Brighton director joins £1m club as Seagulls reveal price of success

By David Owen

December 27 – Brighton and Hove Albion, the south-coast club making a decent fist of its return to the English top flight after 34 years, has spelt out the cost of last season’s promotion charge.

The club’s pre-tax loss of £38.9 million comfortably outstripped turnover. This rose to £29.2 million for the year to end-June 2017, with revenue from ticketing, which exceeded £10 million, and Football League and central distributions each making markedly improved contributions.

Promotion is expected to provide an approximately £100 million top-line boost over the current season, so there seems every prospect that the club’s Premier League adventure will be a profitable one, notwithstanding significantly increased costs.

The club, popularly known as the Seagulls, quantified 2016-17 promotion costs at £9.1 million – a figure said to incorporate bonuses for all staff, including players, the end-of-year parade and other celebrations.

These bonuses were partly responsible for a 43% hike – from £28.2 million to £40.4 million – in overall staff costs.

Within this, directors’ emoluments leapt 87% to £1.61 million. The bulk of this – £1.21 million – went to the highest-paid director, whose remuneration, including benefits related to promotion, personal performance and long-term loyalty, soared by 109%.

The club noted that planning permission had been submitted for a housing and retail development on a site adjoining its training ground. It is “hopeful of a positive outcome” in 2018. The land is recorded in the accounts at cost of £15.7 million.

The club remains heavily reliant on chairman and controlling shareholder Tony Bloom. At June 30, the amount owed to him by the group was put at £190.7 million, some £20 million more than the previous year. A bank overdraft of £16.4 million, up from zero, was also recorded. The loans to Bloom are interest-free, unsecured and repayable on demand.

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