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Last Updated: Monday, 31 March, 2003, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Leeds cash crisis deepens
Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale
Ridsdale insisted Leeds had to sell to survive
Leeds United have posted a loss of 17.2m as the cash-strapped club continues to haemorrhage money.

The club's debt had climbed to 78.9m by 31 December, according to results released to the Stock Exchange, and that figure does not include the pay-off to be negotiated for former manager Terry Venalbes

Sacked 10 days ago, Venables' annual contract was worth 2m.

Leeds could also have to pay out 2m in compensation to the former England coach.

Peter Ridsdale, who has resigned as chairman, said: "The figures for the past half year are disappointing and reflect the fact that we missed out for the second year running on qualification for the Champions League."

"Having assembled a squad with a cost base that required regular European football this has led to a requirement to reduce overall costs and particularly those of the playing squad.

"Having made a change of football manager with the appointment of Terry Venables at the start of the season results on the field have been extremely disappointing.

"This has led to a lower number of live Sky games. Since the half-year end.

"We took the decision to make a further change of football manager with Peter Reid being appointed for the last eight games of the season.

"The ongoing challenge will continue to be to get the cost base into line with anticipated revenue streams. Further action will be needed in the coming months to achieve this.

Supporters had hoped the controversial sale of star players would have dented debts that reached 77.9m last June.

Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane, Robbie Fowler, Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate - some of the club's 'crown jewels' - have all been sold in the last year.

Olivier Dacourt's move to Roma has also trimmed the wage bill.

Rio Ferdinand: Man Utd, 30m
Jonathan Woodgate: Newcastle, 8m
Robbie Keane: Tottenham, 7m
Robbie Fowler: Man City, 6m
Lee Bowyer: West Ham, 100,000

Six months ago the Elland Road club's plc announced pre-tax losses of nearly 34m.

Those results were also described by Ridsdale as "very disappointing."

That figure did not include the 37m generated by the sale of Ferdinand to Manchester United and Keane to Tottenham, nor the 2.75m spent in recruiting Nick Barmby from Liverpool.

The latest set of figures did not include any settlement with sacked manager Terry Venables.


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