Bristol City record £28.5m loss but CEO claims it is a ‘step in the right direction’

Bristol City’s accounts for the 2021/22 season have been published, with CEO Richard Gould giving his take.

Departing CEO Richard Gould claims that Bristol City’s losses of £28.5m is a ‘step in the right direction’ after the club’s 2021/22 accounts were published. Gould is leaving to take up a role at the England and Wales Cricket board, but has held an influential role with the club since 2021.

The Robins posted yesterday the pre-tax loss which is under £2 million shy of £30m, but is an improvement of what City lost for 2020/21, which was £38.4m. Fans were permitted back into stadiums after a season-and-a-half in which spectators weren’t allowed.

City had the eighth best home attendance record in the Championship last season, welcoming 19,141 fans on average. The return of fans resulted in an increase in revenue of £4.5m, which was a major increase given minimal income from ticket sales the season prior.

Despite the losses, Gould stated at a Fans Forum last month, that he is confident that the club will avoid any punishment over Financial Fair Play rules in the EFL. There had been fears that the club could incur a points deduction, which has been given to clubs like Derby County, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday over the last few years.

“An improvement of £9.9m on the prior season loss is a step in the right direction,” said Gould to the official club website. However, although we are pleased with the resilience shown in bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic, recording a large loss again this year demonstrates that there is a lot of work left to do.”

Kieran Maguire, a British academic, specialises in football accountancy and his findings showed that City lost £500,000 a week over the course of last season and paid £102 in wages for every £100 of revenue. It has given them a total loss of £198m ever since Lansdown became chairman of the club, over 20 years.

The wage bill at Bristol City fell by £5m, having let go of several first-team players. They pocketed £1.3m in player sales, which was down almost £5m year-on-year. City in previous years have sold players for sizable fees such as Adam Webster, Lloyd Kelly and Josh Brownhill.

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on the transfer market with revenue streams impacted. It meant that top tier clubs explored different markets for players, which has had a knock on effect on clubs in the lower levels of English football.

Adam Nagy and George Nurse were the only players that City sold for a price last season, having been sold to Pisa and Shrewsbury Town for undisclosed fees respectively, whilst 15 players were released.

Gould added: “We benefited from our supporters being able to return to Ashton Gate, from both a financial and an atmospheric viewpoint and we are forever grateful for their support.  The transfer market has shown only minimal signs of returning to the level it was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.”