The “tale of woe” balance-sheets


May 29, 1915
Meanwhile we have to find something to talk about, and this turns up in the football balance sheets. How inspiring these are to be sure. Of the balance-sheets so far issued that of Manchester City is the only one showing a profit. They made £17; Swindon’s financial statement was issued this week, and it shows that the actual loss on the season was £2,329.

Below are the net results of the clubs whose accounts have been published:

Profit:
Manchester City, £17.

Deficit:
Swindon, £2,329.
Blackburn Rovers, £3,457.
West Bromwich Albion, £2,213.
Middlesbrough, £501.
Sunderland, £3,000.
Preston North end, £1,697.
Notts Forest, £900.
Blackpool, £875.
Everton, £5.

These are the only audited accounts that of income were the receipts from the Cup-ties. The FA document shows that the semi-final tie between Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers at Blackburn realised £1,233 10s. 9d., the other semi-final on Aston Villa’s ground between Everton and Chelsea £1,032 5s. 6d., and the Final Tie at Old Trafford £4,052 9s.

This gives a total from these matches of £6,318 5s. 3d. Compare this sum with amounts from similar matches in recent years, viz.:

The receipts from the semi-finals and final tie:
1906, £6,6,10.
1907, £6,907.
1908, £8,159.
1909, £9.513.
1910, £15,827 (replay both of one semi-final and the final ties).
1911, £13,469 (replayed final).
1912, £13,628 (three replays).
1913, £11,636 (one replay of semi-final).
1914, £11,929 (one replay semi-final).

The amount of this year’s balance-sheet (£6,318 5s. 3d.) is the lowest aggregate for eleven years. Look for second at the decline in the actual Final receipts: –
1906, £6,625.
1907, £7,053.
1908, £5,988.
1909, £6,434.
1910, £6,898.
1911, £6,512.
1912, £6,057.
1913, £9,406.
1914, £6,687.
1915, £4,052.

It will come to no surprise that the semi-finalists and finalists who usually benefit to the extent of thousands must be satisfied with hundreds this journey. This year’s amount is the smallest since 1895.

In the intervening years the money shared out was:
1896, £2,574.
1897, £2,683.
1898, £2,879.
1899, £5,093.
1900, £4,184.
1901, £6,625.
1902, £6,727.
1903, £4,662.
1904, £4,290.
1905, £8,024.
1906, £6,290.
1907, £6,148.
1908, £6,495.
1909, £8,422.
1910, £12,791.
1911, £11,088.
1912, £12,235.
1913, £10,663.
1914, £9,060.

And yet we hear of faddists saying that football was carried on not because there was a lack of patriotism but because there was a cordial desire to make money!

When you come to consider all things it is truly surprising that some of the clubs do not find themselves in an even worse position.
(Sport Argus: May 29, 1914)

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