Brighton swoop back into the red as staff costs jump

By David Owen

December 5 – Brighton and Hove Albion, the south coast club winning plaudits for their adventurous style under new head coach Graham Potter, slipped back into loss in their second season in the Premier League. 

The club, known as the Seagulls, posted a pre-tax loss of £22 million for the year to end-June 2019, against a profit of £12.1 million the previous season.

With turnover little changed at £143.4 million, the result chiefly reflected a near £40 million jump in operating expenses, from £129.7 million to £168 million, offset to a small extent by an improved profit on player trading.

Departures during the period included Sam Baldock and Oliver Norwood. The cash flow statement includes £4.6 million from the sale of intangible assets (players). This compared with an entry of £76.5 million for the purchase of intangible fixed assets. Signings in 2018-19 included Iranian international Alireza Jahanbakhsh and centre-back Dan Burn.

Staff costs jumped more than 30% from £77.6 million to £101.6 million. Remuneration for the highest-paid director rose from £1.4 million to £1.5 million.

The accounts again make clear the extent of the club’s dependence on chairman Tony Bloom. As at the June 30 year-end, the amount owed to Bloom had risen by a further £49 million to £271.7 million. These loans are interest-free, unsecured and repayable on demand.

The accounts note that, subsequent to the year-end, capital commitments with a value of £22.2 million were entered into.

Bloom’s statement said the club had made a “significant investment off the pitch, with work beginning on a £25 million training ground improvement”.

The club said that included in stock was “land for development at New Monks Farm adjoining our training ground”. This was “recorded in the accounts at a cost of £17.6 million”. After gaining planning permission at this site for housing and retail development, construction work was “commencing in 2019”.

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