It’s from bad to worse yet again for West Bromwich Albion in the season of 2017/18 – our prudent approach to finances appears to have been unravelled.
Speaking to wba.co.uk as the club filed their annual accounts for up to June 2017, returning Chief Executive Office Mark Jenkins explained his shock at the state of the accounts, as after record breaking figures, decisions and investments since then see the club organising it’s first overdraft in the last ten years.
Accounts for 2016/17 saw record figures with turnover increasing by £39.6million (40.3%) and profits before tax jumping to £39.7million from £1million.
Player assets rose to £38.3million from £24.9million and cash at bank increased from £15.9millino to £39.6million.
But planning since then does require us to have an overdraft once again given how far we’ve moved of course in the last 12 months. Jenkins insists fans shouldn’t panic but we do have concerns, and those concerns only increase via relegation and the loss of Premier League television money.
‘The annual accounts shows what really has happened over the last 24 months if you look in detail. The accounts cover the 2016-17 season which saw us placed 10th in what we must consider a successful season despite a slightly disappointing finish. It was the first year of the new TV deal and normally in that situation the Club performs well financially. We had record turnover, a profit of just under £40m which included the sale of Saido Berahino but still, £40m in the bank which is a substantial resource.’
Jenkins went on to explain.
‘But if we look further, the auditors have insisted that I do make note that we are going to have to have a small overdraft in the near future which just goes to emphasise the activities of the year which has followed. I want to emphasise that it is a small overdraft but this Club has not had an overdraft for over 10 years now which makes it new territory for West Bromwich Albion in this era.’
Moving forward Jenkins warns of a ‘significant loss’ in next year’s accounts given investment into the playing squad and infrastructure owing to higher wages, transfer fees and loan fees as they are now running at record levels.
‘I`ll be honest I`ve come back and I`m shocked at what I have found in some of the decisions that have been made. When I was on the outside looking in, for example, I read the reports about the Club operating at the limit of its short term cost control. Knowing the business as I did, I thought that was a negotiating position but I`ve come back and can assure you that we are right at our limit on STCC. There is no more money for wages.’
Giving his history with the club, he went on to say that he hopes fans trust him and will allow him the time to get us back on track given how we operated under him previously, but he stated categorically ‘I think it will be wise to go back to Jeremy`s principles. But we must change too. What worked eight years ago won`t work now.’
Part of that of course is new regulations being in place that we have to follow and adapt to, so it sounds like there is plenty for him to do.
‘If I had stayed I certainly would have challenged` the new executive team far more than has happened and some of the decisions taken would have been different. It`s been painful looking in and seeing the Club that I and many, many other people – friends such as Dan Ashworth, Darren Eales – had built up to be an established Premier League club…it has all unravelled in the 12 months or more since I`ve been away. I`m determined to get it back to where it should be.’
It appears it’s not just on the pitch we have a lot of work to do but seems to eloquently sum up our season.