The operating loss for the year was £34.4m — compared to £32m the previous season — which has been reduced to £15.5m after interest, profit on player sales and the write-off of £5m debt.
Companies House also showed a £12m debt to the owner Evangelos Marinakis had been converted to shares just a few days before the accounts were posted.
A statement in the accounts said: ‘The reporting year 2020/2021 was unprecedented following the continued global challenges with Covid-19. With the season played behind closed doors, the club saw a significant decrease in the majority of the club’s revenue streams which resulted in the club’s reported turnover for 2020/2021 being £18.4m (2020: £25.3m). The decrease of £6.9m all relates to the pandemic following major losses in ticketing and catering income.
‘The decrease would have been much greater if it wasn’t for the great support of the club sponsors, an area in which the club saw growth. It’s also worth noting, even though it’s not visible within the club’s income statement, that the fantastic supporter base supported the club, by deferring 2020/2021 season card revenue into 2021/2022. The club will be forever thankful for this support.’
The English Football League has amended its profitability and sustainability rules to reflect the pandemic’s effect on finances, allowing a Covid relief of £5m for both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons — with £2.5m allowed for 2021/22. However, the club anticipates losses due to Covid for the three years to be in excess of £28m.
The appointment of Dane Murphy, and a new wage and transfer policy, should begin to see some effect when the accounts for this season are published in a year’s time. FFP is not believed to be an issue, despite the losses.
The £14.3m in player sales — £11.2m in the previous year — indicate the importance of Gary Brazil’s Academy and how significant it has been to resist bids for the likes of Brennan Johnson and Joe Worrall. Playing staff increased to 75 from 73, while wages fell slightly from £33.1m down to £31.9m