Financial figures show task facing Sunderland as they rebuild

Gustavo Poyet and new chief scout Lee Congerton will have to pay down Sunderland's debts as they rebuild the squad for next season

The Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC
The Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC

Gustavo Poyet and new chief scout Lee Congerton will have to pay down Sunderland’s debts as they rebuild the squad for next season.

Phil Bardsley, Andrea Dossena, Sebastian Larsson, Craig Gardner, Keiren Westwood, Jack Colback, Carlos Cuellar and Oscar Ustari are out of contract at the end of the season, while Fabio Borini, Ki Sung-Yueng, Ondrej Celustka, Marcus Alonso and Santiago Vergini are on loan.

So regardless of which division the Black Cats are playing in next season, the coach and his new director of football will have a lot of wheeling and dealing to do.

The release of the latest financial figures show they will not be doing it from a position of strength.

The annual accounts for the year up to July 31, 2013 showed a £23m loss.

That hole should be filled by increased television revenue if the club escape relegation but they are currently three points adrift of safety, albeit with two or three games in hand on most of their rivals.

Owner Ellis Short is one of the Premier League’s big champions of financial fair play and his club are making progress in their attempts to break even.

Running costs were reduced to £95 from £104m, wages dropped £7m to £56m and an £11m profit was declared on player sales.

The loss of so many players in the summer will slash wages still further, but a significant outlay will be needed to replace them. The players’ wages will automatically be cut if Sunderland are relegated. £44m was earned through TV revenue last season, which should increase to at least £63m this season.

However, they will get nowhere near that in next season’s Championship, with only a £26m parachute payment to break their fall.

With turnover down £5m, the club’s overdraft more than trebled to £39m.

Sunderland are owed £12m in transfer fees, but have another £25m to pay in instalments on the players they have bought.

Although many transfer fees were undisclosed, the combined cost of last summer’s 14 arrivals was about the same as the money brought in by sales.

Four players joined in January, although only Ignacio Scocco is contracted into next season. Ten first-teamers left, all on loan.

The uncertainty over which division Sunderland will play in next season has delayed contract talks for many players.

Bardsley and Colback have been offered new deals but are not thought to be happy with the terms.

Short said of the figures: “The directors consider the major risk of the business to be a significant period of absence from the Premier League.

“Ongoing investment in the playing squad aims to reduce this risk.”

Meanwhile, Steve Houston is the club’s new head of scouting and recruitment.

The data analysis expert, who worked with Congerton at Chelsea and SV Hamburg, replaces Valentino Angeloni.

If costs are to be cut youth development will become a higher priority at the Academy of Light and Sunderland’s development squad will take part in Hong Kong’s prestigious Soccer Sevens tournament from 23-25 May.

The Black Cats reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2013.

The 16 teams taking part will include Newcastle United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Rangers and Leicester City.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer