Man Utd to meet financial goals after “turbulent season”

LONDON (Reuters) – English soccer club Manchester United said it would meet its financial forecasts for 2018-19 despite what it called a “turbulent season” that ended with only a sixth place finish in the Premier League.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the three months to the end of March fell to 41.2 million pounds ($52.8 million), down from 45.7 million a year earlier, the club said on Thursday.

That reflected in part the impact of wage costs of 84.8 million pounds, an increase of 9.7 million pounds from a year ago, mainly due to investment in a playing squad which includes French World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Chilean Alexis Sanchez.

Calls to rebuild the squad have grown louder after the 20-time English champions missed out on a berth in next season’s lucrative UEFA Champions League competition.

“Preparations for the new season are underway and the underlying strength of our business will allow us to support the manager and his team as we look to the future,” Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said, after what he called a “turbulent season”.

Despite a brief upturn in form after replacing manager Jose Mourinho with former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the team stuttered in the last few weeks and ultimately finished in sixth place in the domestic league, a whopping 32 points behind champions Manchester City.

The club continues to expect revenue of 615-630 million pounds and adjusted EBITDA of 175-190 million pounds for the year to the end of June.