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David McCourt’s Midweek Sports Roundup

United’s confusing finances and the Manchester basketball boom

Written by . Published on July 19th 2012.

David McCourt’s Midweek Sports Roundup

MANCHESTER United are the world’s most valuable sports club, according to American business magazine Forbes.

United is rated the most valuable club, at $2.23bn (£1.43bn), thanks largely to global sponsorship deals with AIG, Turkish Airlines, and DHL.

“Team GB has enjoyed a successfully build up to the games, including a victory over the eighth highest ranked side in the world.”

Second on the list is Real Madrid ($1.88bn), and joint third are the New York Yankees baseball franchise and American Football’s Dallas Cowboys ($1.85bn).

Manchester United’s current finances are one of football’s great enigmas.

Just last week it was being reported the Glazers decision to float the club on the New York Stock exchange (with out of date accounts) was to cover up huge loses as well as raising $100m to service loan repayments.

Now, this week, we’re hearing that United is the most valuable sports club in the world.

How much last season’s premature Champions League exit has hurt United, financially, is still a mystery.

Meanwhile, European failure doesn’t seem to have affected Sir Alex Ferguson’s ambitions, and he insists reclaiming the premier league title from rivals City is his “number one priority.”

He said: "We have to recover, as we've done many times. That's our target this year. Priority number one is to win the title back.”

The 70-year-old also announced that Nemanja Vidic will be fit for the start of the season, a big plus for United, as will Chris Smalling, not quite as big a plus for United.

In rugby league, Sale Sharks winger Mark Cueto has admitted his England career is over.

However, the 32-year-old, who has not played for England since their World Cup exit to France last October, said he would never rule himself out of playing for his country.

Cueto told BBC Radio Manchester: "I'm still available but I understand the situation, I'm slipping out gracefully. You always hold a little light but you've got to be realistic. I know I'm not going to play for England again."

Mark-Cueto_1946223CSale Sharks' Mark Cueto playing for England

Cueto made his debut in 2004 and has clocked up 55 caps during his England career, but following the disappointments at World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, new coach Stuart Lancaster has opted for youth over experience.

In cricket, Lancashire bowler Stephen Parry believes the CB40 competition provides their best opportunity for winning a trophy this season.

Parry took 4-21 as Lancashire claimed a seven-wicket win over Middlesex at Old Trafford on Monday to move second in their group, and the spinner told BBC Radio Lancashire that the tournament has become the focus.

He said: "The T20 has gone so this is probably our clearest route to winning something."

New basketball franchise, Manchester Giants, have received their fixture list for the upcoming British Basketball League season – The Giants will be at home to Milton Keynes Lions on 21 September.

Manchester has been without a BBL side since the Giants collapsed in 2001 after struggling with the costs of playing at the MEN Arena. They will now play at the Wright Robinson Sports Complex in the east of the city.

All 13 teams will face each other three times during the regular season, with the top eight qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs in April.

Manchester could be on the brink of a basketball boom, and if Stockport’s Julie Page can bring gold back to the city with Team GB at London 2012, it would only boost the American sport’s popularity.

This is the first year Great Britain has entered a side in the Olympics, and Page and her teammates face tough competition after being drawn alongside Australia, Canada, Russia, France and Brazil in the group stages.

JuliepageStockport's Julie Page will represent Team GB this summer

However, Team GB has enjoyed a successfully build up to the games, including a victory over the eighth highest ranked side in the world, France.

Page and co. play their final warm-up match against the United States in Manchester today, before beginning their Olympic campaign against Australia on 28 July.

You can follow David on Twitter @DavidPMcCourt

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