Manchester United have converted last year's £79.2m pre-tax loss into a £29.7m profit, reflecting onfield success and strong commercial growth, and reduced their debt levels.
The strong figures will strengthen the hand of the Glazer family ahead of a planned IPO share flotation in Singapore next month, but will also spark renewed criticism of the effects of their leveraged business model.
The results show revenues rose to a record £331.3m in the year ending June 2011, an increase of 16% on the previous year's £286.4m.
But with £51.2m in cash interest paid out over the year to service the borrowing loaded on to the club, almost half its record operating profit (before depreciation, amortisation and exceptional items) of £110.9m went on servicing debt.
The results also show a sharp rise in costs, up to £220.5m from £185.2m the previous year, and a 16.1% increase in staff costs. Those who have campaigned long and hard against the Glazers' ownership model, will point to the £51.7m paid in cash interest to service the bond debt as evidence that is still acting as a drag on the club's finances.
But Manchester United executives are likely to point to continued success on the field and strong growth in response. Last year's record losses were largely due to one-off charges relating to the £526m bond issue.
The rise in revenues and operating profit has been driven by a 27% increase in commercial revenues, largely as a result of a string of deals signed with overseas partners, to £103.4m. It does not include the recent £10m a year deal with DHL.
Media income also increased substantially, mainly as a result of the first year of the Premier League's new £3bn-plus TV deal, from £104.8m to £119.4m. And matchday income was also up 8.4% on last year, largely due to an extra home game and the club's take of the Champions League final gate money, to £108.6m.
Those representing the Glazers will highlight the fact that net debt stands at its lowest level since they bought the club in a £790m leveraged deal in 2005. With £150.6m cash in the bank, and £63.8m of debt repurchased during the year, the net debt stood at £308.3m at the end of June.
Upward pressure on wages, in part due to Wayne Rooney's new £180,000-a-week deal and bonuses paid to players, has seen staff costs rise by 16%. However, since the accounts were filed high earners including Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown and John O'Shea have been moved off the wage bill.
The wages-to-turnover ratio is still extremely healthy compared to the club's rivals, in particular Manchester City and Chelsea. Executives believe Manchester United will have no problem complying with Uefa's new financial fair play restrictions.
Ahead of a planned mid-October IPO in Singapore to float a minority stake in the club, the club will point to the results as evidence of its health and growth. But campaign groups will concentrate on the interest payments required to service the club's debt.
Sources close to the float have promised that the proceeds will be used to pay down debt and boost commercial operations in Asia. That has prompting fans' groups such as the Manchester United Supporters Trust to begin campaigning for the club's debts to be paid off in full and for the money not to be diverted to the Glazers to repay their refinanced payment in kind debt, which has now been moved off the balance sheet of the club's holding company.