MANCHESTER City have announced losses of £92.6million, the second largest in British football history, as the staggering cost of their first season under the Sheikh Mansour, the owner, was revealed.
In the financial year ending May 31, 2009, City made a net operating loss of £34.2million, but when the club's recruitment drive and turnover of players are taken into account, the figure rises to an astonishing £92.6m, only surpassed by Chelsea's loss of £132.8m in their first full year under the ownership of Roman Abramovich.
City smashed the British transfer record to sign Robinho from Real Madrid for £34.2m on the day Sheikh Mansour bought the club in September 2008 and subsequently invested heavily in players such as Shay Given, Nigel de Jong and Craig Bellamy last January.
The losses for this financial year, which will cover the period to the end of May 2010, are certain to be considerably higher after last summer's transfer outlay on players such as Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry and a soaring wage bill, which is now among the largest in the Barclays Premier League.
They will also cover the cost of terminating the contract of Mark Hughes and his coaching staff last month and the appointment of Roberto Mancini as manager.
Significantly, the club announced last night that Sheikh Mansour had followed the example of Abramovich and converted his existing £304.9m shareholder loans to the club into equity. He has also purchased further shares to a value of £89.6m. The equity move effectively allows City to circumvent planned changes in Uefa regulations that would prevent heavily indebted clubs entering European competition.
City's turnover rose by only six per cent from £82.3m to £87m over the course of the last financial year, but the board firmly expects revenue to increase dramatically over the coming years.
The club, meanwhile, were forced to postpone tonight's Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United after areas around the City of Manchester stadium were turned into no-go zones by the big freeze.
With Blackburn's first leg of their semi-final against Aston Villa last night also falling victim to the heavy snow in Lancashire, the Carling Cup finalists will not be decided until after the rearranged second leg of the City-United tie at Old Trafford on January 27.
Similar safety issues led to Blackburn calling off the tie against Villa, now due to be played on January 14, subject to the League granting Blackburn's request to move their home game against Fulham back 24 hours to January 17. City's league fixture against Stoke and United's home game with Hull, both planned for January 26, will also be rescheduled. (© The Times, London)