Premier League

Manchester United reduce gross debt helped by rise in sponsorship revenues

Old Trafford: Success on and off the pitch

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Manchester United have reduced their debt with the help of several lucrative sponsorship and operational deals boosting profit.

While the team currently sit at the top of the Premier League, the latest figures suggest off the pitch the club are also in a healthy state.

United's gross debt has been cut to £359.7m after the owners 'retired' a further £62.6m-worth of bonds during the first financial quarter.

It has been estimated that overall income will reach £350m to £360m over the entire financial year to June 2013, thanks mainly to commercial developments with sponsorship, including a seven-year £357m shirt deal with General Motors.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising & sponsorship.

"The team has also made a strong start to the 12/13 season - currently 1st place in the Premier League and 1st place in our Champions League Group."

Since taking over at Old Trafford in 2005, the Glazer family has been heavily criticised by some fans for forcing huge debt levels onto the club.

United also received £1.3m due to their players being selected for Euro 2012, as well as around £2m for Old Trafford being an Olympic venue during the summer.

The club's broadcast revenues nose-dived by 37.4%, largely attributed to their dismal showing on the Champions League stage last season when they failed to reach the knock-out stages.