Middlesbrough Football Club’s reliance upon funds from chairman Steve Gibson has emerged in latest accounts, which show its loss for the financial year widened to £15.6m.
The club’s accounts for the year to June 30 2014 - pre-dating the current season which are seeing the club push for promotion to the Premier League - reveal annual pre-tax losses of £20.4m – a deficit which increased by £1.88m compared to the previous year.
The club did, however, shorten its operating loss, from £22.3m to £21.1m.
Revenues over the year were £12.8m, down from £14.2m, a figure the club attributed to poor performance in cup competitions and falling gate receipts as the side struggled to 12th in the league.
The income breaks down to gate receipts of £3.8m, cup income of £65,000, sponsorship and commercial earnings of £3.4m, broadcasting income of £4.3m while merchandising brought in £1.2m.
Despite the losses, Boro chairman and owner Steve Gibson has continued to provide financial backing to the club.
The strategic report filed with the accounts said: “The team started the season 2013-14 with moderate results without improving on the final league position of the previous season.
“Average attendance for the 2013-14 season was 1,000 down on the previous season. Cup performances were disappointing being knocked out in the first round of both competitions having reached the fifth round in the previous season in both campaigns.
“The team improved their league form towards the end of the season to finish 12th but the overall financial effect of the performances was a reduction in gate revenues.
“The club will continue to strive for promotion to the Premier League whether through automatic promotion or a place in the play-offs.
“The going concern basis of the company depends on funds from the Gibson O’Neill Company Limited, the ultimate parent undertaking, who will continue to provide financial support to the company for the foreseeable future.”
Following the year end, six players have been sold and one has had his contract terminated by mutual consent, while seven new faces have been brought into the squad.
Three have also been acquired on season long loans.
Wages for the year dropped from £18.5m to £14.4m, reflecting the club’s attempts to cut costs, and the club also achieved a profit of £683,900 from player sales during the year.
A club spokesman said: The spokesman said: “Year on year, the club reduced its operating loss by over £1m.
“The overall loss, whilst higher than the previous year, reflects the fact that less money was generated through player sales.
“Those losses were compliant with the Football League Financial Fair Play requirements as a significant proportion of them were allowable as Exceptional Items under those rules.
“The funding of the losses continued to be provided by the wider group (including the conversion of a further £5m - the maximum permitted under FFP - of the debt into equity) and the club remains without any external debt, owning both its stadium and training ground.”