Player sales turn a small profit at Leeds United as latest accounts are revealed

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani
Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani
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Transfer fees earned by Leeds United during the 2016-17 financial year turned a £9m operating loss into a profit of almost £1m, the club’s latest accounts reveal.

Leeds made an overall gain of £976,000 during the 12 months before June 30, 2017 after accruing £8.9m from the sale of players, including the transfer of Lewis Cook to Bournemouth.

The loss of Cook for an estimated £6m avoided a repeated of the 2015-16 year in which United posted an overall loss of £8.8m.

The club’s operating deficit, however, increased by £2m, up to £9.1m despite annual revenue rising by £4m to £34m.

An increase of 5,000 in average attendances at Elland Road during a season in which Leeds, under former head coach Garry Monk, fell one place short of the Championship play-offs led to a £2m growth in gate receipts which accounted for £10m of the club’s total turnover.

United also saw rises in merchandise earnings and central distribution payments but administrative expenses jumped from £32m to £37m, contributing to a larger operating loss.

While £8.9m was gained from player sales, in a financial period which ended before the departure of Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor to Burnley last summer, United’s accounts show that £6.8m was spent on their squad, up from £6.4m in 2015-16.

An increased wage bill of £20m included around £16m spent on the salaries of first-team players, equating to 47 per cent of Leeds’ income.

The latest figures also reveal a cash injection of £14.5m made by owner Andrea Radrizzani via a shareholder loan. Radrizzani bought 50 per cent of Leeds from Massimo Cellino in December 2016 before securing the remainder of Cellino’s stake and 100 per cent control of United in May 2017.

Significantly, Radrizzani brought about a reduction in the long-standing debt owed to former club owner GFH, a liability which stood at just under £17m in the summer of 2016. The accounts confirm a repayment of half of that sum, £8.475m in “historical liabilities”, and the remainder of the Bahrani bank’s debt is understood to be under legal evaluation.

Key numbers:

Overall profit - £976,000 (£8.8m loss in 2015-16)

Operating loss - £9.1m (£7.1m in 2015-16)

Turnover - £34m (£30m in 2015-16)

Players sales - £8.9m (£2.7m in 2015-16)

Admin expenses - £37.7m (£32m in 2015-16)

Gate receipts - £10m (£8m in 2015-16)

Investment in squad - £6.9m (£6.4m in 2015-16)

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