• Manchester United’s second quarter revenue is a record £133.8million 
  • Ed Woodward says commitment to club underpinned by financial strenth
  • But Woodward could face awkward questions from investors on Thursday

Chris Wheeler for MailOnline

Ed Woodward believes the pressure is still on Manchester United to sign world-class players but promised to stay true to the club’s tradition of promoting young homegrown talent.

Announcing record second quarter revenue of £133.8million on Thursday, the Old Trafford chief avoided any mention of manager Louis van Gaal amid speculation that Jose Mourinho is being lined up to replace the Dutchman.

But he was pressed by investors on why a Leicester City side costing a total of £22m can be top of the Premier League when United are fifth after Van Gaal has spent £250m. 

Manchester United chief Ed Woodward is delighted with the club's latest set of financial figures

Manchester United chief Ed Woodward is delighted with the club’s latest set of financial figures

Woodward says the results off the pitch helps the club contribute to success on the field of play

Woodward says the results off the pitch helps the club contribute to success on the field of play

Jesse Lingard has emerged as the latest player to come through the youth academy at United

Jesse Lingard has emerged as the latest player to come through the youth academy at United

United are six points off fourth in the Premier League

United are six points off fourth in the Premier League

Woodward insisted that United will continue to shop at the top end of the market, saying: ‘Leicester are a fantastic reference point for everybody this year.

‘The philosophy we have is to target quality of players based on the huge amount of scouting that we do and analysis within the training ground. Then we do our best to do the best deal we can.

‘Some players are bought by other clubs with an eye to them developing into something special in a few years’ time, where there is a bit more pressure on the bigger clubs to bring in players who hit the ground running and are verging on world-class almost immediately. There is a slightly different market in which people are buying.’

However, Woodward re-affirmed United’s commitment to youth at a time when Jesse Lingard and Cameron Borthwich-Jackson are impressing for the first-team.

He compared United’s track record in that department to rivals like Manchester City and Chelsea, and promised news on the academy changes ‘in the coming days’ following an extensive review.

‘The academy continues to be the heart of the club, giving youth a chance is part of our DNA,’ said Woodward.

‘We took the departure of Brian McClair last summer as an opportunity to do a root and branch review of the academy. That is now compete and changes are underway. Announcements will follow in in coming days.

Cameron Borthwich-Jackson is another United youngster to earn an opportunity in the first team

Cameron Borthwich-Jackson is another United youngster to earn an opportunity in the first team

When Brian McClair left United last summer, Woodward held 'a root and branch review of the academy'

When Brian McClair left United last summer, Woodward held ‘a root and branch review of the academy’

‘In terms of the future, our key competitive advantages are still very strong; our unmatched track record of player development compared to any other team in England, and the runway we deliver of first-team opportunities to those players, again very different to some of our competitors.’

The overall increase of 26.6 per cent in United’s latest figures is largely due to commercial revenue of £66.1m, up 42.5 per cent for the quarter, and broadcasting revenue of £37.3m, up 31.3 per cent for the quarter. The club’s cash balance has also rise to £121.6m from £37m in a year.

It has allowed United to freeze ticket prices once again for next season following the news that rivals Liverpool have had to backtrack on plans to raise their prices to as much as £77 for some tickets.

Woodward added: ‘I’m not going to comment on what other clubs have done.

‘The Premier League is looking at options to help away fans. We had an away fan initiative last year, and there were discussions at last week’s Premier League meeting and behind closed doors which will deliver more for away fans.

But Louis van Gaal's side is fifth in the league, six points behind fourth and the Champions League places

But Louis van Gaal’s side is fifth in the league, six points behind fourth and the Champions League places

United freezed ticket prices once again for supporters hoping to visit Old Trafford next season 

United freezed ticket prices once again for supporters hoping to visit Old Trafford next season 

‘That’s only part of it for us. We’re working with the Supporters Trust to see what we can do.

We have frozen general admission prices for the last five years and into next year. That’s as good a guide as to where we are.’ 


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