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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 13:05 GMT
Saints reveal cash loss
James Beattie has been prolific for Southampton
Beattie has been prolific for Southampton
Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe has admitted the Premiership club have to cut their costs.

The club's latest results revealed losses of over 3.5m for the sixth months up to the end of November, compared with a 5.4m profit for the same period in 2001.

The deficit of over 2.5m was a result of spending 4m on Michael Svensson and Antti Niemi last summer, following the 8.1m sale of Dean Richards to Tottenham in September 2001.

But Lowe was upbeat, insisting that the move to St Mary's Stadium has increased matchday revenue by 34 per cent to 5.9m.

And he said broadcasting revenue also rose by almost a fifth to just over 7m.

But a 1.5m increase in turnover - to 16.3 - still resulted in a loss of 3.573m.

And he admitted that Saints' wage bill had spiralled to over 9m in the half year prior to 30 November - a jump of 14%.

Lowe said: "Our costs remain too high following the massive rises in players' and coaches' wages over the last few years.

"It is very difficult to control costs without the risk of losing talented players who are essential to the main task of running a successful football club - i.e. winning football matches.

"The currently perilous financial state of the football industry should help correct its historical excesses, but it will take time.

"We are well placed relative to most of our competitors and despite the high-risk nature of footballing revenues, we believe that we have an exciting six months in prospect."

Last month, Saints sold Moroccan defender Tahar El-Khalej and Ecuadorian midfielder Cleber Chala to trim their wage bill.

But after virtually securing Premiership safety for next year, and banking on at least five televised games in the second half of this season, Saints made a double swoop on transfer deadline day.

Manager Gordon Strachan signed Danny Higginbotham from Derby for 1.5m and splashed out 2.5m on Nottingham Forest's England Under-21 midfielder David Prutton.

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