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.Subscribe to our Newsletter