“WE’VE sown the seeds for the future” is the defiant message from Clarets chairman Barry Kilby who wants youth to be the watchword of the club from now on.
Speaking to the Burnley Express on the eve of Burnley Football Club’s annual general meeting, the chairman also said there was nothing hidden in the club’s recently-published accounts.
They show that the club made a £4m. loss this year, not good but in no way catastrophic, at a time when football, like any other industry in the world at the moment, must adapt to a more austere way of operating.
“Youth has to be the future of this club now. We are going through a transitional process whereby our manager Eddie Howe is lowering the age of the squad and looking to bring in young players.
“We like to plan three years ahead. The players we bring in have to be appreciating assets. Player trading is an important source of income and always has been for Burnley.
“It is incredible how much the gap between the rich and poor clubs has grown over the last 40 years. Wages too obviously. Players’ wages now account for 80% of our net cost.”
Mr Kilby also discussed the impact forthcoming “Financial Fair Play” regulations will have – all clubs will have to break even.
He said: “We have considerable work to do over the next few years to ensure we match our costs to our revenues.”
But he was also keen to stress that Burnley had by no means been a selling club in the three years covered in the report. From 2008/09 to the end of last season the club had brought in 27 players, including loans, and sold just two – Kyle Lafferty in 2008 and Steven Fletcher in 2010.
Mr Kilby was forthright, though, when he said that relegation from the Premier League had been a huge financial blow to the club. It had also cost plenty in terms of increased player wages, promotion bonuses and improvements to Turf Moor.
Money given back to season ticket holders from the Premier League season was also taken into account. The loss of television money and other commercial revenues since relegation has also had an impact.“We have lost £18m. or a 40% fall in revenues this year as a result of relegation and consequent fall in broadcasting payments and commercial opportunities.”
TV money in the Premier League season amounted to a whopping £36.2m. which fell to £18.3m. last season.
“We can take some satisfaction from the continued progress of our commercial revenues, which have increased by 15% since 2007/08. Staff costs have doubled since that season though, and indeed are only 13% less than last season’s, which were inflated by players’ Premier League wages.”
In 2010 the total payroll for the club was £22.3m. This year that had dropped to £19.3m.
The club shelled out £9.6m. in the Premier League season on new players, bringing in £7.1m. from sales. It also spent £1.6m. improving the changing rooms and press facilities at Turf Moor in line with Premier League standards. Money was also spent at Gawthorpe – cash which will not need to be spent again for some years.
“I think we’ve sown the seeds for the future in terms of improvements to the stadium and to our training facilities on Gawthorpe. Our emphasis has to be on youth and it would be great to produce more homegrown players in the future.”