Years of chronic underperformance have not taken too much of a financial toll in Old Trafford, but that could change if more collapse follows.

The present condition of the club’s accounts implies that a catastrophe could quickly follow if they can not meet patrons’ contractual requirements and performance expectations.

Some patrons are finding out that, in the lack of silverware, there’s little to be gained by a mid-table slog and involvement at the Europa League. The club creates huge revenues, but because of the nature of the company, it squeezes out a small profit. The majority of the income services salary, transfers, and debt. There’s just a little safety net.

For the Glazer ownership, the inherent value of this club is that it’s a trophy asset. In the coming months, it might turn into an atrophy asset. United languish out the Champions League places and, while Chelsea cling to the top four, Solskjaer has been not able to mount a serious bout of pressure upon them.

Missing out on eligibility will see the club take a second $26 million hit from clauses in their Adidas deal. But, there are additional contracts worth hundreds of millions that will come up for renewal in the coming years and there are more glamorous, more successful groups who would happily take them out of United.

Three months ago, accountancy firm Deloitte published its annual Football Money League, and decided which should concern United’s fans, players and owners. As a consequence of dropping Champions League football for a second consecutive season, there’ll be a decrease in forecasted revenue to approximately $731-758m, which is down from last year’s $819m.

Ultimately, it might be financing that spurs United into a corrective plan of action. The club includes a $261m overdraft due in 2025, a bond of about half a billion dollars due in 2027 and a few hundred thousand dollars due in 2029. For now, that could be easily serviced and refinanced if earnings simply stay static. Lenders may press United for greater interest rates or request a lower level of wages in proportion to earnings. Both of them would worsen United’s performance on the pitch.

Ed Woodward’s financial success came from making sponsorship deals across the world, to increase local and worldwide exposure in return for millions. Without it, there could have been no way to cover dividends to the Glazer family, repay the interest and principal on the takeover debt, and also to fund the terrific transfer splurges that have United nowhere.

Unless large salaries for players and move spending are significantly reduced, profit is going to be wiped out and the capacity to service debt will be made much harder. If United can’t offer you, new players, higher wages, they will then need to rely on their now non-existent transfer experience.

Bruno Fernandes might not be exactly the perfect player for United, but he reveals business, fire and attacking threat. The dreadful return on investment from a mismanaged player and the desperate pursuit to haggle over his possible replacement, embody the disorganised recruitment strategy at United – the very thing they spend the majority of their free money on.

Profligate at one turn and parsimonious the second – the vital thing for the Glazers’ ownership of United is that they have never embraced the notion of value. The less they spend, the more expensive it will cost if they deign to repair it. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about for United fans – if revenue does plummet, then the only alternatives for the Glazers is to strip back even farther.

Because of executive vice-chairman Woodward’s approach to transports because of the appointment of Louis van Gaal, issues with the price of the playing team have been rolled over until today when they threaten any boss who takes over from Solskjaer.

Marcos Rojo is on more than that today, yet he’s playing on loan for Estudiantes . United are shelling out more than that $260,000 per week to enjoy watching Alexis Sanchez majority out the squad for Inter.

Add to that players whose performances haven’t justified their huge contracts, such as Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw, and it will become evident that United have been squandering money hand over fist on wages.

Statistically, the highest paid group will be the best acting. It’s a testament to the player, executive, and manager which they’re demonstrating the most pronounced age of underperformance in the history of the Premier League, and the true cost and effect of the are still to be felt.