Manchester United accounts: Incredible growth in club's financial might revealed in results from 1969

 
Joe Hall
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Generation game: Bobby Charlton featured in the 1969 side under Matt Busby (Source: Getty)

No club better symbolises the size and scale of today's football industry than international mega-brand Manchester United - and leaked figures from the club's 1969 accounts reveal just how much they've grown.

In Sir Matt Busby's final season as manager, the club paid out £204,028 in "wages and bonuses" to a star-studded squad that included Sir Matt Busby, George Best and Bobby Charlton - less than what club captain Wayne Rooney now receives in a single week.

Adjusted for inflation, the club's wage bill was worth around £3m in 1969 - still a minuscule snippet of the £203m "staff costs" United reported last season.

Read more: Manchester United poised to reclaim title as world's richest club

The Premier League giants were named as the richest club in England by Deloitte last week, thanks to revenues of £395.2m last season.

By contrast, the figures, released by the Press Association, show United had a total income of just £569,418 in 1969, or around £8.5m in today's money.


United won the European Cup under Sir Matt Busby a year earlier (Source: Getty)Getty)

In the intervening 47 years, United have won 13 more league titles (all under Sir Alex Ferguson), eight FA Cups, and two Champions League titles.

Such success has helped United cement themselves as the most successful and recognisable team of a Premier League era which has seen growth in global interest of the English game, reflected in booming broadcasting revenues.

United can expect to receive well over £100m in broadcasting revenue once a new £5bn TV deal starts next season, but in 1969 TV was such a minor concern that the club spent more on "washing and cleaning" expenses which stood at £1,915.

TV revenue stood at just £1,334 (£20,000 in today's money) - almost 10 per cent of what it made from programme sales.

"I wouldn't really criticise the players today because it is relative to what other clubs are offering," Manchester United Supporters' Trust chief executive Duncan Drasdo told Press Association Sport.

"To supporters, of course, the numbers are crazy. But people in other areas of sport and entertainment earn huge amounts of money and I'm not quite sure why footballers get singled out for criticism.

"If football was still amateur, I think you would still have players playing. Some might not - but I suspect a lot of the best players still would.

"I also don't think players in 1969 would have turned down the wages on offer today if they were offered them."

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