The Guardian yesterday published an interesting piece by their football finance expert David Conn that gave a summary of each Premier League clubs accounts plus a brief bit of commentary headlined the â€˜State theyâ€™re inâ€™ (Liverpool â€œAppallingâ€, Man Utd â€“ â€œScandalousâ€).Â As is the nature of these things, the figures used in the article are slightly behind the times in that â€˜all details are from the most recently filed official information at Companies Houseâ€™ which apart from the odd exception is to the end of May or June 2009 so doesnâ€™t include last season at all.
Concentrating on Spurs, Conn hedges his bets giving us neither a thumbs up or down. We are â€˜apparently thrivingâ€™ but then there are lots of qualifiers as to what our real state might be as opposed to our perceived one. He makes the point that how we have financed Redknappâ€™s spending or intend to fund the new stadium has yet to be revealed. Presumably the 09/10 accounts will show all. Or at least a bit more anyway.
Conn puts our level of debt at Â£80m, which surprised me for one. Thereâ€™s no explicit statement as to who we owe the money to, just a general â€˜Debts are borrowings from banks, financial institutions, owners or other sourcesâ€™. Given this itâ€™s probably correct to assume that the main creditor is ENIC. Last yearâ€™s equivalent report showed our debt as Â£65m, so a substantial increase. Still debt isnâ€™t everything. Arsenal are reported as owing Â£104m but can â€˜claim the rudest financial health in the Premier Leagueâ€™. Presumably this is because they show obvious signs of how they intend to pay off the money. The large home attendances at the new Library helped them to declare the highest ever turnover by an English club. Contrast their Â£316m to Burnleyâ€™s Â£11m (though the latter was whilst in their promotion season in the Championship) and then try and string together a sentence involving the words â€˜levelâ€™ and â€˜playing fieldâ€™. (Our turnover was Â£113m, down from Â£115m last time out.)
Conn makes the point that whatever the funding policy at Spurs is, it seems to be working as itâ€™s got us to fourth place and a place in the Moneybags league which will increase our earnings next season and thatâ€™s even without the new TV deals kicking in. We paid 53% of our turnover in wages (which though large, was third lowest) and made the second highest amount of profit with Â£33m. Only six clubs recorded a profit. Our wage bill was Â£60m, lower than West Ham at Â£67m and Aston Villa with Â£71m. Chelseaâ€™s was Â£167m. Blimey!
So all in all (and bear in mind that Iâ€™m no accountant), if one assumes that the â€˜mysteriousâ€™ unrevealed funding is above board (and thatâ€™s a fairly dangerous thing to do in football these days), our finances look in good shape and with a run in Champs League to hopefully come, will only get better in the short term at least. How the new stadium is financed is obviously crucial.
The full article is available on The Guardianâ€™s website, www.guardian.co.uk
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