Blackpool FC will not ramp up spending on players as the club battles to improve results on the pitch, chairman Karl Oyston said today.
Financial results, released yesterday, show the club’s parent company Segesta, run by the Oyston family, made a “healthy profit” of £5.5m for the year ending May 2013 – despite a season of ups and downs on the pitch.
The £15.5m profits the previous year were boosted by the sale of star player Charlie Adam and reaching the play-off finals in 2012.
The figures cover the 2012/13 season which saw two managerial changes and the club flirt with relegation.
Football related wages “remained high” in 2013, according to the report at £9.36m (they were £10.6m the previous year).
A total of £490,000 was spent on transfer fees compared to £1.7m the year before.
The report revealed directors, Karl Oyston and his father Owen, were paid £568,024 compared to £117,599 the previous year.
And a number of large loans were made to companies owned by Oyston Snr.
The Pool chairman defended this, describing the matter as “normal” business practice and then branded the idea that a huge spending spree would improve performances on the pitch as “piffle”.
“I know some fans always call for bigger spending when times are tough. Some say the more you spend the better it will be, but that’s piffle,” he said.
This season sees the club on a 16-game run without a League win and once again facing a relegation scrap.
Oyston said:“It does not always follow that spending big helps performance.
“We got promoted to the Premier League on a £4.8m wage bill. That proves it’s not necessarily about money alone. It is about spending wisely as well.”
The Pool chairman also revealed there were “no big plans” for investment at the club because of a lack of investment in the town of Blackpool as a whole at the moment.
“The club and the town are poised on the edge of a precipice and I’m more than prepared to sit down and talk with businesses and other stakeholders in Blackpool to come up with a strategy to make the most of what this unique place has to offer,” added Oyston.
“People are not willing to invest in Blackpool at the moment, the economic position the town is in makes it difficult so we have no big plans for investment at the club.”
Talking about his vision for the club for the year ahead he said: “We need to get back to a period of stability with the results and the squad and once we have achieved that we will reap the benefits.”
Oyston said the directors were planning ahead for when multi-million pound parachute payments following the club’s relegation from the Premier League, run out.
He said: “We are budgeting for a £9m profit next time. I think the club’s financial position is not a problem. It pretty much takes care of itself. We do not have the problems that many other clubs have.”
“The company results are good but its performance pales into insignificance when you are having problems on the pitch. So we are not feeling pleased having made £5m profit.
“We would much rather be pushing for promotion like we were at the start of the season.”
Speaking about the loans the company made over the 12 month period to other companies owned by the Oyston family, he said there was no big issue to worry about.
Included in Segesta’s debtors are payments to:
n Promenade Construction of £862,036
n £1m to Promenade Developers for the continued development of the stadium
It also made loans to:
n Oystons Estates of £227,633
n £323,000 to Oystons Ltd, £291,000 to Lancashire Magazine Ltd
n £68,000 to Yorkshire Riding Magazine Ltd
n £254,8089 to Natfarm Ltd
n £21,791 to Denwis Ltd.
All the companies are owned by Owen Oyston.
At the same time the company reports that it owes £847,089 to Owen Oyston.
The Pool chairman said: “It’s a normal thing. Some of the companies in a group trade between themselves at times.
“Money passes between them to and fro and it is not a problem for the club.”
Two years ago, after the club’s one year stay in the Premier League, it was revealed £11m was paid to a company owed by Oyston Snr, a move which brought anger from some fans.
The company still owes £7.26m to former director Valerie Belokon and his daughter Vlada and no repayments were made to them.
Segesta’s new company accounts showed that during 2013 the club had 74 footballers, apprentices and coaches and a total staff of 161 compared to 63 players and 150 other staff the previous year.
The directors’ report said: “Remaining in the Championship is not considered a considerable risk to the company as turnover will still be assisted by guaranteed parachute payments from the Premier League.”