2015-16 was another eventful season for Manchester City and one which marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one in the Club’s journey.
On the pitch, we continued in our endeavours to play beautiful football. Our men’s first team won the League Cup and reached the Champions League semi-final for the first time. They also ended the Premier League season in fourth place, a finish which, though disappointing for all of us, only encourages us to work harder and better in the future.
Our women’s team qualified for the Champions League for the first time in its history and the Club’s Academy squads won a record number of trophies across all age groups, signalling that there is a new generation of talented players that should play an important role in our Club’s future. This form of sustainability – that of bringing through young talent via our Academy – has always been central to His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s vision of a flourishing Manchester City. We continue to work hard towards those goals and build on the many tangible successes that have already emerged in this area.
Long-term financial sustainability is another well-documented key objective for us and we are seeing consistent and continued evidence of this in our financial performance. In the 2015-16 season, we achieved record revenues of £391.8 million – an 11% increase on the previous season – and, once again, Manchester City FC generated a profit (of £20.5 million). These positive results were achieved in the context of a zero debt operation and a wage/revenue ratio of 50%, a figure which is among the best in the football industry.
A year ago, we spoke about the opening of the City Football Academy as a single site for all of our teams as the hardware of our strategy. The software is our consistent coaching methodology, our style of play across all of our teams and our commitment to hard work and intensity at every level. We are already beginning to see some positive results from this integrated approach, not only with the success of our Youth teams in Manchester but also with the other teams of the City Football Group.
All of our Clubs are now well established and delivering promising results. There is a network of support and openness and a culture of sharing best practice that helps us all improve. We are delighted with the progress we have made but there is clearly a lot more work to do and we must constantly adapt to new challenges and embrace fresh opportunities.
Our global network is providing unmatched benefits for our players, coaches and staff. Patrick Vieira joined Manchester City as a player in 2010, graduated to coach the EDS team for three years and this year became Head Coach of New York City FC. In addition, three players from Manchester’s EDS were loaned or signed to NYCFC and had successful experiences with the Club. Frank Lampard played for both Manchester City and NYCFC, while Aaron Mooy left Melbourne City to be signed by Manchester City. These are examples that the City Football Group’s truly global approach is working to benefit the development both of the game and of our people.
The curtain rose on last season with the opening of the newly expanded Etihad Stadium. This expansion enabled us to post record crowds on multiple occasions during the season. We have seen a significantly enhanced atmosphere and fan experience, noticeable, for example, when we played our Champions League games against Paris St Germain and Real Madrid. The renewed energy and atmosphere was very special.
Bringing our supporters closer to the Club and keeping our Cityzens family closer together is, and will always be, a key objective for us. Maybe the best example of this in the past 12 months was the consultation with our members on the possibility of changing the Manchester City badge, and their subsequent influence on its design. Tens of thousands took the opportunity to engage with us in creating a crest which would be most authentic to and reflective of the Club and the city of Manchester itself. What emerged was considered a ‘modern original’, representing both the Club’s rich history and its exciting future.
China deserves a very special mention. This season, we were very happy to welcome our new investors, a consortium led by China Media Capital (CMC) which injected US$400 million into CFG, leading to a new Group valuation of US$3 billion. Our new partners are instrumental in our ability to understand and foster the opportunities for our Group in China, at the same time as we work to help develop the game in such a vast and interesting country.
As our commercial structure continued to mature, we opened new offices in Singapore and Shanghai, taking the total number of regional offices to eight, and enabling us to serve our partners and fans around the world in more individual and localised ways.
We are confident that all these positives will make for an even better 12 months to come as we begin our next chapter. Our new manager, Pep Guardiola, is an important part of this next stage, just as Manuel Pellegrini was before him. Pep brings rich experience, a new level of tactical sophistication and intensity, with a passion and vision that will help move our Club forward with the energy and focus expected by our owners and all of the City family.
We start from a solid base, we have committed owners and partners, world-class coaches and players, superb facilities, highly talented employees, and the most passionate and enduring supporters.
Together, I believe that we are in a great position to continue making history at Manchester City.