January 18, 2023 10.33 am This story is over 15 months old

£2m loss for Lincoln City in club’s annual accounts despite fans’ return to stadium

Investment also eclipsed £2 million, however

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincoln City recorded a £2 million loss in the last financial year, with a significant boost in staff costs on the playing side of the football club reflecting a modern trend in the sport.

The Imps published their annual accounts for the 2021/22 financial year, which coincided with Michael Appleton’s final season at the club before he departed for Blackpool in the Championship.

Lincoln City were hit with a number of issues on and off the pitch last season, namely the testicular cancer diagnosis of Appleton during pre-season preparations, as well as a number of injuries to the squad.

Former Imps manager Michael Appleton. | Photo: Lincoln City FC

This was reflected on the pitch, along with the loss of key players such as Brennan Johnson and Jorge Grant – resulting in the Imps finishing 17th in League One after a few brief fears of relegation.

Appleton was replaced by Mark Kennedy who signed a four-year contract in May 2022, and the former Republic of Ireland international currently has the Imps sitting in 16th place in the table – six points clear of the relegation places and ten adrift of the play-offs.

Financially, the club incurred an increased loss of £2.052 million for the year, with a series of factors involved in that figure being what it is.

A major impact of this was the rising staff costs, which went from £5.169 million in 2020/21 to £6.236 million last year. The club say this is a result of an increased pro budget, affecting the coaching staff and first-team players.

Full-back Tayo Edun played for the Imps until August 2021. | Photo: Lincoln City FC

The Imps did receive £350,000 in player trading income from the transfer of Tayo Edun to Championship side Blackburn Rovers at the start of last season – though this could not outweigh the £800,000 increase to the pro budget that was brought on by the EFL’s scrapping of its salary cap.

Payments to facilitate the early termination of Michael Appleton’s contract were also included in staffing costs, while the aggressive approach of the 2022 January transfer window, which saw the club spend £300,000 on bolstering the squad, also played a part in the club’s final accounts.

As COVID-19 restrictions relaxed across the country, fans were allowed back into stadiums last season, meaning attendances went from 0 in 2020/21 to 8,733 in 2021/22, and match day revenue soared from £1.356 million to £2.290 million.

LNER Stadium, the home of Lincoln City FC. | Photo: Timmy Timewell

This came with its own costs, though, as administrative expenses climbed to over £9 million with the stadium usage being at full capacity once more, as well as the increase in player wages which has been felt across the football pyramid.

To offset the operating losses at the club, shares for cash amounting to £2.7 million were invested into Lincoln City by directors and investors, as significant expenditure saw tangible assets increase by £800,000 from the previous year.

Commercial revenue also rose to £1.654 million, and overall turnover hit a four-year peak at £6.925 million – even higher than the 2019/20 season where the Imps received £1 million in compensation for Danny and Nicky Cowley’s move to Huddersfield Town.

This boost in commercial revenue can also be attributed to the support of Lincoln City’s sponsors and partners, with opportunities for commercial and hospitality events at the stadium more readily available post-pandemic.

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