The West Midlands’ football clubs made a combined loss of £87.5 million last year – as only West Bromwich Albion made a profit of any note.
Financial struggles at Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers were behind the loss, which compares to an overall profit of £1.3 million last year.
The downturn in fortunes meant that the six clubs – which also includes Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Walsall and Coventry City – saw overall revenue fall by almost 16 per cent.
The overall figure became clear this week when Premier League West Bromwich Albion posted a profit of £6 million for the year ending June 2013, compared to £1.5 million the previous year.
The major hit on the balance sheet came after Wolverhampton Wanderers recorded a second successive relegation and Aston Villa’s losses grew due to less income from player sales.
Birmingham City and Coventry City – both of which are going through troubled times at present – both posted losses, while perennially profitable Walsall was £23,000 in the black.
Former Leeds United chairman Gerald Krasner, a football finance expert and partner at Begbies Traynor, told the Post the onset of the Premier League 20 years ago has had a major impact on the balance sheets of all professional clubs.
He said: “This is indicative of football, because hardly any clubs don’t make a loss these days.
“Premier League clubs are reliant on billionaire owners, and in the lower divisions they survive on selling off players.
“You have to be a very rich person to run a football club now.”
He added: “Football has changed a lot in 15 years. Previously the lower division were the feeder, and would get income by selling players to the old Division One.
“Now the Premier League clubs look abroad which has had a major impact on the lower divisions.”
The six clubs turned over a total of £221 million in the 2013 financial year, compared with £262.2 million the year before.
The major hit was from Wolves, which saw revenue plummet from £60.6 million in its last year in the Premier League to £32.1 million last year.
The results confirm that the Premier League remains the only place to be in terms of income, with the two top flight clubs being the only two to see revenue fall rather than rise.
Aston Villa’s turnover rose to £83.7 million, from £80 million the year before, while West Brom’s turnover of £69.7 million compares to £66.7 million.
However, Villa showed that profitability does not necessarily follow. The club posted a loss of £51.8 million, while Wolves lost £30.4 million.
At Villa, while previous balance sheets were propped up by major sales like Steward Downing and Ashley Young, there was no such knight in shining armour last year.
Birmingham City suffered as a result of an earlier relegation from the Premier League, while still suffering from high wages, while the sudden fall of Wolves meant that the club had been unable to match costs with income.
Perhaps the most startling data from the clubs is the comparison with wages to turnover.
Coventry City actually paid out more in wages than it brought in en masse – a wage bill of £7 million as compared to a turnover of £6.6 million.
Elsewhere, Wolves’ £31.1 million wage bill left little considering a turnover of £32.1 million, Blues £22.9 million wage bill accounts for almost 95 per cent of sales and Aston Villa paid out £71.9 million – 86 per cent of total revenue.
West Brom are yet to file accounts with Companies House, and hence this data is not available, while League One Walsall, which always posts a small profit, invests £2.5 million of its £4.8 million turnover in wages.