Following the release of the club's annual accounts, Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has paid tribute to Tony Bloom and to the club's staff for their ongoing commitment to the club - and has also told fans that not only do the club not have to sell players in January, but Chris Hughton will have access to funds to further strengthen the squad during the transfer window if the right players are available.
He said, "The figures are in line with our expectations. Obviously last season was unexpectedly difficult. Ticket sales fell, merchandising sales fell and, on top of that, our Football League income dropped too.
"Against such a backdrop, keeping our turnover ticking over was the first priority. The second thing, in order to make sure any revenue shortfall didn't affect our football operations, we had to take some costs out of our business without affecting our services to supporters.
"In football it's always tough to boost revenues when results on the field are not going your way and to further reduce costs when you've been doing just that over successive years. But we managed to meet both objectives – and that was down to the hard work of our staff. Give or take, we managed to keep our overall income static, despite reductions in key areas, and the cost savings we made allowed us to spend more on our football operations.
"Ultimately, it came down to finding ways of improving existing deals, maximising income from cup games, better negotiating with suppliers, and getting departments to look at their costs and work harder to bring them down. We didn’t make any redundancies to make the cost savings, it was about all areas of the club being more efficient.
"We have continued that philosophy into this season, and as a result we are in a good position going into the January transfer window. We have some funds to invest in January - but as ever we will do it in the right way, for the right player, at the right price."
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Barber paid special tribute chairman Tony Bloom, adding, "In football, people talk about spending - or losing - millions of pounds almost flippantly. It's still very important to remember that Tony Bloom is covering our annual losses of £10.4 million - and as a result we are not under pressure to sell players. Tony has incredibly deep pockets but we don’t ever take his incredible generosity towards our club for granted.
"Championship clubs need to be spending the sort of money we are spending to be competitive, but it is certainly easier to do this if you have higher incomes supported by parachute payments.
"We do talk about encouraging our supporters to come to the ground early, stay later, and if you are going to buy a pie and a pint before or after a game then buy it from us. Quite simply, all the income we can generate, however small it may seem, helps to ease the financial burden on Tony and to make our cub more financially sustainable in the short and longer term".
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