Walsall FC has become the third Black Country club to post a profit in recent weeks after revealing flat growth in a “very difficult climate”.
The Bescot Stadium club managed to remain in the red with a £9,000 overall profit in the year to May 31, despite a fall in operating profit.
That came after a very small rise in turnover at the League One club, from £5.36 million to £5.38 million, despite chairman Jeff Bonser admitting times were tough.
This comes after Premier League neighbours West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers posted profits of £9 million and £2.2 million respectively – despite a relatively low percentage of football clubs remaining in the black.
The club, which owes £2.46 million to its directors, also managed to reduce its net debt by £241,000 to £2.56 million across the year.
In his chairman’s statement, Mr Bonser said: “I am pleased to report that we once again achieved a trading profit, this time of £9,000.
“I believe that this represents a considerable achievement in what continues to be a very difficult financial climate and reconfirms our promise to reinvest all profits into the playing side of the business.”
Mr Bonser gave credit to manager Dean Smith for turning round the club’s fortunes last season, after it seemed bound for relegation to League Two for much of the year.
He said: “On the field it was for the most part a very difficult season. The early season optimism soon ebbed away and we found ourselves in the midst of a very real, and at times seemingly inevitable, battle against relegation.
“However, the appointment of Dean Smith in early January 2011, initially as caretaker manager but later confirmed in the position on a full time basis, proved to be a turning point in our season.”
The club enjoyed a slight rise in match receipts, from £883,000 in 2010 to £892,000 last year, while other income increased by £10,000, to £4.49 million.
The club managed to reduce staff costs – aided by reducing the playing staff on the wage bill from 49 to 41. The overall cost, after pension and social security bills are taken into account, fell from £2.85 million last year to £2.76 million.
Directors’ remuneration also fell, to £111,000 from £120,000 in 2010.
Walsall currently owes £2.46 million in loans to directors, with Mr Bonser owed £1.79 million.
New director Leigh Pomlett lent the club £200,000 on an interest-free basis during the 2011 financial year.
The Post revealed this week that Wolverhampton Wanderers had posted a profit for the second season, although it fell to £2.2 million, compared to more than £9 million the year before.
West Brom’s profits soared to £9 million in the first year back in the Premier League.
Elsewhere in the Midlands, Aston Villa saw losses soar to £53.9 million, while Birmingham City has failed to post its accounts, meaning a transfer embargo has been placed on the club.