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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 12:59 GMT
Why Leeds have no money
Leeds' share price has tumbled over the past year
Their financial situation has deteriorated rapidly

The big gamble

Leeds were already in the red when, during the 2001-02 financial year, they took out a 60m loan which was secured against future gate receipts.

In theory, using that cash for big-name players would secure Champions League football, and the revenue needed to cover that loan.

Of all the great clubs I have worked with...none have had the infrastructure, commitment and potential of Leeds United

Terry Venables July 2002

But on the pitch Leeds have flopped, and so the much-anticipated 30m revenue has not materialised.

And they now can't even use the income from attendances, because that goes straight into paying off the loan.

Just paying off the interest on the 60m loan costs Leeds around 4.62m annually - and ominously, from September 2004, they will have to start paying back the initial capital as well.

To put all that in perspective, the interest alone accounted for more than half of Leeds' income from merchandising in 2002.

Transfer madness

Mark Viduka 6m
Rio Ferdinand 18m
Robbie Keane 12m
Seth Johnson 7m
Robbie Fowler 11m
Total: 54m

OUT (pre-Venables)
Matthew Jones 3m
Darren Huckerby 3m
David Hopkin 2.5m
Rob Molenaar 0.5m
Total: 9m

(under Venables)

Rio Ferdinand 30m
Robbie Keane 7m
Lee Bowyer 0.1m
Robbie Fowler 3m
J Woodgate 9m
Total: 40.1m

Their transfer spending spree between 2000 and 2002 is now the stuff of legend.

And the club's recent big sale has barely recouped that outlay, while simultaneously incensing supporters.

Robbie Keane and Robbie Fowler were both sold at a loss, while Lee Bowyer's nominal 100,000 fee was a tiny fraction of what he was worth 12 months previously.

Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate brought in cash, but fans did not see profit, merely the array of world-class talent leaving Elland Road.

No value for money

The fact that the Leeds team has failed to live up to expectations on the pitch is not only a bitter pill for fans.

The squad was specifically assembled to win Champions League places over the past two seasons.

In business terms, the absence of Leeds in Europe's premier tournament effectively meant the club invested in a product which did not work.

Other clubs have taken out bond schemes similar to Leeds - but often they have put the cash into stadiums or other more concrete assets.

Players' volatile values make them a risky investment, especially in the current transfer market.

Payroll problems

The sums of money associated with loans, repayments and transfers should not obscure the fact that on a day-to-day basis, the club is running at a loss.

Wages are the big problem.

City experts have warned football clubs not to spend more than 50% of turnover on salaries, but Leeds are currently spending 66%.

While that wage bill is coming down, so is the money coming into the club through TV deals - 34.2m in 2002 compared to 36.6m in 2001.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic is that despite record season ticket sales in 2002, the club's net debt nearly doubled from 39.4m to 77.9m.

Leeds United in crisis

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