SUNDERLAND Football Club lost almost £30m last year.
It underlines how reliant the Black Cats are on the Premier League’s TV cash and the generosity of owner Ellis Short – and underline chairman Niall Quinn’s concerns about numbers through the turnstiles.
The club’s heavy lay-out on players saw the Black Cats record a loss before tax of £27.9million to the year ended July 2010.
And the annual report shows losses at the club rose by £1.4million on the previous year – despite the club’s turnover increasing.
Gate receipts fell from £13.88million in 2009 to £12.6million during the reporting period, but total turnover was up from £64.6million to £65.4million on the back of an increase in television and media payments of almost £4million.
Owner Ellis Short converted a £19million loan into shares in the club and has since injected further interest free-loans of £22.4million and £6million.
Investment in the playing squad remains the biggest drain on the coffers with the report saying: “The directors consider the major risk of the business to be a significant period of absence from the FA Premier League. Ongoing investment in the playing squad aims to reduce this risk.”
Gross transfer fees of £28million, excluding wages, were spent during the summer, although the £13million swoop for striker Asamoah Gyan and sales of Kenwyne Jones to Stoke, Marton Fulop to Ipswich or Martyn Waghorn to Leicester are not included.
The report excludes the £24million sale of darren Bent to Aston Villa, the purchase of Stephane Sessegnon from Paris St Germain for £6million or loan signing Sulley Muntari in January transfer window.
Wages accounted for £46.63million, a rise of £2.5million on the previous year, while the club’s directors were paid a total of £1.12million, a fall of £821,000.
The highest-paid director, not named in the report, collected £325,678, down from £888,142.
Sponsorship and royalties droppped from £8.1million to £7.8million. Income from conference and banqueting was down by almost £1million to £3.8million, reflecting the fact the Stadium of Light hosted just one concert – Pink – last summer, compared to three the year before.
Sunderland AFC chief executive Steve Walton said: “We are facing challenging economic times, both nationally and regionally, however our financial results do continue to reflect a continued period of growth and development for the club.
“There has been significant investment made to improve our playing squad and we are now starting to see the benefits fo that investment. The continuing support of our owner also puts the club in a secure position, giving us a positive platform to continue to build on.”