ANOTHER week, another Covid battering for one of Europe’s big football institutions. This time, it’s Tottenham Hotspur, who announced a pre-tax loss of £ 80.2 million for 2020-21 and an increase in their net debts of over £ 100 million.
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy admitted the pandemic has had a negative impact on the club but equally, hailed Tottenham’s robust nature. The club’s revenues were down by around 11% to £ 361.9 million (2020: £ 402.4m), largely due to the loss of matchday income, which slumped by 98% to £ 1.9 million. Thankfully, resilience came in the form of media income, which rose by 42% to £ 208.1 million, while commercial revenues were down by just under 6% to £ 151.9 million.
Spurs’ loss of £ 80.2 million represented a swing of over £ 200 million since 2018 when they made a profit of £ 138.9 million. This is the second successive year of sizeable losses, coming after 2020’s £ 67.7 million deficit. Furthermore, they have lost £ 100 million in revenues since 2019. More positively, since leaving their ancestral home of White Hart Lane in 2017, the club’s commercial revenues have more than doubled.
Also within that timeframe, Tottenham’s wage bill has climbed by over 60% – from £ 127 million in 2016-17 to £ 205 million in 2020-21, making them one of the biggest payers in English football. The wage-to-income ratio is now 56.63%, still low by Premier League standards, but the highest over the past five years by some distance.
Tottenham were one of Europe’s biggest spenders in 2021, gross transfer fees amounting to just under £ 100 million – they spent more than Liverpool, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid.
As well as the loan deal involving Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, Spurs paid out big fees for Sergio Reguilón (Real Madrid, £ 25m), Pierre Emile Højbjerg (Southampton, £ 15m) and Matt Doherty (Wolves, £ 13.4m). On the other side of the balance sheet, they sold Kyle Walker-Peters to Southampton for £ 12 million. The club’s profit on player sales amounted to £ 18.9 million, which was highest profit since 2018. It remains to be seen if they will sell Harry Kane in 2021-22 and cash-in on one of their prize assets. According to Transfermarkt, Kane is still worth over £ 100 million, although his market value has declined by 20% over the past 18 months.
Spurs have grown significantly over the past decade, but they have yet to fulfil the potential of their new stadium due to the pandemic and a downturn in their fortunes on the pitch. A combination of these setbacks, along with the financial cost of relocation to their magnificent ground has also seen gross debt increase to £ 853.9 million and their net debt position grow to £ 706.3 million.
Spurs missed out on Champions League or Europa League qualification for 2021-22, but they are competing in the Europa Conference League and should be one of the favourites. They also have a new manager in the form of Antonio Conte, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo who was only appointed last summer. They are still waiting to win their first trophy since 2008.
Daniel Levy, summing-up the financial results for 2020-21, commented: “Sustainability is a key word in football. We have seen how fragile the finances of a football club can be and the impact of losses on the stability of the football pyramid. As custodians we have to protect the club for future generations of fans…We remain relentlessly ambitious and are determined to deliver honours and make our supporters proud.”