State of Play: Fulham’s Finances

Sam Finesilver 24th April 2018

Earlier this month, Fulham filed accounts for the previous year (July 2016 – June 2017) and the results make some interesting reading. Sam Finesilver, qualified accountant and Fulham fan, picked out some of the key elements to think about, going into the end of the season.

Fulham Make a Loss

No matter which way you slice it – the club spends more money than it makes. In the year revenue was £35m and the spending on wages alone, for the players and club staff, was £37m.

Other expenses were a further £12m, meaning that the operating profits before the impact of player transfers was -£14m. In effect the club was in the red to the value of equivalent to Rui Fonte and Aboubakar Kamara’s transfer fees, even before they had bought anyone.

Shad Khan’s Influence

In context, it’s worth remembering that revenues are falling, as despite rising gate receipts, broadcasting revenues  and sponsorship, revenue from the league (including parachute payments) fell by £4m. Whilst the net impact wasn’t huge in 2017, further loss of parachute payments will make the club ever more reliant on funding from Mr Khan.

And that figure is now £152m that the club’s holding company – Cougar Holdco London Limited – owes to the immediate parent (trust funds held for the benefit of Mr Shahid R Khan). The continued funding of the club including the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand is now almost fully reliant on Mr Khan’s $7bn fortune, and as the auditors note, him walking remains one of the biggest risks to the club.

Transfers

Lastly – the part the fans care most about – transfers. Looking at the consolidated cash flow statement, the club spent £16m on player registrations (loans and transfers), which works out at about the same as last year; and received £10m, £3m more than the year before.

The accounts don’t make it clear which transfers these directly relate to but given the accounts cover last season my guess is that it was last year’s signings i.e. Ayite, Madl, McDonald, Kebano, Button, Odoi, Sigurdsson, Stef Jo and Jozabed (plus the many loans) with the cash received mainly being what Aston Villa gave us for Ross McCormack.

This is likely to be higher next season given the signings of Fonte, Kamara and Cisse, which makes the £8m sale of Sone Aluko all the more understandable.

Summary

Overall the important thing to know is that the match days operations cost the club £14m, transfers a net £6m with a further £12.5m spent on buying on training facilities and redevelopment of the ground. To cover this Mr Khan pumped in over £29m (£32m the year before) and our bank balance fell £2m.

The costs of staying in the Championship for another season have probably never been higher.

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