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Brewers still debt-free after ‘one-off’ £308k loss is revealed

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 08, 2012

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BURTON Albion have assured fans the club is financially sound despite revealing a record loss of £308,000 last season.

Club chairman Ben Robinson described the deficit as “ a one-off” caused by difficult trading conditions in the year ended May 31.

But in an upbeat message to supporters, he said: “We are still a club with no debt and we’re very solvent.”

And Robinson pledged that money will be made available to help manager Gary Rowett to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.

The loss, which follows four profitable seasons, has been blamed on a slump in gate receipts during last season’s relegation struggle and a fall in commercial revenue as a result of businesses cutting back during the recession.

Robinson said the club had already started to redress the balance and expected figures in the current financial year to paint a much rosier picture.

The Brewers chief said: “We made combined profits of £426,000 in the previous four years, but unfortunately much of that has been wiped away by one bad year.

“The loss is largely due to a drop in turnstile support, which is down by 20 per cent compared with our first season as a Football League club, and the very serious downturn in the economy.

“We perhaps underestimated the impact this would have on our business, while instead of the savings we hoped to make on the wages budget, we had to throw money at it to make expensive loan signings as we battled against relegation.

“These factors all add up to an exceptional set of circumstances, but they have not affected the viability of the club.

“They are a disappointing set of results but we are addressing the deficit and I am sure we will be looking at much improved figures in a year’s time.

“I am looking at last season as a one-off caused by a significant drop in turnover, and our marketing and commercial staff are now working hard to improve that side of the business.

“As far as attendances are concerned, I think there is generally a downwards trend in the Football League but the fall we have experienced is a concern.

“It does take time to rebuild a fan base but I do hope the Burton public fully take on board the benefits of the town boasting a Football League club, not least in terms of the tremendous work we do in schools and the community as a whole.

“Despite the loss, this season’s playing budget will not be affected and we will support the manager if he wants to strengthen the squad in January.”

Albion’s turnover dropped from £2.5m to £2.1m, with gate receipts down by almost £100,000 and commercial and sponsorship income falling by £327,000.

The wages bill, which also includes commercial and administrative staff, rose slightly to £2.16m at a time when the club had hoped to cut costs, but other expenditure was reduced by more than £20,000.

The shareholders’ funds - effectively the value of the club- stood at £5.7m and the total assets at May 31 were almost £6.4m.

The accounts will be presented to shareholders at the club’s annual meeting at the Pirelli Stadium on December 19, starting at 7pm.

Retiring directors John Williams, Paul Simpson and Colin Brodie will be standing for  re-election to the board, while co-opted director Ian English will seek formal election.

THE Beech Hotel are running a supporters’ coach to Chesterfield next Saturday, leaving the pub at 12.30pm.

To book a seat at £7, call 561811.

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