Last updated : 23 January 2006 By editor

The figures announced this morning show a £12.3 million drop in annual profits to £46 million and cover the first three months of the Glazers’ ownership. Despite David Gill’s best efforts things don’t look healthy.

Gill said: "We are still the most profitable club in the world. There will be a knock-on effect from our disappointing performance in the Champions League this year but the new stadium expansion means there will be nearly 8,000 extra seats from the start of next season and the end of 2007 is looking very positive."

With sponsors deserting the ‘brand’ the board’s only strategy is to fill the new seats; hence the offer of season tickets to anyone who joins the membership scheme. Why the desperation? What happened to the thousands of people on season ticket waiting lists?

How long before Glazer and the board start to emulate Arsenal’s Keith Edelman, announcing that a four-year season ticket at their new stadium will cost as much as £19,000:

"Our gate income in the new stadium will probably be the highest in the world. That's because we will have 60,000 fans and we've got higher priced tickets and more premium tickets than any other club in the UK."

Gill also confirmed that the club paid out £2.2 million in agents' fees over the previous year - £1.5 million to Paul Stretford's Proactive group, who acted for Wayne Rooney and another £300,000 went to Edwin van der Sar's adviser following his move from Fulham.