When was the last time Man United missed out on Europe? The Red Devils are fighting for the Champions League and Europa League places

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As Manchester United battle for survival atop the Premier League table, the club may cross the finish line and jeopardize their chances of securing a European spot next season.

An incredibly tough fixture list to finish the season along with a host of injuries and squad disruptions mean the Red Devils are sweating the end of the campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo is sidelined as he mourns the death of his newborn son, while Raphael Varane, Scott McTominay, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw are all injured and unable to take the pitch. That leaves the squad dangerously thin, especially up front, as a brutal run of games begins to bring the campaign to a close.

So will Manchester United completely miss out on Europe? While the Red Devils appear to be in pole position, all is not well at Old Trafford as the end of the season draws near.

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When did Man United last miss the European game?

Manchester United have been a fixture in European competitions for much of modern footballing history, particularly since Sir Alex Ferguson took over in 1986.

United have missed European play by sporting means only once since then, as the European ban on English teams due to the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 also saw United miss out on competition in Europe.

A 24-year run of consecutive European seasons came to an end in 2014-15, following a seventh-place finish in the Premier League in Ferguson’s first year of retirement. Before that, the last non-Heysel era miss for Manchester United was in 1981-82.

Man United seasons without European play since 1980

Season End of previous league Previous European Competition
2014-15 7th Champions League (QF)
1989-90* 11th
1988-89* 2nd
1987-88* 11th
1986-87* 4th
1985-86* 4th UEFA Cup (QF)
1981-82 8th UEFA Cup (R1)

*English clubs banned from UEFA competitions

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Could Man United miss the European game next year?

Although Manchester United look likely to secure some sort of European game next year, there’s always a chance the club could miss out.

The remaining schedule is extremely difficult for Manchester United, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to contend for, as well as clashes with in-form Christian Eriksen and Brentford, as well as a Crystal Palace side who have been playing well with top teams of late. .

Man United matches remaining

Date Match Time (ET)
Tue 19 Apr Liverpool v Manchester United 15:00
Sat 23 Apr Arsenal v Manchester United 7:30 a.m.
Thu 28 Apr Manchester United v Chelsea 2:45 p.m.
Mon 2 May Man United v Brentford 15:00
Sat. 7 May Brighton v Man United 12:30 p.m.
Sun 22 May Crystal Palace v Manchester United 11:00

Battle for a place in the Champions League

With the Premier League’s top four guaranteed a Champions League place, Manchester United are in no good position to finish among a qualifying position.

With a three-point deficit behind fourth-placed Tottenham, level with Arsenal on points and holding two games in hand, United are unlikely to find a way into the top four. According to FiveThirtyEight’s According to Premier League prediction stats, they only have a 4 per cent chance of securing a top-four finish.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are leading the battle with a 64 per cent chance of securing a Champions League place, while injured Arsenal are at 32 per cent. Manchester United have a lot of work to do in this regard and will also need a lot of luck.

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Battle for a place in the Europa League or Europa Conference League

This is where Manchester United are much more likely to end.

Because Liverpool and Chelsea – two teams that will almost surely finish in the top four – remain in the FA Cup, that leaves two Europa League spots up for grabs in the Premier League table, with positions five and six. Meanwhile, seventh is almost certainly a Europa League position given that Liverpool have won the EFL Cup and will most likely qualify for the Champions League via table position.

Therefore, despite the rocky start to the season, Manchester United would have to suffer a disastrous end to the campaign for the Red Devils to miss out on Europe altogether.

Wolves, in very poor form, are five points behind the Red Devils and represent the first team out of European places. Further down in ninth place, Leicester City sit nine points behind Wolves and pose no threat. Therefore, Man United leads the hunt among the four teams battling for three positions.

Premier League standings

Place Team PLS generalist GD next game
3.* chelsea 62 30 +41 vs. ARS, April 20
4.* Tottenham 57 32 +18 @ BRE, 23 Apr.
5.** united man 54 32 +8 @ LIV, 19 Apr.
6.** Arsenal 54 31 +8 @ CHE, 20 Apr.
7.*** West Ham 52 33 +9 @ CHE, 24 Apr.
8. wolves 49 32 +5 @ BUR, 24 Apr.
9. Leicester city 40 30 -4 @EVE, April 20
ten. Brighton 40 32 -8 @ MCI, 20 Apr.

* Guaranteed place in the Champions League
** Guaranteed place in the Europa League
*** Guaranteed place in the Europa Conference League

How much would it cost Man United to miss out on Europe?

It’s hard to calculate, but there are ways to find out what payments Manchester United would miss out on by not taking part in European competition.

First, there are the Premier League merit payments to each team for their final table. For finishing first, Manchester City collected $50.3 million in merit awards. Meanwhile, fifth-placed Leicester City earned $39.7m, while seventh-placed Tottenham reaped $35.7m and eighth-placed Arsenal – the first team out of a European berth – recovered $31.7 million.

That’s a whopping $18.6 million difference between the top club and the eighth-placed team.

Then there are merit payments for Champions League teams. All clubs in the Champions League group stage, regardless of finish, receive $17.74m, plus an additional $3.17m per group stage win and $1.05m per draw in the group stage. Reaching the Knockout Round nets $10.89 million, and these prize amounts continue to increase as the Knockout Stage progresses.

The Europa League prize money is lesser, but still significant. Qualifying in the group stage nets a team $4.11 million and earns in the group stage nearly $714,000 per win. Qualifying for the knockout round nets a team an additional $1-2 million (depending on group stage finish) and again, the money continues to grow as the team progresses .

Finally, there are intangible amounts that Manchester United would also miss. The lack of exposure on a global scale can add up financially over the years, as Arsenal have discovered over the past decade as well as Liverpool before Jurgen Klopp’s arrival. This can result in lost kit deal and other sponsorship revenue, as well as lower kit sales.

Manchester United will want to secure their place in European competition for the short-term enjoyment of fans as well as the long-term health of the club.


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