Manchester United are a global cultural juggernaut and their bank balance is watertight as a result — a little bit like Disney.
That is according to university lecturer, author, football finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams as United continue to strengthen their position on the world stage.
United’s last trophies came in 2016-17 when they won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
United’s fanbase would no doubt be much more animated if they can continue their Premier League title challenge this season.
But despite the lack of meaningful silverware, the club remains a worldwide financial powerhouse and Forbes continue to rank them as the world’s third-richest club, a result of United living off the triumphs of yesteryear according to Maguire.
“Legacy interest works like parachute payments,” he told Football Insider.
“Some things are bigger than what’s taking place on the pitch, and Manchester United are exactly that. You’ve only got to take a look at the number of times that the lead story on the BBC website will be a Manchester United story along the lines of ‘Paul Pogba signs one-year contract extension.’ There might have been three Premier League matches taken place on that day, and you might wonder why they aren’t the top story. And it’s because Manchester United sell.
“They have leveraged on that interest really smartly. The fact that they’ve now got museums and China and theme parks here and there, they’re using the brand as a means of extending the interest in the club.
“It’s a bit like me going to Disneyland. I can’t remember the last Disney film, but if my granddaughter wants to go to Disneyland then I’ll be straight there. Because, you know, it’s Mickey Mouse, it’s Pluto, it’s all those things you were brought up on in terms of the brand. I think United have capitalised on that concept really well.”
United are 2nd only to Liverpool in the Premier League as they approach the halfway point of the season.
A win in their next match, against Burnley on 12 January, will see them climb to the summit for the first time in just under two and a half years.