A Fairytale Promotion? Financial Records For 2022/23 National League Revealed

National League teams have been publishing their financial accounts for the 2022/23 season and the amount of money spent by the likes of Wrexham, Southend United and Chesterfield is mind-blowing. All figures used in this piece were compiled by football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

Whilst it arguably would have been the most interesting statistic to compare, only three teams published wage data for the previous campaign.

Title winners Wrexham spent £6.9 million on wages over the course of the season, which comes to just under £133,000 per week. Chesterfield, who lost in the play-off final to Notts County, spent a little less than £3.9 million on wages which equates to roughly £75,000 a week. Meanwhile, Southend United, who until recently had been amidst dire financial problems themselves, spent approximately £3.5 million on wages last season.

However, this spending could all be justified by looking at the revenues of the three clubs. Wrexham had a total revenue of £10.5 million last season and Chesterfield and Southend had revenues of £4.5 million and £4 million respectively. By comparison, Barnet, a more moderately spending National League club, earned just under £1.1 million in revenue for the previous term.

Only five clubs paid a transfer fee to sign a player last season, but Wrexham spent 10 times more on transfer fees than any other club. The side from North Wales declared that they had paid just over £1 million on players whilst trying to achieve promotion from non-league. The second-highest spenders were Oldham Athletic who parted with £100,000.

By contrast, Wrexham’s title rivals Notts County only spent £40,000 on players. The other two clubs to pay fees were Southend and Chesterfield.

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The top three teams in last year’s National League made the biggest losses. Wrexham lost over £5.1 million, Notts County £2.7 million and Chesterfield £2.1 million. Solihull Moors and Dagenham and Redbridge, who did not even qualify for the play-offs last season, lost around £1.8 million each.

On the other hand, there were only two sides in the entirety of the fifth tier that made a profit last season. Boreham Wood, who finished in sixth place and were seconds away from a play-off final, made £195,000. Altrincham earned £422,000 last season, the biggest profit margin in the league.

Writer’s View

These stats may make people think that you have to spend big to get out of the National League. But, this is not necessarily the case and you certainly do not need to spend to the extent that Wrexham did in order to achieve promotion. Last season was unique as there were a lot of big clubs in the fifth tier who were showing a lot of ambition and therefore spending a lot.

Altrincham are a great example of not needing to spend big to achieve success in the National League. They were able to make a large profit last season and are now sitting in sixth place this year, perhaps after using the extra money they made to improve the squad.

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