CUFC finances under the microscope

I’m sure fans are looking forward to being back in Brunton Park when we face Exeter on Saturday following another dramatic game against Tranmere last weekend! Exeter will give us another tough battle, but if the last nine games are anything to go by, we’ve got more than a chance!

The point against Tranmere all but ensures survival. Where many look for 50 points to guarantee safety, a quick look at the table for recent seasons shows that 47 should be enough. But of course, fans, the lads, and Simo want more!

Off the field, this week saw the release of the CUFC company accounts for the 2020/21 season which shed light on the operations of the club through the difficulties of Covid. As the resident finance person of CUOSC, I have been taking a look.

During this season, the absence of the Blue Army in Brunton Park made it financially difficult for Carlisle, as for all clubs. In line with Nigel Clibbens’ previous updates, the accounts showed that the club weathered the Covid storm well. Though the club had a drop in revenue from £4.6m to £4m, the club was supported with help from the Premier League, fans donations of season ticket money, ifollow income, cost savings, Government support, and of course player sales. Wages and salaries, always a club’s biggest cost, remained stable at c. £2.5m. After all income and expenses, the club made a profit of £401k, down from £782k the previous year, which was also helped by player sales.

Of course, the biggest talking point remains the Purepay debt which rose to £2.33m from £2.25m during the reporting period. This remains the biggest issue for directors to resolve. A look at other League Two clubs shows that this is sizable, but debt is not uncommon. For the 19/20 season, Morecambe showed an amount of £2.1m under ‘other borrowings’, and spare a thought for Colchester who have £29m ‘owed to group undertakings’.

However, attention must be drawn to note 1.2 of the accounts that states a ‘material uncertainty’ exists as Purepay ‘have not provided confirmation that they will not seek repayment of the amounts owed’. CUOSC will comment further on this shortly.

I would like to add my praise to the club for the completeness and transparency in the accounts. Having studied football clubs accounts for a few years now, Carlisle’s are amongst the most comprehensive in the entire EFL.

Over the coming weeks, I will be watching League Two clubs’ accounts go on Companies House and look forward to providing a financial overview of the league.

If you are interested in joining CUOSC visit www.cuosc.org.uk It costs £10 a year for adults and £5 for seniors and under-18s.

This week’s article was written by Mark Middling.