Leeds United are in a strong enough position to be able to cope should they be relegated from the Premier League this season. That’s according to an Angus Kinnear-written report included in the club’s latest accounts, which were released on Sunday morning, prior to the club’s 5-1 drubbing against Crystal Palace at Elland Road.
The defeat leaves Leeds sitting 16th in the Premier League table and just two points above the relegation zone as they approach the final eight games of the campaign. As such, at the time of writing, their position in the top flight is at real risk and head coach Javi Gracia will be doing all he can over the coming weeks to avoid dropping into the bottom three.
However, the numbers posted last season appear to give the board confidence regarding the club’s long-term standing and future in the top flight. Leeds recorded a turnover of £189m during their second season back in the Premier League and that’s a rise of £18m from the previous year, with growths in merchandise sales, commercial revenue streams and ticket sales being credited.
The accounts also show an operating loss of £34m, with total losses over the year amounting to £151m, while it has been revealed Leeds paid £15.5m to settle their Jean-Kevin Augustin transfer dispute and £3.5m to part ways with Marcelo Bielsa following his dismissal in February 2022. Such figures give an accurate representation of the club’s financial footing and Kinnear believes United would be able to handle a temporary setback.
The chief executive has described the club’s financial management as ‘prudent’, while he also insists the depth and youth of the squad they have managed to assemble would only bolster their position of security in the event of relegation.
Kinnear’s strategic report reads: “The group saw an increase in turnover from £171m to £189m despite a £14.9m reduction in central distributions reflecting a 17th place finishing place at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season versus 9th place in the prior season. Merchandise sales were the key area of success growing by 23.6% from £20.3m to £25.1m. Other commercial revenue stream comprising mainly sponsorship, advertising and other events increased by 25.9% to £18.9m. Ticketing revenues increased by 1,175% from £1.9m to £24.6m as a result of the return of fans.
“The strong commercial results in the club’s second season in the Premier League continues to illustrate the potential of Leeds United being the only club’s the United Kingdom’s third biggest city [sic]. This should prove a structural competitive advantage that can be leveraged to secure Premier League status over the long term.
“Simultaneously the club’s prudent financial management and development of a squad with depth and youth meant that it has the capability to sustain a temporary loss of Premier League status without altering its long-term trajectory.”