It’s probably not escaped many of you by now but yesterday United revealed their latest set of audited accounts, and they make for pleasant reading.
The headline figure is that we made a small profit of £1.4 million, but it’s what has been done to get to that figure that is so impressive.
I know finances and football fans sometimes don’t mix but I like my numbers if I’m being honest. Of course some people will say that all that matters is what happens on the pitch, which is fair enough, but these days it must be realised that what happens in the boring world of accounts actually has an impact on what we see on the pitch, so with that in mind I’ll take a look and see how we are shaping up financially.
It’s important to consider the time period for which these accounts are, erm, accountable for. They essentially refer to the year end of June 2012 which basically means that they are figures from last season when we signed the likes of Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and Davide Santon. They don’t include our recent January purchases and it’s pretty standard for accounts to be so out of date by the time we get to find out about them.
Profit is actually down from the previous set of accounts (ending June 2011) where we made a profit of £32.6 million, which was boosted by the £35m sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool. Look through the detail and we’ve turned what is basically a small loss of £2.4m into a small profit of £1.4m.
Turnover has increased to £93.3m (up 5.4% on the previous year) which will put us back into the top-20 clubs in the world in terms of revenue generation and means that we’ll have a detailed breakdown of all things when Deloitte release their football rich list. The main reason for the increase in turnover was a 14.6% increase in TV money brought about by a 5th placed finish last term and the increased merit payments dished out by broadcasters for such a high finish.
However it isn’t all a story of increases. Income from ticket sales has dropped by 7% due to initiatives such as the season ticket price freeze and other offers like packaged ticket deals where you buy a number of games for a discounted price. Attendances are up on the previous season (2010-2011) but tickets are cheaper.
Another area which has dropped is income from commercial revenue which fell by 12.7%. However this does not include the new deal with Wonga which will kick in next season along with another deal, that has yet to be announced but will be “the biggest in our history” according to Derek Llambias so that figure will improve dramatically.
One of the long-standing issues is the debt we owe Mike Ashley. Granted it’s an interest-free loan but it’s stayed the same for ages and increased during our Championship season. From this set of accounts we paid back £11m which now means our outstanding debt to Ashley now stands at roughly £123m, so still high but decreasing.
Derek Llambias has already said that there is cash to spend in the summer, and I’m not surprised. We’re going to see a large increase in TV revenue due to the new broadcasting rights distribution, plus we have the new Wonga deal AND that historically high deal that we don’t know about yet.
All in all it’s good news. All the players we sign these days have their transfer fees paid up front so we signed the players mentioned earlier on, which in turn increased our wage bill by 20% (to £64.1m or a 68.7% wages-to-turnover ratio) and have managed to pay some of the money owed to Ashley back. Without us paying that back the finances would have been healthier but I get the feeling that was “spare” cash and was just paid back because everything was accounted for and the surplus balance wasn’t going to be used for anything.
Everything is heading in the right direction in terms of the finances of the club, and we seem to be getting towards having a competitive squad with good players in it on the pitch. Mistakes have been made and the club have admitted that they made a balls up by not investing in the summer but hopefully lessons have been learned and we can continue to improve, both on and off the pitch. If we can there is potential in this club that could finally start to be realised!
Well done to all at Newcastle United!