MANCHESTER UNITED executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hails fans ‘the lifeblood of the game’ as the club post a £21.7million loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of fans inside Old Trafford has seen United’s matchday sales fall to just £1.6m, down from £29.1m the year prior.
Man Utd‘s matchday, commercial and sponsorship revenue slump all saw drops of £27.5m, £10.5m and £8.9m.
Figures from January to March 2021 show that Man Utd made £118.3million compared to £123.7m the year before, a revenue fall of 4.4%.
But an increase in broadcasting revenue – five additional games broadcasted – slightly softened the financial blow.
Woodward is, however, optimistic about the prospect of fans returning to football grounds in much greater numbers.
In a statement, he said: “The absence of fans over the past year has proved that they are the lifeblood of the game.
“Following the successful return of limited numbers at the end of last season, and continued trials of increased crowds at sports events this summer, we remain optimistic about the prospect of fans returning to Old Trafford in larger numbers going forwards.
“With the foundations for long-term success in place, including significant initiatives to strengthen engagement with our supporters, we look forward to the upcoming season.”
Man Utd are planning to welcome their fans back with some new, big-name faces.
Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho is high on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wish list.
And if Man Utd want to sign the England international, a bid close to Dortmund‘s £81.4m will need to be made.
Personal terms with the player are believed not to be an issue, and if Sancho was to sign, he’d earn around £350,000 a week on a five-year contract.