Albion record losses of almost £40m in promotion-winning season

Brighton's promotion-winning 2016/17 season saw the club record losses of almost £40m.

Friday, 22nd December 2017, 5:50 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:19 am
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion have filed their accounts for last season when they were promoted to the Premier League as runners-up from the Championship and their losses were £38.9m compared to £25.8m the previous campaign.

The losses relate to an additional £7.7m being spent on the playing squad and other football costs, together with significant one-off costs associated with promotion, including staff and player bonuses.

The accounts also show that the club has once again fully complied with EFL's Profitability and Sustainability regulations for the period.

Albion celebrate promotion last season.

There is an increase in turnover of £4.5m, and increase in administration and operational costs of £1.3m – but overall profit before football costs and depreciation shows a significant increase of £3.2m to £15.6m.

In a statement, Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said: "The 2016/17 season is one which will live long in the memory of Brighton & Hove Albion supporters, as the club won promotion to the Premier League for the first time, and finally returned to the top flight of English football after a 34-year absence.

"On the back of an outstanding season in 2015/16, the team responded brilliantly to the double disappointment of twice missing out on promotion – on the final day of the season and in the playoffs – and bounced back in style: securing automatic promotion with three games to spare.

"Once again Chris Hughton's astute and skilful leadership as manager, ably supported by his coaching and backroom staff, was a vital component of our success. Another was the ability, hard work and endeavour of the playing squad and a genuine sense of togetherness which continues to grow and is serving us well in the opening half of our first Premier League season.

Brighton's players and fans celebrate promotion. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

"We knew if we were going to compete at the top end of the Championship again, and rival three very strong teams coming into the division from the Premier League, that we needed to strengthen, and also retain our best players. Our recruitment added quality and experience, providing extra strength and depth across all areas.

"Retaining our key players from the previous season was vital, and we rejected significant bids for three players: Anthony Knockaert, Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens. Dale was a difficult situation because we knew that we could lose him for nothing come the end of the 2016/17 season – but our view was that our chances of promotion would be severely lessened if we did not have him in the squad. We were delighted this strategy paid off – and even more delighted when Dale signed a new and well-deserved contract during the summer. The consistency and excellence of Anthony and Lewis – alongside so many others – was there for all to see."

Bloom added having reached the Premier League, the club will do all they can to stay there: "We made our most significant step in terms of progressing the club during the 2016/17 season. There was never a guarantee we would make that final step, but now having made it, we will be doing all we can to stay in the Premier League this season – with a longer term aim of establishing ourselves at the top level.

"The finances of the club were changed virtually overnight, as we were celebrating the win over Wigan Athletic on 17 April and our subsequent promotion. Our annual turnover has been boosted by approximately £100m for the current season, but we are now paying significantly more in terms of transfer fees and player salaries.

"What is important is that all investments are made sensibly and very much with the club's long-term future at heart. As such, we have a clear financial structure that we work very hard to maintain with a view to the short, medium and longer term. Having arrived in the Premier League, most of our supporters will be aware that we will not change this ethos, as our summer 2017 recruitment policy demonstrated.

"Aside from being unable to strengthen our options in the centre forward position – a feat which proved difficult for several Premier League clubs as well as for us – I was delighted with our summer transfer activity. I am equally delighted that our new arrivals are making such a positive impact on the field. We are confident that working under Chris, they will continue to develop and improve.

"I would once again like to thank the board of directors, the majority of whom give their time and expertise to the club without charge. I also salute Chris, his staff and above all our players, who go down in our history as a very special group.

"The work undertaken by our administration, operations and support staff off the pitch – in boosting the operating profits of the business and ensuring we remain operationally efficient – remains of the highest standard, and it must not be underestimated how much this work over many, many seasons has assisted us with our on–pitch ambitions. Hence, we were absolutely delighted to pay all staff a significant promotion bonus this summer."

Looking ahead to the future, Bloom said: "Our ambition for the club's senior teams, both men and women, is to play at the highest level possible. We have achieved that with the men's team, so now our focus is on retaining our Premier League status, and establishing ourselves at this level. The women's team under the guidance of head coach Hope Powell has made a strong start to the season in WSL2, and I am delighted that next season we will also be playing in the top division in the restructured WSL1.

"We have never been about making bold statements, setting unrealistic goals or creating unnecessary pressure with time limits, our aim has always been progression. Small steps, sustainable progress and, where we encounter bumps in the road or knocks along the way, coming back even stronger and still together.

"Such is the nature of professional sport at the highest level, there will be some tough times ahead no doubt, but with our togetherness and spirit, I am confident the football club’s future will have plenty more ups than downs. "