Leeds United have released their accounts for the 2019/20 season.
They show that the club lost £64million last season as they won the Championship and were promoted to the Premier League amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Leeds spent £46m on players last season and made £15m from sales as Marcelo Bielsa’s side ended a 16-year absence from the top flight by claiming the Championship title.
They paid out £20m in promotion bonuses, and securing their top-flight status this season will cost a further £35m in bonuses, while the club will also owe a £18m in potential transfer add-ons.
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However, despite the high costs associated with promotion and the loss of Elland Road match day revenue, Leeds brought in £15.4m from merchandise sales – a 63.8% increase on the previous year’s total of £9.4m.
Turnover increased to £54.2m compared to £48.9m the previous year, while the club made a £2.5m insurance claim for loss of profits due to Covid.
As part of the accounts which were filed with Companies House, managing director Angus Kinnear wrote a strategic report.
“The primary risk facing the group remains the divisional status of the club’s first team due to the impact on key revenue streams, however we remain confident we have built a commercial model to fund a technical set-up which can ensure Premier League retention,” he wrote.
Here is a summary of his thoughts.
“Despite the unprecedented operational and financial challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic the group won the EFL Championship by 10 points whilst successfully maintaining the group’s financial integrity with record commercial growth,” Kinnear wrote.
He continued: “The season was halted by the pandemic and a national lockdown with just nine games remaining and Leeds United sitting top of the table.
“The unity the club and its supporters showed throughout this challenging period, with every member of staff retained and the Leeds United Foundation excelling in their support for the local community, it became the foundation for the run which saw Leeds United win seven of the remaining nine games to claim the title.
“The celebrations were only tempered by the mourning of three of the club’s favourite sons Norman Hunter, Jack Charlton and Trevor Cherry.”
He added: “The risks of Covid on the revenue streams remains significant but the improvements in the macro-health environment point to a return of crowds in the near future which will see all core revenue streams fully restored.”
“The departure from the European Union has the potential to pose risk to the current access of European footballing talent, however the directors are encouraged by the progress of discussions between the Premier League and the government which suggests this risk will be successfully mitigated,” Kinnear wrote.
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“The summer was spent strengthening the squad with the additions of Ben White, Helder Costa, Eddie Nketiah and the returning Jack Harrison by employing a judicious approach to the loan market,” Kinnear wrote.
“This was coupled by extending the deals of the core of the squad that had narrowly missed promotion in the previous season.
“Numerous advances were rejected for Kalvin Phillips, who joined captain Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling and Mateusz Klich in signing new deals.
“However, these investments were balanced by the departures of Kemar Roofe, Pontus Jansson and Bailey Peacock-Farrell reinforcing the group’s commitment to sustainable financial management.”
Kinnear wrote: “As the season launched, so did a six-part Amazon documentary depicting the previous campaign and attracting a global audience of millions as part of our strategy to grow Leeds United internationally.”