City entering ‘ new phase’
> Guardiola finally adds up the numbers for club’s chairman as they claim to be fourth most valuable brand in football
MANCHESTER CITY chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has revealed that he views the current season under the management of Pep Guardiola as the starting point for “a new phase in the evolution of Manchester City” as the club reports a second successive year of profit, putting the struggle against UEFA’s financial fair play rules in the past.
City have seemed like a club
Pep Guardiola (left) and Lionel Messi during the Barcelona days waiting for Guardiola’s arrival ever since his compatriots Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, chief executive and director of football, joined the club in 2012, and the £20.5m profit reported on Tuesday – a record for the club – certainly provides the platform.
Al Mubarak has not yet stipulated what the “new phase” means, though City yearn to convert their investment in players into Champions League success which would make them a household name the world over. They hope that Guardiola will bring that.
The ultimate test comes earlier than the club would have wanted – with Barcelona awaiting them at the Nou Camp tonight. But they have certainly travelled a long way in a short time, financially.
City reported a staggering £194.9m loss in November 2011 as they undertook the accelerated investment to put themselves in the big league.
But the annual report for season 2015-16 has revealed club-record revenues of £351.8 million - the eighth successive annual rise in commercial earnings. Turnover - £61.8m in 2005/6 - has risen by £290m in a decade.
The club’s ratio of wages to turnover has also dropped again – from 55% to 50%, five years after wages were in excess of annual turnover.
Khaldoon said that the development of the club under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan “has never been anything other than a long-term project” and that “we have set ambitious goals and achieved many of them faster than expected in the last eight years, but we have never underestimated the scale of the undertaking.”
He said the club “has now reached a level of sporting and commercial maturity that allows one to feed the other. [It is] the vision for success and sustainability that we have been working towards since [buying the club in] 2008.”
The investment in City’s parent company City Football Group by China Media Capital Holdings (CMC), which valued the Group at $3billion, certainly helped. The club can also factor in the revenue from reaching the semifinals of the Champions League.
The financial distance between City and tonight’s opponents is substantial: Barcelona’s revenues are around £600m. But City’s development also reflects an imaginative approach to the commercial side of the business.
On a micro level, their creative use of video has been impressive, with the ‘Pep’s Taxi’, in which the manager takes a taxi trip with young supporter Braydon Bent, a superb example of how to bring the club closer to supporters.
City, who say they are the fourth “most valuable brand” after Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, report a 61% lift in the number of video views they have had via Facebook and a 133% rise in the number of minutes of video viewed on YouTube. – The Independent