8. Newcastle United [£111m]
For Newcastle, their profit after tax in 2018-19 was £34.7 million, up from £18.6 million the year before. And, aside from the £111 million of long-term interest-free loans owed to Ashley, Newcastle are debt-free. In theory, that number could prove to be even higher, although it is difficult to fix an exact figure. These latest accounts are for the 2018-19 campaign — not the current one — and the entire football industry is yet to discover the extent of the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
7. Wolverhampton Wanderers [£125m]
Wolves took a £ 40 million hit on revenues and turned a £ 22 million profit in 2018-19 to a £ 36.7 million loss in 2019-20. Unlike some clubs that reported a fall in matchday income, Wolves saw this revenue stream rise by 10% to £ 12.7 million. The club’s revenues for the season totalled £ 132.6 million, some 23% lower than 2018-19. Wolves’ biggest drop came in broadcasting, a 28% decline to £ 95.8 million. Commercial income also fell by 13% to £ 24.1 million. Given the current climate, it is no surprise that net debt increased to £125 million.
6. Liverpool [£157m]
Liverpool’s debt comes in at £157m, as FSG and Fenway Sports have the Anfield club ran on a tight budget. At present Liverpool’s wages to generated income in a non-COVID season stands at around 58%. But, due to there being no fans in the stadiums, their matchday revenue is effectively non-existent as is the case for every other club in England at present.
Liverpool’s owners have taken out loans to develop Anfield in recent years which have amassed at over £100m, and it looked like they could be financially struggling in the summer due to the current pandemic, as they put some of their staff on furlough, before reverting what turned out to be a very unpopular decision. Despite this Liverpool still had a net spend of £33m, signing the likes of Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara.
5. Leicester City [£162m]
Leicester’s net debt has gone up by 147% to £162 million. The directors have reviewed the club’s cash flow forecasts and they revealed that the company is reliant on continued funding from external banks as well as King Power International. Leicester have entered into two five-year loan facilities for a total of £ 30 million to finance the working capital requirements of the club and have increased and extended a £ 45 million facility with Macquarie Bank to January 2022. Leicester have also agreed a further £ 16.4 million facility with Macquarie. Should the economic climate worsen for football, the club also have a £ 35 million standby facility with King Power.
4. Brighton & Hove [£279m]
Brighton & Hove Albion are surprisingly fourth on the list, although the £279m worth of debt is actually owed to their owner Tony Bloom who is a lifelong fan of the club.
Bloom invested £111m into squads in a bid to try and get Brighton promoted to the Premier League and has also overseen the Seagulls move from the Withdean Stadium to the Amex Stadium, which cost Brighton over £100m. Since their promotion to the Premier League back in 2017, Brighton have spent just shy of £230m on transfer fees.