As the transfer windows closes and news that Hull City were unable to meet Fulham’s £1.5m price tag for midfield target Oliver Norwood, fans are rightly questioning where the Premier League money has gone.
If you include the compensation for Max Clark and sell-on fee for Conor Townsend the club net spend in the summer transfer window was only around £2m – transfer fees were paid for Reece Burke, Eric Lichaj, David Milinković, Jordy de Wijs & George Long and a long-term loan for Todd Kane.
Premier League ‘parachute payments’ of over £40m were received last season with another £30m forecast for this season. Also the club have received around £40m from player sales since relegation e.g. Harry Maguire, Andy Robertson, Sam Clucas.
The club obviously have outgoings and a wage bill of £20m+ a year is needed to be competitive in this division. With typical matchday income of below £10m most Championship clubs operate at a loss chasing the Premier League dream.
The club made a profit of £35m in the Premier League 2016/17 (which included the sale of Harry Maguire) but made a loss of £20m when gaining promotion from the Championship in 2015/16.
With the loans to Allamhouse standing at £60m and a £21m external bank loan (July 2017) the hope is that profits from the last year have been used to pay off club debt, reducing the sale price and making it easier to sell. We’ll have to wait until the annual accounts are published in October to find out if this is true.
The Vice Chairman alluded to this strategy in his February interview
“So the ideal strategy is to sell in the Championship and recover the majority of the investment which we’ve already made in the club. There are alternative plans on a further relegation, we still have an exit strategy.”
Ehab Allam, February 2018
With falling gates and the end of Premier League payments this season the club desperately needs a long-term strategy, a new 5 year plan. The club will become increasingly dependant on matchday income and merchandising. ‘Sustainability’ is the buzz word at the KCOM Stadium.
Many stay-away fans have vowed never to return until there is a change of ownership and many are boycotting merchandise due to the nameless badge.
Still No Concessions
Whilst efforts are being made to win back the fans, including a new crest design process, the ‘elephant in the room’ remains the lack of concessions for children, seniors and the disabled.
Despite efforts to include supporters in decision making processes the club are no nearer to agreeing a new ticketing policy. Two fan polls and discussions with the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) have failed to result in the re-introduction of concessions. To make matters worse the results of the two polls have never been announced.
The failure to implement fair and equitable prices appears to be down to the Allam’s obsession with ticket fraud. Ehab’s previous claims that “14% of concession tickets were used by Adults” was cited as a main reason behind the zonal pricing idea.
The Allams non-investment, the lack of concessions, their unwillingness to admit mistakes and refusal to fully reverse the ‘Tigers’ rebrand has resulted in membership figures failing to around 8,500.
“It is time for us to move on, that’s what the fans seem to want as well and that’s what we’d like to give the fans. So the plan is to sell and to move on.”
Ehab Allam, February 2018