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Wolves finances revealed: Revenue down despite promotion as parachute payments drop

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Wolves made pre-tax profits of more than £2.4 million last year – but a drop in Premier League parachute payments dented turnover, according to the club's official accounts.

Jez Moxey and Steve Morgan

The headline profit is offset by a loss of more than £1.6m to the club's property account caused largely by a depreciation of the Molineux stadium. It means that over 2014/15 profits were reduced to around £700,000, as revealed to the Fans' Parliament last month.

The club's annual report and statements for the financial year ending May 31 shows turnover for 2014/15 dropped from £32.6 million to £26.4m, despite the promotion from League One the previous season.

This is due partly to an £8.9m drop in parachute payments from the Premier League after relegation in 2012.

This season will see the last of the payments – believed to be around £8m – leaving the club with a substantial financial challenge over the coming 12 months.

In addition, while any profit is welcomed in the turbulent world of football finances, the figures do not make especially encouraging reading for any potential buyers.

Owner Steve Morgan stepped down as a director in October last year and has put the club up for sale.

One director, thought to be chief executive Jez Moxey, was paid £430,000 with a further £75,000 pumped into his pension fund. The total of £505,000 was up £16,000 from the previous year.

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Wolves' accounts are published in two parts to reflect the activities of the football club and its properties portfolio.

Overall profits fell from £8.4m to £2.423m, a decrease that can partly be explained by a near-£9m fall in parachute payments after dropping out of the top flight in 2011/12.

A small chunk of this is offset by an increase of £1m in Football League funding as well as increased income from ticketing and commercial ventures.

The report says gate receipts were £5.6m for 2014/15, up more than £350,000 on the previous season.

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And sponsorship and advertising turnover increased by £836,000 to £3.1m.

Benik Afobe, who now plays for Bournemouth, was Wolves' most expensive purchase of the year

The report includes an annual review, which states that player trading generated a net profit of £123,000, while a £2.5m profit in player sales was 'almost entirely offset' by paying off players' contracts.

The club spent £3.5m on players over the year, with the now departed Benik Afobe commanding the biggest fee of around £1.8m.

Other players coming into the club included George Saville, Rajiv van La Parra, Tommy Rowe and Tomas Kuszczak, while among those to depart were Tongo Doumbia, Stephen Ward, David Davis and Anthony Forde.

Wolves spokesman Matt Grayson said Wolves were committed to 'openness and transparency' and added: "The club's profit for 2014/15 was £700,000, as previously reported and discussed at the Fans' Parliament."

Steve Morgan has committed to supporting the club 'until the point of sale'

According to the report the club employed 248 people over the period, including 66 on the playing staff. Total wages were £15.6m, rising to £17.7m when social security and pension costs are included.

Overall wages went up by £1.3m over the year. The club has made a £2.7m provision for 'onerous contracts that are ongoing'. These are thought to involve players who have left the club, but are still being paid.

The report says: "The aim for the club remains to gain promotion back to the Premier League as soon as possible.

"The team, which continues to include a number of academy graduates in a young squad, has had an inconsistent start to the 2015/16 season but retains the potential, at least, to be play-off contenders by the end of the season."

Home league attendances for the season increased by 1,563 from 20,860 to 22,423, while season ticket sales rose from 11,817 in 2013-2014 to 13,998.

The year the figures relate to also saw the completion and opening of the club's high-tech training facility in Compton, complete with full size 3G pitch, dressing rooms, medical facilities and gym.

The statement says this 'confirms the club's commitment to the recruitment and development of talented youngsters'.

The report by auditors Deloitte relates to the third of four years that Wolves were entitled to parachute payments following the club's relegation from the Premier League.

Some of the figures in the report were first presented to the Wolves Fans Parliament last month at a meeting attended by Mr Moxey, chief financial officer Rita Purewal and club secretary Richard Skirrow.

The report notes Mr Morgan's intention to sell Wolves but reiterates that 'he has given a commitment to continue to support the club until the point of sale'.

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