OPINION: Significance of losses not lost on Pool’s fans

Gates have dropped by more than 50 per cent at Bloomfield Road
Gates have dropped by more than 50 per cent at Bloomfield Road
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It says a lot about the current state of Blackpool Football Club that the publishing of the annual accounts was more anticipated than the next fixture.

That’s even more striking when you consider the Seasiders are the country’s most in-form side and face the team directly below them in the league table tomorrow in a crunch game in the race for a play-off spot.

But where else would you find such intriguing accounts?

I’m no accountant, but even I experienced a sense of anticipation as I trawled through line after line of the report to see where the money was coming and going.

In summation, the figures shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

After all, we all knew the club still had plenty of cash left over and didn’t spend as much as it ought to have done during their relegation seasons. This merely confirmed those suspicions.

A drop in gate receipts, a reduction in the number of season tickets, less lucrative sponsorship deals and a loss of bar and food sales were all entirely predictable too.

But how long can the club go on in its current guise?

There’s plenty of money going out but where is it coming in from? Crowds are down, season ticket sales are down, TV income is down and the Premier League parachute payments have run out.

Next year’s accounts will be even more fascinating as we’ll see for the first time the full force of the fans’ boycott and NAPM policy.

The report says the club needs to maintain and increase its support base if it is to improve in the long term.

Well since last season, where Blackpool averaged 7,052 in League One, gates have dropped by more than 50 per cent.

On the face of it and in isolation, an operating loss of £1.8m isn’t anything to write home about. You’ll see far worse figures at clubs dotted around the country.

But its significance can’t be downplayed when you compare it to the previous year’s numbers, where the club made a profit of £7.5m.

What will we be looking at next year, a loss of £10m plus?

The extent of the drop in turnover is staggering too: £4.4m down from £18m the previous year.

This figure was as high as £52m as recently as 2011 when Blackpool were in the Premier League.

That drop is almost as sheer as the cliff face Blackpool have plummeted off in the last five years.