Spurs accounts: Stadium move a success but Daniel Levy admits transfer mistakes

Tottenham Hotspur’s recent balance sheets partially justify their owners’ vision of building one of the most beautiful stadiums in world football.

It came at a cost from not investing more in the team (and yes, for some people, that’s where the argument starts and ends), but the money they’re now generating from the stadium will make a significant difference in the club’s long-term spending Perfomance.

In the first full season for Spurs with fans at the new stadium, the club earned £106m ($127.8m) in match revenue, a 12 per cent increase on the £94.5m they made in 2019-20 when that Team reached the last 16 of the Champions League but played the last five games of the season behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That £106m figure is despite Spurs having done little in Europe, with just three poorly attended home games in the Europa Conference League against Pacos de Ferreira, Mura and Vitesse Arnhem. This season’s run in the Champions League, with packed stands and high ticket prices, will bring in even more money.

Spurs generate more than twice the matchday revenue of old White Hart Lane, even without Champions League football. Their last season there, 2016-17, brought in £45.3m in gaming revenue. The year before it was £40.8m.

That huge matchday income contributed almost a quarter of Spurs’ total revenue, which was £444m. That’s the club’s second-highest revenue ever in a year, after the £460.7m it made in 2018/19, boosted significantly by reaching the Champions League final (£108.4m prize money and entrance fees). So basically take last season’s numbers and add in a bit of Champions League football and Spurs are going to have a record year in revenue. Expect that to be smashed in 2022-23.

The new stadium has also had a positive impact on commercial revenues, which are up 20 per cent on a £31.5million increase. Beyonce and Lady Gaga might not make great central defenders, but they’ll pack in a few pounds.

Despite Spurs’ revenue jump from £361m the year before (pandemic season of football) Spurs still lost £61m before tax.

Wages are likely to have risen but will still lag far behind the clubs they compete with, such as Manchester City and Manchester United, whose wage bills are closer to £400m.

What they’ve really increased is transfer spending. They gave more than 150 million Yves Bissouma and Pedro Porro). They will also have to pay Dejan Kulusevski’s permanent transfer fee this summer.

Levy says Spurs board ‘shares fans’ frustration at lack of trophies’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Another point to note is that by the end of 2021-22, £100m of last summer’s £150m equity injection had been spent, meaning a further £50m of that will be reflected in the annual accounts which are due out in 12 months’ time.

In a statement released alongside the figures, chairman Daniel Levy again defended the club’s record spending.

“Our expenses show that we have invested in the team,” he said. “However, we walk a fine line between long-term investments and short-termism. Because of this, our recruitment must be top-notch, as failures at this level have financial and sporting implications for future seasons.

“We have and continue to feel the financial impact of supporting player purchases that have not worked out as planned. We’ve taken steps to improve this area and we believe the recent transfer windows reflect that.

“We share our fans’ frustration with so many ‘near misses’ resulting in a lack of trophies. In the last two decades we’ve been in 14 semi-finals, made it to six finals and won just one of them. It must be our hope that we will soon celebrate a cup victory. We are immensely grateful to our fans who have supported us throughout and we wish nothing more than to see them rewarded for their loyalty and passion.”

On the same day Spurs released their accounts, the CIES Football Observatory released a list of clubs with the highest net transfer spends since 2018-19. Chelsea topped the list with £665m, followed by Manchester United (£595m) and Arsenal (£483m).

Spurs finished fourth with £424m. It was another reminder that while it takes massive investment and spending to maintain a basic level of success in terms of league positions and being consistent in and around Champions League spots, winning honors doesn’t directly correlate to that You spend a lot more than your spending rivals…it is How you spend it And in that regard, more than the specific amount they’ve spent, Spurs have fallen short in recent years. The recruitment (Tanguy Ndombele, Sergio Reguilon, Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso cost the better part of £150m…) just wasn’t good enough.

Biggest backers, Chelsea, won the Champions League in 2021 but have yet to win a domestic trophy in the period these figures are. Manchester United didn’t win anything. Arsenal have won an FA Cup.

Liverpool, who came close to footballing perfection last season, are 10th (£278m). Leicester is not on the list and won the FA Cup in 2021.

Spurs’ reports paint a picture that fits where the club is right now – taking things straight off the field, coming up short but with blueprints for a stable, long-term future. According to the club, the average age of the newcomers is 23 years.

Levy reflects that in his statement, he knows the recruitment wasn’t good enough and he knows Spurs have to fight for honor because if his and ENIC’s era goes by without another trophy being won, they’ll be in for it Remain in memory as a new stadium and training ground. That’s how football works.

The numbers are great – but ultimately Spurs need silverware to justify them.

(Top Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

https://theathletic.com/4177719/2023/02/10/spurs-account-daniel-levy-stadium-transfers/ Spurs accounts: Stadium move a success but Daniel Levy admits transfer mistakes

Russell Falcon

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