Sheffield Wednesday Fans Column: Owls debt numbers just don’t stack up

Milan Mandaric
Milan Mandaric
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Why would anyone buy a football club?

Anyone who decides to buy into a business where the financial model constitutes spending more on outgoing costs than the revenue you generate is quite frankly bonkers.

There are so many questions to answer that aren’t being asked of Milan Mandaric. It’s apparent that the chairman is thinking about the best interests of the club but let’s not kid ourselves that making a profit on his initial investment, isn’t top of his agenda.

The big question is where is the money going?

According to a Guardian newspaper investigation into Championship finances, published in May 2014, Wednesday had one of the lowest wage bills at £11.9m.

This was 80% of our total turnover (£14.9m). We made a £3.7m loss before tax and had a total net debt of £11m.

When you compare The Owls to Bolton Wanderers, who are in £163.8m net debt and their wage bill is 107% of their turnover, our situation doesn’t look as bad. Whatever gloss you put on it though, Championship football doesn’t look a viable business.

So why have we gone from losing £3.7m to the end of May 2014 to £6m a year? Are we still paying off previous bosses? Is the academy set up and development costing us too much because of the stipulations to maintain its category 2 status? Have we lost money down the back of the sofa like the previous board managed to do?

Time to answer these questions Mr Chairman. Platitudes won’t suffice anymore.

With figures estimated to rise and the newly agreed Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations in place, these are worrying times again for Wednesday. Our only hope appears to be a ‘frankly bonkers’ new owner.