Brighton and Hove Albion notch up £25m loss as price of push for place in Premiership
Brighton and Hove Albion notched up a loss of £25 million last season as the price of the club’s push for a place in the Premiership.
The money went mainly on strengthening the playing squad in pursuit of top flight football, according to Albion.
The club said: “Brighton and Hove Albion have lodged their accounts for the 2015-16 season with the Football League.
“The figures show a significant increase in overall operating losses – underlining chairman Tony Bloom’s ongoing commitment to the club and in particular the ambition to reach the Premier League.
“The accounts show an overall loss of £25.8 million, compared with £10.4 million in the previous season.
“The increase in losses relates largely to investment in the playing squad during the 2015-16 season.
“The accounts also show that the club has complied with Football League’s Financial Fair Play Rules for the period.
“Clubs voted to increase the level of permitted losses to £13 million, effective from the start of 2015-16. Based on the operating loss adjusted for depreciation and allowable expenditure – such as our investment in our category 1 academy – Albion will once again comply.
“The accounts show an increase in turnover of 4 per cent and increase in administration and operational costs of 4 per cent – but overall profit before football costs and depreciation shows an increase of 4 per cent.
“There is a loss on player trading compared to profit in the previous year, with an £8.9 million swing, while football costs increased by 29 per cent to £30.6 million.
“The club has distributed a full set of accounts to all shareholders – including an annual statement from chairman Tony Bloom – and has once again taken the step of making the annual accounts publicly available to all supporters.”
The chairman’s statement said: “The 2015-16 season was one of the most memorable and exciting in my 40 years as a Brighton and Hove Albion supporter.
“The team, under Chris Hughton’s astute leadership, gave us a season to savour – and although we twice missed out on taking that final step to the Premier League, it has laid the foundation for our current season.
“To compete at the top end of the Championship it’s important to have a manager who knows how to win at this level and to possess a strong group of quality players.
“We have both and while this does not guarantee promotion, it gives us an excellent chance.
“Our increased losses result directly from an ongoing and growing investment in our playing squad and Chris, Paul Winstanley, Paul Barber and I are very pleased with the squad.
“Furthermore, on the back of last season, we wanted to retain our key players and our decision not to cash in key assets has seen player trading go from a profit to a loss compared with the previous season, when we sold Leo Ulloa and Will Buckley.
“Progress – Every year I have pointed out that ambitions are rarely realised overnight. The club has made steady and continued progress and in particular I have been delighted with our player trading in the past three windows, two of which are reflected in these accounts (summer 2015 and January 2016).
“We have had another very good start to the current campaign and hope that we can make that final step this season –although we all know just how competitive and tough the Championship is year after year.
“This year we have the added competition of the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Norwich City competing for one of those two automatic promotion places.
“I would like to thank the board of directors, the majority of whom give their time and expertise to the club without charge.
“I would also like to thank Chris, his staff and all the playing squad and wish them every success for the remainder of the season.
“The work undertaken by our staff off the pitch – in maintaining the operating profits of the business and ensuring we remain operationally efficient – allowed us to achieve the majority of our off-the-pitch targets. With this in mind I would like to thank our staff for their ongoing hard work.
“Community and supporters – The local community will always be an important part of our focus, both for the club and its charitable arm Albion in the Community, and that involvement continues to affect the lives of many local people in such a positive and inspiring way.
“We have always played a significant role in the local community and we recognise the responsibility we have to both our supporters and many others via Albion in the Community.
“We also recognise the importance of our fans and they remain the lifeblood of the Albion. Interacting and hearing their concerns will always be an important part of our identity.
“Recently we opened up the debate on safe standing, which has generated a lot of interest, and as a club we remain open-minded to a change in this area should the government make a change in legislation.
“While I am chairman of the club we will always remain open to feedback and constructive criticism from our supporters and we will continue to engage with our fans via all forms of communication and strive to continually improve all that we do.
“The future – I make no apology for repeating what I said in last season’s ‘chairman’s statement’. Our ambition remains for the club’s teams, both men and women, to play at the highest level possible.
“As chairman (and a lifelong supporter of the club) I will do everything I possibly can to achieve that and I remain fully committed to that goal.
“We are keen to ensure all investments and player transactions are made with the club’s long-term future, as well as short-term objectives, in mind.
“With permitted Financial Fair Play losses of £13 million per year over a three-year period, any Championship club without parachute payments wishing to compete for promotion will inevitably make significant losses, so it remains a delicate balancing act for the board as we strive to achieve our ultimate aim.”
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