This, hopefully, is the nadir - the final emptying of the cesspit of declining finances. We live in hope. What can we say from the numbers, and what does it really mean going forward?
First, this year’s figures.
Obviously, the club’s income is way down on 2016/17 - completely expected when you are no longer a Premier League club and have all that comes with it to rely on.
TV income halved as expected. Gate receipts went down by £2.4m, a drop of just under 25%. That’s the cost of PL fanboys and stayaways. Sponsorship fell off a cliff, down 80%, while commercial and retail were down about 35%.
Depressing, but pretty much what you might expect.
Looking at 2018/19 gates, everything but TV income will probably have bottomed out. However, we’re looking at another £15m or so drop in TV income in the 2018/19 accounts. That’s why the new owners needed, and still need, to cut costs.
Staff costs dropped by £35m (around 42%), lower than the fall in income. so staff costs were 73.4% of turnover (2017 - 67.5%).
Our former CEO Martin Bain got a £1m payoff - though looking at his total pay, that’s probably a contractual one year notice.
On staff numbers, it looks as though redundancies affected 1 in 6 admin staff.
It appeared that we still managed to spend around £20m on other operating costs - this is where Stewart Donald is really going to have to wield the axe to get the books balanced.
Other points to note from the P&L
A further £12m was written off player contract values, we made an £8m profit on the sale of the Charlie Hurley centre, and the lawyers and merchant bankers trousered £6.5m for the share issue.
Turning to the balance sheet, transfer debtors were £16.2m (£4.4m receivable next season), while transfer creditors were £19.6m (£3.5m payable next season).
Other debtors include £9.6m due from another group company (not Sunderland Ltd). It’s unclear who owes this, or why the debt is there. As expected, there are no external debts, and there was a positive cash balance of £11.1m at the year end.
Looking forward, there are grounds for optimism, although we may continue to make smaller losses while the position the owners inherited unwinds.
Clearly, there is much more work to be done on the cost base, particularly player wages, but it’s a far brighter picture than when I was writing this time last year.