As Manchester United tonight kick off their 2012/13 Champions League campaign against Galatasaray, the price of last season’s early elimination has been laid bare in the club’s latest financial figures.
The Reds saw profits for the last financial year fall 16.5 per-cent to £91.6million.
And much of that decrease was caused by a 11.3 per-cent drop in broadcasting revenue caused by their early exits from both the Champions League and FA Cup.
Overall income was down 3.3 per-cent to £320.3million, but there was cheer of the merchandise front with revenue up by 13.7-per-cent.
The financial figures underline the importance of success on the field for United whose overall debt remains £436.9million.
And Sir Alex Ferguson indicated at his pre-match press conference that he won’t be taking any risks as they prepare to play Turkish team Galatasaray at Old Trafford as he is no doubt fully aware of the financial consequences of failure to the club.
He pointed to last season’s costly slip ups against Benfica and FC Basel as they were eliminated in December at the group stage.
Ferguson said: “We must not be as careless as we were last year and my team will reflect this.
“In the last few years the group stage has been straightforward and this has enabled me to play young players.
“Against Galatasaray, I will play a more experienced side.”
Ferguson believes he has enough firepower to launch as assault on Europe, but defence could hold the key.
Latics have again been beset with injury problems at the back with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling out long term.
Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans have also had fitness issues, though those three players are available at the moment.
“If I was guaranteed two of those three players to be available for the rest of the season, I would take that.”
United had similar defensive troubles last season when midfielders Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher as well as left-back Patrice Evra had to fill in at centre back.
Ferguson forecasts it will be a close game saying it is never easy playing against Turkish opposition.