Charlie Methven opens up on Sunderland wage bill, finances and transfer business - plus the £2.5million still being paid to players who have left

Charlie Methven has provided an insight into the club’s wage structure, transfer business and financial plans.

Saturday, 17th August 2019, 11:30 am
Charlie Methven and Stewart Donald.

The club’s executive director, writing in his programme notes, revealed the club’s wage bill is now £10million - and that the club is still paying a further £2.5million in payments to some high earners no longer at the club, as part of deals struck in order to help the club financially.

Methven doesn’t mention any names but the likes of Lee Cattermole, Bryan Oviedo and Donald Love all left this summer.

Methven said: “Last summer, the playing wage bill we inherited of circa £40million was ruinously high and had to be reduced.

“Not just to stem the losses but also to ensure that the club could comply with financial fair play regulations, as clubs are given one season after relegation from the EPL to get their house in order.

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“We managed to reduce that playing wage bill to circa £15million, still the largest in League One history but several steps in the right direction.

“This season that has been further reduced, to £10million per annum, or £12.5million if you include payments still being made to players who have left the club.

“At that level of playing budget, the club is financially stable, running at around a £3million a year operational loss - the last parachute payment is mostly allocated to the final historic transfer fees and legal matters - pre-player trading.

“Crucially, though, it means that we will also just about fit within either Championship FFP or League One’s Salary Cap Management Protocol, once our parachute payments cease next June.

“The SCMP dictates that you can only spend 60 per cent of your revenues on players’ wages and our projected revenues in League One are £19.5million.

“The ongoing squad playing wage budget of £10million per annum needs setting in some context. The average in League One is £3million and the top budgets are usually in the realm of £6million.

“On top of that, unlike the other clubs in the league, SAFC spends £2.5million per annum funding a Category 1 Academy, which also assists the first team squad.

“This is appropriate and sustainable for a club of Sunderland’s stature.”

Methven added that over the past 13 months, £5million has been spent on transfer fees since the club was bought from Ellis Short - more than last season’s three promoted teams spent between them.

Methven added: “This summer we also knocked back significant offers for players the management deemed vital to achieve promotion.

“It is very important to recognise that football matches, and indeed promotions, are not won on paper or by money alone. Once the whistle goes, it is 11 against 11.

“Opposition clubs have to be treated with the utmost respect by us all, whatever the financial wherewithal.

“However, it is the responsibility of every board to run their club in such a way that the appropriate level of support is provided to the football management in order to achieve their stated ambitions - in this case, automatic promotion from League One.

“We believe that has been achieved, whilst shepherding the club away from the black hole in which some of our competitors have been sucked, as Pompey once was.”