THE independent Manchester United supporters' trust (MUST) has called on the club to reduce ticket prices after it announced record pre tax profits of more than £59 million this morning.

Gross turnover - including sales from Nike merchandise and its satellite channel, MUTV - has increased by 21 per cent from last year to £245m.

The financial results confirm the Premier League champions leading position in world football, with only Real Madrid recording higher profits.

Manchester United chief executive David Gill said: "This is a remarkable, record set of results. The expansion of Old Trafford, allied with the ability of Sir Alex Ferguson's team to continue to attract full houses at every game, and the increase in media and sponsorship revenues have all combined with team success to produce a substantial financial improvement.

He added: "I am confident that the uplift in the Premier League television deal, together with our new sponsorship sales structure will enable the club to continue to increase its revenues and profitability to provide support to the team's quest for further on-field success."

"If prices go up next season, thousands more traditional supporters will be on the edge of being 'priced out'."

Sean Bones But MUST spokesman Sean Bones says the announcement is "bad news" for supporters.

advertisement He explained: "It's time for the Glazers to consider the many thousands of Manchester United season ticket holders who were priced out and unable afford their season tickets this season, some of whom had supported the club for over forty years.

"MUST is calling for a ticket price reduction so that the growing exodus of fans from Old Trafford is stemmed, with the resultant reduction in atmosphere currently being experienced."

He added: "The Glazers also compounded supporters' hardship byimplementing the hugely unpopular compulsory automatic cup scheme (ACS) which takes the potential cost of a season ticket to over £1000 for many.

"MUST is also calling for the ACS to be returned to its voluntary status.

"If prices go up next season, thousands more traditional supporters will be on the edge of being 'priced out' of following the club at Old Trafford."