Monday to become the first Premier League club to smash the 100 million pound barrier for commercial revenue alone.

The most recent accounts from Old Trafford showed revenues rising to 24 million pounds over the first quarter of the accounting year, and it is thought the second, up to December 31, will be just as strong.

United’s new aproach to commercial opportunities, agreed with owners the Glazer family and implemented by commercial director Richard Arnold, has allowed the club to rapidly expand that area of their revenue.

The last annual figures showed a 16 percent growth in commercial income to 81 million and last week global logistics giant DHL became the latest company to confirm an extended "partnership" with the Old Trafford outfit, their three-year deal allowing them to take charge of the distribution of United’s massive merchandising operation.

Even if United, chasing a 19th league title, do not get to the magic 100 million mark this year, it is only a matter of time before they make it.

And with revenue streams continuing to grow in other sectors, chief executive David Gill is confident that the spread across all three areas; media, matchday and commercial means United are insulated against future problems in other areas.

"One of the strengths of this club compared to others is that we get income from all revenue streams," he said.

"Our match day revenue is around 40 percent of our overall turnover, we are part of a great competition in the Premier League that continues to grow and the commercial sector has gone up from 20 percent to 30 percent.

"That will stand us in very good stead. They are all high margins and will continue to give us the money Sir Alex Ferguson needs to keep the club at the top. There is a strong desire within our great supporter base for that to happen."

To place United’s financial strength into context, rapidly rising neighbours Manchester City made 11th place in last year’s football ‘rich-list’ and their overall turnover was only 125 million.

Speculation about a potential £1.6billion takeover bid from Qatar lingers, even though the club response remains the same.

"We have received no approach and no approach would be welcome," said a United spokesman. "The club is not for sale."

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