CHESTER FC’s second set of annual accounts show the supporter-owned club made a small loss last season.
Figures sent to City Fans United members this week revealed that Chester had lost £2,970 in their title-winning 2011-12 campaign.
That is in contrast to the £107,626 profit that the reborn Blues – boosted by the money raised by CFU to start up the club – posted after their maiden 2010-11 season.
Turnover went up 11% from £815,554 to £902,521.
Within that, matchday income rose from £243,729 to £281,731, an increase of £38,002 that means the club made an extra £1,652 per game.
Commercial revenue was up, from £89,889 to £136,754, but club shop revenue and bar and restaurant revenue both fell, from £96,464 to £71,953 and from £89,077 to £70,070 respectively.
Programme sales accounted for £29,445 of the turnover. That means the club made just £603 on them. However, the programmes bring in advertising revenue between £5,000-£10,000.
Administrative expenses went up from £527,420 to £790,144, a rise of 50%.
Within that, staff costs – which include wages to anyone employed by the club, both part-time and full-time – rose from £294,975 to £416,713.
Match costs were up, from £44,388 to £67,762, as were rent and utilities, from £16,000 to £24,000 and £41,323 to £48,295 respectively.
The setting up of the club’s blossoming junior and youth section, meanwhile, cost £14,306.
Pat Cluskey, Chester’s chief executive, gave The Chronicle his thoughts on the accounts.
He said: “We would rather not have posted a small loss but I think if people take the time to go through the accounts I think they will see some of the changes that have arisen.
“For example the rent and utilities are based on a 12-month period and the club didn’t have the stadium for a whole 12 months for the previous accounts.
“There was also an increase in match costs in so far as the capacity has increased and so the number of stewards has increased.
“Staff costs have increased and there are a number of reasons behind that. We suffered a number of long-term injuries to players like Michael Wilde, Ashley Williams, John Danby and Matty McNeil, which led us to bringing in additional to players to maintain the strength of the squad. We also made the decision to invest in the future by bringing in the likes of Antoni Sarcevic, Matty McGinn and Marc Williams.
“In the first year we only had one full-time employee and that was myself – and that was not for the whole year. Last year we had two.
“Club shop and bar and restaurant revenue decreased but we have recognised this and it was one of the reasons why we expanded the shop and made changes to the catering side of the business and developed the Legends Lounge.
“With regards to the utilities side of the things, we’ve negotiated with a local company to reduce gas and electricity costs for this year.”
The Blues had £179,945 cash in the bank and in hand at the end of May, although that figure included the first batch of season ticket sales for the current campaign.
With Neil Young’s side pushing for a third straight promotion, the club could soon be playing in the Blue Square Bet Premier, a division which contains 15 full-time clubs.
Cluskey said: “Revenues have to improve, whichever league we’re in.
“We’ve got new sponsors in the pipeline and we’ve got some innovative ideas for fundraising.
“But the higher up we go the more difficult it will be so we need to increase our revenue and our fan base and not rely on the same people for money.”
The accounts were released ahead of the club’s AGM on November 29.