Rock bottom Blackpool reveal sky high profits

Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium
Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium
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Blackpool FC’s stock on the pitch is at its lowest for many years but the club’s latest accounts show soaring profits.

The embattled club, whose relegation to League One will be confirmed within weeks, have just posted profits of £9.45m for the last financial year.

Pre-tax figures for the year up the end of May 2014 showed an increase in profits from £5.9m in 2013.

This came despite a fall in turnover at Bloomfield Road from £22m to £18m, while ‘parachute payments’ still being received as a result of the club’s Premier League season (2010-11) dropped from £14.2m to £12m.

These reductions were offset by transfer income, including the sale of Matt Phillips to QPR for £3.5m, and by a drop in football-related expenditure, such as player wages and transfer fees, from £9.84m to £8.4m.

Gate receipts, programme sales, merchandise and bar and food sales all fell over the 12-month period.

Loans from Blackpool Football Club Limited to the club’s operating company, Segesta Limited, increased from £23.7m to £27.7m.

Directors’ payments fell from £568,024 to £69,471. The highest-paid director received £44,000 in the latest accounts, compared to £542,562 in the previous ones.

These financial results are unlikely to spark the same level of controversy as those for 2010-11, which included an £11m payment to club owner Owen Oyston.

But they will do little to silence critical fans, who want chairman Karl Oyston to invest more in a team that is bottom of the Championship and certain to be playing League One football next year.

The chairman was yesterday unavailable for comment. But in a wide-ranging interview with The Gazette in October, owner Owen Oyston defended the club’s position four years on from their money-spinning promotion to the Premier League.

He said: “It’s simply not true we have asset-stripped or misappropriated football-generated funds.

“We are one of the few clubs in the football world that have no debts and are in profit.”

Asked about the club’s estimated £90m windfall from the Premier League campaign and the subsequent parachute payments, Oyston said £47.6m had been spent (between 2010-13) on players’ wages, bonuses and transfer fees.

The owner added that the £11m paid to himself was to reimburse him for money invested in the club since he took over in 1987, and that the £23.7m moved from BFC to other Oyston companies was used to pay for stands, units within the stands and hotel developments.

He said much of the other Premier League money had gone on ground maintenance and staff wages.

The latest accounts posted at Companies House showed that the club paid a corporation tax bill of £2.1m.