Wolves and West Brom shelled out over £750,000 more to their highest-paid director than neighbours Aston Villa did last season, according to a report.
The rivals’ salaries topped £1m to dwarf Villa – and even Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle – in last year’s accounts.
Wolves’ highest-paid director, unnamed in the report but understood to be chief executive Jez Moxey, was paid £1.2m despite relegation, while Albion’s top director, believed to be chairman Jeremy Peace, banked £1.1m.
Moxey’s salary was subsequently halved following relegation to the Championship. Villa’s biggest-earning board member, also unnamed but thought to be chief executive Paul Faulkner, only took £256,000.
The league’s top salary was at Manchester United where chief executive David Gill made £2.6m last year.
In the report, players’ wages – £1.6bn – accounted for 67 per cent of Premier League clubs’ turnover for last season and they have spent £4.5bn on wages in the last three years.
Villa’s wage bill, the seventh highest in the league, was down from £83m to £70m, still 87.5 per cent of their turnover.
Albion’s rose from £39m in 2011 to £50m. Wolves’ spending on wages remained at £38m.
A new record TV deal, a projected £5.5bn for the next three years, starts next season to further boost club balances.
But under new financial fair play regulations, they will need to limit their losses to £35m each year if backed by the owner’s cash and £5m if not.
Clubs have also agreed, with the increase of TV money, that only £4m can be spent on increasing players’ wages, although that figure rises to £8m in 2014-15 and £12m in 2015-16.
The extra TV cash will help ease the net level of club debt in the Premier League, which stood at £2.4bn last season.
Wolves and Albion were reported as debt-free while Villa had a £122m debt which was dwarfed by Chelsea’s £878m and Manchester United’s £420m.
But the report showed top-flight clubs are becoming better-run with losses down to £205m last season from £361m in 2010-11.
That was mainly due to Manchester City slashing their losses from £197m in 2011 to £99m last year.
Villa suffered an £18m loss before tax, but that was down from the £54m they lost in 2011.
Albion posted a profit of £1m as Wolves also finished in the black, turning in a £2m profit.
The financial rewards for the highest paid directors at Premier League clubs vastly outstrip directors’ earnings at non-football companies of a similar size.
Gill’s salary at Old Trafford was more than 10 times the average chief executive’s salary at UK companies, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR.