The piece on our Admin expenses costs I did yesterday provoked some comment on the messageboard I posted it on (more on that later), but I accept that it is hard to put the figures into context without more information, so I’m going to add our wage costs and turnover for the same period to the equation in this piece to try and get a better understanding of what has been happening at our club over the past eleven years.
I’m using the “wages and salaries” figure shown under the heading Staff numbers and costs in the accounts;-
y/e 31/5/01 (what is now League 2) = £3,319,876
As for turnover, the figure comes from the Consolidated profit and loss account for the period covered;-
y/e 31/5/01 = £2,754,367
% of wages to turnover = 120%
y/e 31/5/02 (what is now League 1)
wages = £6,043,479
turnover = £6,317,032
% of wages to turnover = 96%
y/e 31/5/03 (what is now League 1)
wages = £8,390,416
turnover = £7,252,029
% of wages to turnover = 116%
y/e 31/5/04 (what is now the Championship)
wages = £9,781,123
turnover = £9,550,781
% of wages to turnover = 102%
y/e 31/5/05 (what is now the Championship)
wages (from this year “social security costs” and “other pension costs” appeared in the accounts, so the figure I give from now will include them) = £10,569,727
turnover = £8,182,419
% of wages to turnover = 129%
y/e 31/5/06 (what is now the Championship) – Peter Ridsdale arrives
wages = £8,087,739
turnover = £8,008568
% of wages to turnover = 101%
N.B. There was also a payment of £201,745 to W H Sports Group for “consultancy services”
y/e 31/5/07 (what is now the Championship) – Sam Hammam leaves
wages = £9,616,754
turnover = £10,677,459
% of wages to turnover = 90%
N.B. There was also a payment of £534,490 to W H Sports Group for “consultancy services” and there was a bonus of £500,000 paid to Peter Ridsdale for his work in getting the new ground approved and reducing the Langston loan note debt.
y/e 31/5/08 (what is now the Championship) – FA Cup Final appearance
% of wages to turnover = 105%
N.B. There was a payment of £325,000 to W H Sports Group for “consultancy services”, also, the “highest paid director received £204,000 during the year”.
y/e 31/5/09 (what is now the Championship) – Club leaves Ninian Park at end of period
turnover = £10,400,966
% of wages to turnover = 130%
N.B. There was a payment of £325,000 to W H Sports Group for “consultancy services”, also, the “highest paid director received £400,000 during the year”.
y/e 31/5/10 (what is now the Championship) – Club’s first season at Cardiff City Stadium, Peter Ridsdale leaves and Malaysian investors arrive at end of period
% of wages to turnover = 99%
N.B. There was a total of £899,000 paid in Director’s remunerations - the “highest paid director received £350,000 during the year excluding compensation for loss of office” (that compensation is given as £172,000 elsewhere in the accounts).
y/e 31/5/11 (what is now the Championship)
wages = £15,762,000
turnover = £15,947,000
% of wages to turnover = 99%
So, my understanding of the Football Leagues Financial Fair Play Rules (I’ll be happy to be corrected if I’ve got this wrong) is that we would have been liable to sanctions under them for each of the seasons listed.
Although I again don’t intend to go into much analytical detail about these figures because I don’t have the expertise required to do that well enough, I’d argue that they do support my opinion that the damage was really done in the years 2000-2004. Effectively, we’ve been paying for ridiculous spending seen in the years before we got to the Championship – I’d say the extent to which we are being dragged down by the Langston debt can be seen by the figures for y/e 31/5/06 when a genuine effort to cut costs took place in the aftermath of black Friday and we still ended up with wage costs above our turnover.
I’d just like to return to the Admin expenses figures I referred to yesterday now to show them as a percentage of annual turnover;-
2001 = 32%
2002 = 24%
2003 = 26%
2004 = 55%
2005 = 64%
2006 = 39%
2007 = 53%
2008 = 32%
2009 = 57%
2010 = 52%
2011 = 38%
I’m grateful to Keith Morgan (Since 62) for providing those figures from 2006 onwards. Keith, who is just about the most respected City fan posting on messageboards when it comes to the club’s finances, provided some analysis of the figures he had come up with in the messageboard thread created to discuss the findings in my piece yesterday by saying
“ So wide fluctuations , even though admin expenses should normally not go up in line with turnover (you would usually expect things like admin and ground staff costs to remain fairly constant).
It may be that business rates on the new stadium are higher than Ninian Park , but I would expect ground maintenance costs to be lower even in a bigger stadium as it is so new.
One of the costs included in admin. would be the huge costs (about £500k)of defending the Langston Summary Judgement claim as the judge only awarded costs against Langston of less than £100k.”
Keith also stated that the very high Admin expenses figure in y/e 31/5/10 could be, partially, explained by the appointment of two “acquaintances” of Peter Ridsdale as stadium manager (we already had one!) and press officer respectively.
The last eleven years have been very exciting ones on the pitch for City fans (the best times I’ve seen supporting the club), but, for me, the club’s accounts for that period show that there has been a price to pay and with, each passing year, that price, potentially at least, gets higher and higher. We are lucky in that Vincent Tan may offer a way for us to break free of the financial strictures which have dogged the club for so long because he has the wealth to do so. However, I believe it’s fair to say that, even amongst those supporters who are prepared to accept the change of kit which has been imposed on us, there is a feeling that we are moving towards a truly decisive period in Cardiff City’s recent history and there is certainly no guarantee of a happy ending – a decade or more of being a footballing basket case in the financial sense may be coming home to roost.
by The other Bob Wilson
There was a thread on one of the messageboards yesterday which led to me checking the club’s latest accounts (up to 31/5/11) for clarification of our wage bill and turnover. While doing so, I came across some figures for the period which struck me as being unbelievably high and so I resolved to do some further digging. The figure appeared under the heading “Administrative Expenses” in the Group profit and loss account (which is on page 7 for anyone who has access to the accounts) and is for the period ending 31/5/10 – it’s reported as being £8,870,000.
Being a bit of a numbskull when it comes to finance and accounting, I thought it best to find out what exactly is meant by “Administrative expenses” in this context and found this explanation. From here, I decided to obtain club accounts going back as far as I could from Companies House to find out how much we had been spending under this category down the years. Ideally, it would have been possible to compare pre Sam Hammam figures with the ones from since he became involved with the club, but as a new company was formed in 2000/01, now called Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Limited, which has been used to show the group accounts since then, I couldn’t find any info prior to 2000.
I should also say that there are a few things which raise questions about the accounts down the years. For example, the Admin expenses figure for a particular season varies from one year to the next – I suppose this could be explained by errors coming to light later on, which would tend to suggest that the retrospective figures (i.e. the 2004 figure shown in the 2005 accounts for comparison purposes) is the more accurate one, but I have included both figures shown where this happens. Also, one of the first things which you read in the 00/01 Accounts is the following;-
“The company was incorporated on 1 August 2000.
The company changed it’s name from Ferwood Limited to Ferwood Holdings Limited on 18 April 2000.”
Now, I don’t think you need to have worked in Companies House (as I have done) to spot the mistake there. A limited company cannot change it’s name before it is incorporated because it doesn’t exist until it’s incorporation date. It seems pretty obvious that 18 April 2000 should read 18 April 2001 and you have to wonder as to the accuracy of some elements of the documents if they can be signed off while containing such a basic error.
Anyway, here are the yearly Admin expenses figures for the period 2000 to 2011
year ending 31/5/01 (whilst in today’s League Two) = £889,727
y/e 31/5/02 (in League One) = £1,543,090
y/e 31/5/03 (in League One) = £1,917,819
y/e 31/5/04 (in Championship) = £2,537841 (however the figure for this period is shown as £5,324,229 in the accounts for y/e 31/5/05)
y/e 31/5/05 (in Championship) = £5,266,234
y/e 31/5/06 (in Championship) = £3,089,826
y/e 31/5/07 (in Championship) = £5,705,544
y/e 31/5/08 (in Championship) = £4,111,257
y/e 31/5/09 (in Championship)= £4,974,425
y/e 31/5/10 (in Championship) = £8,870,000
y/e 31/5/11 (in Championship) = £6,169,000
Just a couple of general observations – first a figure of nearly £900,000 in Admin expenses for a club in the basement seems an awful lot now, let alone eleven years ago and, secondly, you can see the drop in 05/06 when the club went on a economic kick during Peter Ridsdale’s first full season, but, apart from last year, the general trend is undoubtedly upwards and it could be argued they reflect the “Premiership or bust” approach which, I believe, has existed at Cardiff City since the middle of the last decade.
Now, I have my own opinion of these figures and, when I first saw them, my instinct was to write about the disgraceful over spending at the club with too many people too willing to say “stick it on the slate” (I’m currently working my way through my catalogue of Minder DVD’s!). However, on reflection, I do not have the expertise to go making accusations like that because it might be that these figures are perfectly reasonable and respectable when you take into account things like the move to a new ground and the legal costs the club has incurred in fighting actions bought by Langston and HMRC, so, I’ll just put the figures out there for general discussion and the opinions of people better equipped to interpret them than me.
What I must say though is that if you use the more logical, to me at least, criteria of applying the later figure where two are given, the total for Admin expenses since Sam Hammam took over is £48,830,258. Make of that what you will, but with Vincent Tan talking about having put something like £20 million into the club throughout 11/12, I don’t see any reason for the upward trend to change with the Admin expenses figure since August 2000 going well past the £50 million mark when this year’s accounts are released.by The other Bob Wilson