Arfield sale and loans kept Bairns alive

Chairman Martin Ritchie said Falkirk struggled to come to terms with life outside the SPL
Chairman Martin Ritchie said Falkirk struggled to come to terms with life outside the SPL

Figures for Falkirk football club’s accounts have revealed how vital the sale of Scott Arfield was to the club.

Arfield’s transfer in summer 2010 to Huddersfield Town netted the Bairns £350,000 and reduced an operating loss of three quarters of a million pounds to little over £400,000 and more than halves the loss incurred during the club’s final year in the SPL. It ended at more more than £900,000 in the red.

Directors, creditors and shareholders also came to the club’s aid with loans of £425,000. “Without these,” said chairman Martin Ritchie, “the business would not have survived.”

As well as Arfield’s sale, the club also flew into a rampant cost-cutting period which saved the club £850,000 between April 2010 and the same time last year, however the effects of operating in the SFL negated the effects of the trimming exercise and the club brought in £1.4m less than the previous year.

It also saw a gross profit for the business of just £190,000 in the SFL compared to £733,000 the previous year.

And although the Arfield money puts a healthier glow on the figures, which will be discussed at the club’s AGM on Monday night, the club financial forecast predicts another loss this year - but does not account for this week’s influx of almost half a million pounds from two transfers.

Mr Ritchie would not comment on the accounts before the meeting, but in his letter to shareholders said the year to May 2011 was “a year in which we struggled to come terms with life outside the SPL.”

He added that although there had been a reduction in losses and that the club expects further improvements this year, the “losses, on top of losses incurred in the previous year, put severe cash pressure on the club.”

However, the chairman was not all doom and gloom and reveals a plan to invest further in the club’s Academy to achieve ‘elite’ status with the SFA.

“The sale of players is becoming a regular and more predictable form of income.

“In 2010-11 we received £350,000 and (by January 2012) we have already received £162,000.

“This could increase depending on the outcome of the Mark Stewart FIFA appeal.”