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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Aston Villa look to trim wage bill after 37.6m losses

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier
Houllier could be faced with the prospect of pruning his squad

Aston Villa are looking to reduce their wage bill after revealing losses of £37.6m for the year ending 31 May 2010.

Wages at the club increased by £9m to almost £80m and now account for 88% of Villa's £90m turnover, which actually increased last season by £6m.

"We probably need to have a better balance between the salary [wage bill] and the turnover of the club," said manager Gerard Houllier.

"It won't be done overnight - it will be done gradually."

Villa generated £52m from television revenue, while matchday turnover was £24m and commercial income £14.4m.

The rise in turnover lifted Villa into Europe's top 20 earning clubs for the first time, while the loss last season was £9m less than the previous campaign.

But owner Randy Lerner provided £12.5m during the campaign from a new share issue and a further £12.5m in loan notes.

We want to maximise the potential of our academy and the facilities here are made for players to grow and improve

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier

He also funded the £23.5m purchase of Darren Bent during the January 2011 transfer window.

"First of all, it [the money he has put in] shows how much Randy cares for the club," added Houllier.

"He didn't come here just to try to borrow money and do things. He put in money himself."

The American has invested more than £200m in equity and loan notes since taking charge at Villa Park in 2006 - and the club will need to reduce its reliance on Lerner if they are to comply with Uefa's financial fair play regulations.

The rules, which come into force in 2012-2013, mean teams in European competitions must break even over a rolling three-year period.

Those clubs will only be allowed to incur losses of around £39m over any three-season period.

The losses for last season came during Martin O'Neill's final campaign in charge at the club, with the Northern Irishman resigning as manager in August.

His replacement Houllier brought in Bent, Kyle Walker and Michael Bradley during the January transfer window, while high-profile quartet John Carew, Steve Sidwell, Stephen Ireland and Curtis Davies left the club during the same period.

Carew and Ireland made temporary moves to Stoke and Newcastle, while Sidwell and Davies were sold to Fulham and Birmingham respectively.

And Houllier hinted that he will be looking to bring through players form the club's academy.

Marc Albrighton has broken into the first team at the club, and Houllier added: "We've got a great academy.

"We want to maximise the potential of it and the facilities here are made for players to grow and improve."

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see also
Villa confirm record Bent signing
18 Jan 11 |  Aston Villa
Scudamore supports new Uefa rules
17 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Uefa warning after transfer spree
01 Feb 11 |  Europe
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa

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