League Two side Newport County have announced “a set of robust actions” after a £1.2 million loss was confirmed in published accounts on Companies House.
The accounts relate to the 2021/22 season, which saw fans return to stadia after Covid restrictions were lifted, although the Exiles were forced to play some games behind closed doors in January after restriction measures were reintroduced by the Welsh government.
Despite the club challenging at the top end of the table for periods, Newport finished 11th in a season that also saw long-standing manager Michael Flynn resign in October, with James Rowberry placed in charge of his hometown team.
Rowberry was sacked after just 13 matches of the 2022/23 season, leaving current boss Graham Coughlan operating on one of the lowest budgets in the fourth division.
County’s accounts reveal a total loss of £1,231,493 for the financial year, with net assets of £837,859 now becoming net liabilities of £393,634.
Their biggest creditor is Dragons RFC, who own and operate Rodney Parade. A 10-year lease to use the near 8,000 capacity stadium was agreed back in 2013, with directors at the football club confident that an extension will be announced imminently.
With structural losses at around £300,000 per season, the board of the Trust-owned club have considered a change in ownership model, whilst directors also confirmed a range of cost saving measures were implemented, including a restructured management team.
A deficit is still expected for 2023, however, there are plans to work towards a neutral budget in 2024, as the South Wales outfit remain confident of sourcing additional revenue.
What’s been said?
“The trading performance for the year has been affected by several factors. Once the board became fully aware of the impact of the challenges faced by the business, it employed a senior industry professional to support and advise,” a board statement read.
“A set of robust actions have been implemented to ensure that improved financial controls are now in place.
“Plans will be reviewed with control and rigour to ensure the necessary business improvements are seen.”
On budget plans and a new stadium lease, the board added:
“Steps have been taken to restructure the management team within the Club whilst specialist external financial support has been obtained.
“This has enabled the Club to stabilise its financial position, and whilst still expecting a deficit for 2023, work towards a neutral budget in 2024.
“As part of these ongoing discussions with the primary creditor, and landlord, progress has been made on finalising an agreement for the current playing lease to be extended and the directors are confident that this extension and revised terms will come into effect imminently.”
We see time and time again how football clubs are not the business you want to go into if you’re there to make profit.
Whilst there will be concerns at the amount of losses, the Newport board appears to have a plan to return to club to a similar state that in found itself in 2021, where they were able to announce a small operating profit.
It will also be comforting news that they look set to continue their football at Rodney Parade, although the Exiles will have to continue resume punching above their weight in League Two.