High-flying Bees make Premier League honey with record near-£30m profit

By David Owen

March 29 – Brentford, the West London club currently two places above big-spending local rivals Chelsea in the Premier League table, have published accounts for their transformational 2021-22 financial year.

Playing in the top flight of English football for the first time in 74 years, the club known as the Bees boosted turnover nine-fold, from £15.3 million to £140.9 million. As a result, its normal ‘sell-as-you-go’ business model was able to be “put on hold”.

The gain on player sales – which had reached a hefty £44.3 million in the 2020-21 season, with the club bidding farewell to stars such as striker Ollie Watkins – was trimmed to just £4.6 million. In cash terms, player trading produced a more than £20 million outflow, with £21.6 million in receipts from player sales easily outstripped by £42.4 million shelled out for newcomers. This was also in contrast to the prior season, which brought a £7.3 million cash inflow.

In spite of this and an inevitable jump in wage costs, from £41.4 million to £68.2 million, still low by Premier League standards, the enormous boost to broadcasting revenues ensured a healthy profit. This amounted to £29.9 million at the pre-tax level, versus an £8.5 million loss for the club’s promotion season.

Controlling party Matthew Benham’s total investment was little changed at £104.4 million. A £4.9 million loan from FC Midtjylland, the Danish club in which Benham is majority shareholder, was, moreover, repaid.

Cliff Crown, chair, warned that it would be “difficult to repeat” the year’s financial performance in a “deteriorating economic environment in which higher salary and overhead costs remain essential to our retaining Premier League status”.

He underlined that the club had been “determined to be an asset to the Premier League” and “did not…want to be there just to make up the numbers”. He was “proud” of the way fans, staff and players “responded and applied themselves to the challenge”.

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