So where has the money gone?
Couch Potato leans back, stretches out, and reacts to the Chairman's Official Statement in the third of his mini-series of articles regarding the club's finances.
It's an interesting feeling to have taken on the role of doing a mini-series of articles on here about Burnley FC's finances, only to have the Chairman join in, albeit on the official site!
Well, at least I can put my feet up now, and do what a Couch Potato does best... make sure my ClaretsPlayer sub is paid up, do a dummy run to see if I can remember my password, and lie back ready for Phil Bird and his pals 20 minutes before kick off. Unless we've sold Phil along with all the rest of them? I've not got enough fingers...
But I started this mini-series, so I'll finish. Anyone who can remember as far back as the first article will recall that I don't pretend to know all the answers, but am just trying to see what information we can gather together in one place, if we have VitalBurnley articles dedicated to specific financal topics, rather than just make passing comments on issues as they arise in debates about the latest link, the new loan, and now even a signing!
Thus far we've established what the income has been year-by-year since we started the road to Wembley with - what was it? - a 4-2 loss to Brian Laws and a parachutist stuck on the Cricket Field Stand Roof.
We've also looked at various questions around directors' loans... On this Barry Kilby has now stated that the club had 'wiped the slate clean' coming into the relegation year. Which was intersting to me, because someone with a Burnley shirt on Torquay station after the 3-1 in the south coast sunshine claimed that BFC still owed Barry a million. Which just goes to show that if you want to know what's going on, it's probably not worth whatever it is for a return train ticket from wherever you are to ask TorquayStationClaret.
What else did ChairmanClaret tell us that was new? Well, it depends on where you're starting from. But if you've read CrosspoolClaret's (aka whatever he's called in real life) article in WTBM from about January this year, you'll have learned that, after the £11million loss in the promo year, and the £14million profit in the PL, which we already knew about, we're now expecting a £4million loss from our sadly failed attempt to bounce back first time.
You'll also have learned that in our player trading over those three years we've lost £6-7million. (Would the noisy cynic at the back please shut up about us knowing exactly how much if we hadn't lost it!) And no, I don't know whether that includes the alleged £1million we got for *oyley (and the gang) who was of course still registered as a player, and might still be for all we care. Nor do we know whether the alleged £1million we had to pay Brian to leave early is included in the reckoning.
ChairmanClaret has of course reminded us that we can read all about it in the accounts. Those for the promotion and relegation years are available from Companies House (and possibly also the club?). Those from last year will be available after the AGM, which is usually in December. Of course, official accounts don't go into all that much detail, but they will show one thing very, very clearly...
The lion's share of 'the money' went on players. First there was buying players to get us promoted. The payroll that year was more than we could afford, and would have been the major reason for the £11million loss, together with having to pay promotion bonuses. Then there was buying players after we got promoted. And buying players in what must have been our toughest transfer window ever. And paying them PL wages. And buying players since then and paying them the sort of wages you can afford when you're dangling by a parachute before they cut the strings... at a rate that put us in the top quarter of the payroll league table in the Championship last year.
ChairmanClaret's statement has confirmed that our players won't be keeping the club in that part of the payroll league table any longer. But they will still be costing us at least 60% of our income, even though it is still inflated by the two remaining £8million parachutes this year and next.
QUIZ: Can you list on here all the players bought by Coyle, Laws and Howe? And all the players sold by them before the start of this year? Can you add numbers to that? Remember, the answer is minus £6million (or minus £7million)!
While you're busy on that, I'll try to make a list here of everything else we've spent money on, beyond just keeping the ship afloat, since wonderful Wembley...
1. We had to do stuff to the ground to keep SKY happy, like make sure that all journalists had their own screens to watch instant replays in case they missed the action first time. (I hasten to add that this courtesy was not extended to Vital Burnley's team! Why was that turfman?)
2. We did some other stuff to the premises, like giving the Turf a nice going over in claret and blue, and replacing the communal bath!
3. We spent a million on improving the playing surface. Lovely jubbly!
4. We've improved things down at Gawthorpe, like put in showers, which I know some people may think means we've gone soft, but this is the 21st Century!
5. Then there was the cost of ChairmanClaret's PL Pledge, not only giving back the money to season ticket holders from the previous year who wanted it back, but all of the admin in contacting both them and the ones who kindly said keep the cash and send me shares. (I applaud them, without feeling grumpy about the ones who took the windfall, and sadly live too far away to make a season ticket a sensible option for me at the moment.)
6. Yes, some money went back to directors, all of which was covered in the previous article.
7. Does anyone know, when you buy a player for '£1million' whether that includes VAT (if applicable), and agents' fees, and lawyers' fees? Or are they extra? When was it VAT went up from 17.5% to 20%? When did NI contributions go up? All since that 4-2 loss to Laws.
8. Meantime, we've 'tripled' our scouting network, Chairman Claret has advised this week, which together with the improved faciltiies at Gawthorpe will hopefully mean more young players coming through, on top of those who had a more than useful run out against Sunderland, especially now we're not limited to only being able to sign on those who don't mind not being able to take a shower... though Chairman Claret has reminded us that, while our plan is youth, it isn't cheap, because many are signed on, but only the lucky few go on to do a job after graduating. (Just like Britain under the Coalition? Please fogive my deviation into politics.)
9. What other costs have I forgotten?
While I am trying to remember when was the last time our club captain had come through the ranks (which I have forgotten), please fill in my probably glaring gaps and correct my appalling errorrs by posting comments in the box below and pressing submit. Here we go!
And do please let me know what you think of this article, if you're still bothered now the football's started!
THE END (but not yet closure) Couch Potato