Manchester United prospering on and off the pitch
LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is running away with the English Premier League title, and achieving record success off the pitch as well.
The club on Thursday forecast record revenue this season of 350 million pounds ($542 million) to 360 million pounds ($558 million) as it released financial results for the last three months of a trophyless 2012.
United's revenue rose nine percent year-on-year in that period to a record 110 million pounds ($170 million), and pre-tax profit soared 48 percent to 28.4 million pounds ($44 million).
Alex Ferguson's side unexpectedly exited the Champions League in the group stage in the 2011-12 season but is thriving again in Europe, drawing 1-1 in the first leg of its last-16 match at Real Madrid on Wednesday.
And after losing out on the Premier League title last season to Manchester City on goal difference, United enjoys a 12-point lead over the second-place champions.
Due to the imminent expectation of silverware, protests against the owning Glazer family have virtually disappeared at Old Trafford.
Using the proceeds of its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, the gross debt that has angered fans in the past has dropped 17 percent in a year to 366.6 million pounds ($567 million).
After a disappointing market debut in August at a discounted $14 a share, United was trading at $18.60 on Thursday afternoon.
Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward told investors the record revenue is being driven by "extremely strong growth, particularly in sponsorship."
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