Cellino has worked wonders - Fans react to stunning Leeds figures that hint at big spending to come
By Alex Stevens
New figures demonstrate Leeds have the lowest wages to turnover ratio of all the clubs in the Championship – and fans have taken to Twitter to hail controversial owner Massimo Cellino.
Award-winning football finance blogger Swiss Ramble has analysed the published financial accounts of all the second-tier clubs for the 2015-16 season.
In 21 separate messages about the findings on its Twitter account on Monday, Swiss Ramble explained how Leeds were a self-sufficient club in far better financial health than their rivals.
The Yorkshire giants’ wages represented 59 per cent of their turnover last season, they earned £7million more commercial income than any other Championship outfit and their revenue excluding Premier League parachute payments was £5million more than any rival.
— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) April 10, 2017
The key indicators show the club are living within their means under Cellino, who owned 100 per cent of the club before selling half his shares to fellow Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani in late December.
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It demonstrated that Leeds are well placed to invest in the playing squad in the summer transfer window even if they do not achieve their principal target of promotion to the top flight.
Fans of the club and rivals pointed out how Leeds’ healthy financials show that Cellino’s reputation as a loose cannon does not apply to sensibly running a football club.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
— Leeds Fan #lufc (@LeedsFanz) April 10, 2017
— Christian Brown (@Chris78901) April 10, 2017
@SwissRamble leeds’ increase mainly due to bringing the catering contracts back in house?
— Wayne Maw (@waynemaw) April 10, 2017
@SwissRamble Although it pains me to say, I’m impressed with how well Leeds have done
— weißer Bär (@Holdo1) April 10, 2017
— Ash Finney (@AshFinney1) April 10, 2017
At football clubs it is widely regarded as healthy if wages represent less than 70 per cent of turnover, with any figure above 80 per cent straying into dangerous territory.
Leeds’ latest set of annual accounts revealed that the wage bill for the 2015-16 campaign was £18.1million on a total turnover of £30.1million, a healthier situation that the previous campaign, when Leeds paid £19.8million in salaries despite revenues of just £24.4million.
Leeds chiefs are bullishly optimistic of turning a profit this season, which has been aided by increased commercial revenue and an average attendance of over 27,000 as well as a net profit in the transfer market under Garry Monk.
Leeds’ finances will take on a totally different slant if they are to achieve their ambitions of winning promotion this season and ending a 13-year spell in the lower leagues.
Monk’s team are fifth in the Championship, five points clear of Fulham in seventh, and well placed to secure a place in the end-of-season play-offs.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.