Revenues at Manchester United have hit a record £627m for the year to July.
There is now a danger of the club falling behind their traditional rivals in mainland Europe for the right to be branded the world’s richest. Last week, Spanish giant Barcelona announced it expected to pass the €1bn ($1.1bn; £883m) income mark for the first time this season.
Despite the record revenues executive, Manchester United’s vice-chairman Ed Woodward said the club still valued playing success on the field most highly.
He said: “We remain focused on our plan of rebuilding the team and continuing to strengthen our youth system, in line with the philosophy of the club and the manager.
“Everyone at Manchester United is committed to delivering on our primary objective of winning trophies.”
For the current financial year he forecast revenue of £560m to £580m, down from £627.1m, and core profit of £155m to £165m, down from £185.8m.
The club said that during the past year it had signed three new first team players and completed several key player contract extensions.
It said it had also announced 10 new or renewed global sponsorship deals, and that – as measured by Kantar – its total number of fans and followers globally had increased to 1.1 billion.
During the year the Old Trafford club also made an operating profit of £50m.
Staff wages for the year, mostly spent on players, were £332.3m, an increase of £36.m, or 12.3%, on the previous year, “primarily due to investment in the first team squad”.
The club spent more than half of its income on player wages, despite a campaign in which no trophies were won.