Part of United’s ability to claim self-sustainability has been due to smart work in the transfer market, with deals done in the short, medium and long-term coming together to bear fruit at a time when the club needed financial support.
But, and as with any pot of cash, if the lid is left open it can begin to dwindle depending, of course, on how the deals were structured and when future payments are expected.
“Something else I’ve said for a long time is that we’ve been fortunate that we’ve had the cushion of some previous player sales that have brought some cash in to fill our gap through this last year or so,” chief executive Nigel Clibbens told us.
“When the Premier League bailout of support came our way that was set at 31p in the pound, so there was a big hole still to fill, and we’ve been fortunate in being able to do that.
“We had the transfer deals for Branthwaite, McCarron and Galloway which we know about, and this season we have Dean Henderson breaking into the Manchester United team and Sam Cosgrove getting sold by Aberdeen.
“All of these elements come into the pot to give us the position that we’re in. It’s all really welcome.”
“We could see some of it coming, because we knew how the deals worked, but you can’t really rely on it,” he added. “But even without those we’d have been ok. So that’s our extra cushion that I keep talking about.
“Eventually, with every month that goes past the money gets spent and the hole is there again, because we still have no income. The cushion isn’t there forever, and that’s why we’ve said all along that fans coming back is really important.”
On how these payments work, he said: “I can give you a broad picture. Sam wasn’t with us for very long and we did a deal to avoid getting minimum compensation, when he left, and part of that was a financial interest going forward.
“He’s now sold, so we start to reap the benefit of that, and the money comes in when it’s paid to Aberdeen. So, like all normal deals, that will come in over a longer period, and one of the things the club’s done well in recent times is build that legacy of income flows from past sales.
“We had Charlie Wyke and Cosgrove from a while ago, and in recent deals David’s done it with McCarron, Galloway, and Branthwaite. Having that recurring in-flow of cash that comes in on top of your normal activity gives you that extra comfort for difficult times.
“We went through a period when we didn’t have that and it became a problem. To be in that position again, it’s standing us in good stead to help us ride out some of these short-term issues and give us a bit of firepower to then be more able to invest in the club.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Nigel Clibbens on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.