No real reasons to be cheerful as club announce £18m loss ahead of massive summer

Tuesday, 30 April 2024, 20:21
4 mins read

It is difficult to know where to start with the release of the Swans accounts today which gave the headline figure of a £17.9m loss that was brushed off almost as “one of those things” by the club and the Supporters Trust alike.

The loss – for the year to 31 July 2023 does not include the sale of Joel Piroe but similarly does not include many of the transfer dealings of last summer which have been widely criticised by supporters.

Given the fact that the sale of Piroe will be reflected in the next set of accounts at this time next year you have to worry what they may show and this time around we will not have the sale of another Piroe to try and soften the blow of what is a huge loss and has us way away from the club with sustainable finances that we claim to be.

None of these losses are a major surprise to anybody given the frequency in which we “welcome” further cash injection to the club which just serves to hand more of the club to a majority ownership that has done absolutely nothing to generate any confidence in the way they do their business since they completed their takeover nearly eight years ago.

We continue to be bewildered by the lack of transparency in who owns the club and the smoke and mirrors way that we go about our business.   At the recent fans forum at the Swansea.com Stadium Andy Coleman was asked if we should be worried about our finances and he dismissed it immediately with a “no” but didn’t actually add any context as to why we shouldn’t be worried.   Because, frankly we should be.

The Trust statement that followed the release of the accounts read “We appreciate that the headline loss will be concerning for Trust members and supporters and that is a situation we too share. But we continue to be kept updated as to the club’s financial position and at ways it is looking to become more financially sustainable on a long-term basis.

“The Trust regularly encourages the club to be more transparent in the ways it is looking to curb its expenditure, increase its revenue and define a clear strategy which allows it to remain competitive on and off the pitch without placing the club in financial jeopardy. We are therefore pleased to see the level of information provided in their release earlier today.

“The Trust also appreciates the ongoing investment into the club from the majority owners especially when it is in exchange for equity rather than through loans that would increase the debt load on the club. This helps ensure all areas of the club are able to operate as it should.”

It is difficult to know where to start on that  – they are worried but are kept updated on that worry.  They thank the club for the information provided on a clear strategy in their release (there was no information) and investment helps us operate as it should.   Posting a £17.9m loss is how we should operate.   Wasting money on executive salaries and players who we shift on three months later?   And don’t get me started on the appointment of Michael Duff.   And of course there is the unresolved matter of compensation for Russell Martin.    Newsflash, we are not run as “we should be” but we are run by a bunch of people who don’t understand football and continually repeat the same mistakes of the past.

Coleman even had the cheek to distance himself from the results by declaring “These accounts represent the financial year prior to my appointment as chairman and much of the budget had already been set for the 2023-24 financial year before my arrival in Swansea in August 2023. ”

It is an unbelievable statement to make given the endless stream of mistakes he has made in his time at Swansea – he may have arrived in August but he was appointed prior to the end of last season – but then again he has form for distancing himself from things as he tried the same tactic on the transfer dealing of last summer at the previously mentioned fans forum.

He talked again about building blocks and foundations but he needs to remember that he is part of the same ownership group who failed to put these blocks in place years ago following relegation.   And let’s be honest has anyone really got any belief that these building blocks are good ones?   Even the transfer dealings that he talks up, anybody yet found the reason for the loan signing of Charles Sagoe Jr?

“Much work remains to be done,” continued Coleman.  “The Championship is a very unforgiving environment, and we hold no illusions about how difficult it is to succeed on the pitch and off it.

“As I look forward to the 2024-25 season and financial year, I am encouraged by the work being done to expand revenue, increase profit, and strengthen the business model of Swansea City.”

The Trust continued “We will therefore continue to talk to the club and majority owners at every available opportunity to gain a full and proper understanding on what is being done to improve its decision making, become more efficient in its spending and develop innovative ways to increase its revenue streams – both commercially and from a player trading perspective. ”

From what we saw this year the only real effort for the club to increase revenue was to introduce a 4th kit which, despite the success in the sales of it, is not going to wipe out a £17.9m loss which is exposed even more by the fact that we seem to have broken our player trading model which is going to expose massively our transfer dealings this summer and the horrendous way we went about last summer’s business will once again be laid bare and haunt us again.

We can talk all we like about how this division is unforgiving and we know very well that it certainly can be but we should not just brush over this financial position as the club and the Trust seem keen to do in unison together (no real surprise that they are singing off the same hymn sheet on this one)   The simple fact is we are losing money because we make so many bad decisions on and off the pitch and until that changes then expect more bad news year after year.   Maybe it’s no wonder Coleman tries to blame others for the position we are in but unfortunately for Andy even that blame can only last so long.

Not all bad news can just be buried.

You can listen to the Trust’s chat with Kieran Maguire here

 

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

Phil Sumbler

Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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