Villa’s Accounts Aren’t Pretty & Fans Will Have FFP Worries

Of pounds and points.

After Aston Villa’s more troubled days under manager Steven Gerrard, the arrival of Unai Emery has marked a significant turnaround in our form and we ended the 2022-23 campaign on a high, with a return to Europe and the Europa League. This season had been even more phenomenal as we have pretty quietly worked our way into fourth place in the Premier League table, and as things stand, we have a good chance of staying there – or at the very least, thereabouts, by the end of the season.

Few would have seen that coming and on the pitch there is a lot to enjoy and be optimistic about, but off the pitch fans do naturally have some concerns. With kit problems, a plethora of changing badges, corporate issues, and ticket price rises all being regular topics of discussion up for debate amongst the fan base, it feels like something is not quite right at the club, or at the very least, is nowhere near as being aligned off the pitch as it is under Emery.

Fans will have their own KickForm odds on what is wrong on that front, and those theories will only spike now that we have ticked into March, as that obviously means its time for our annual accounts, and whilst plenty of fans were fully expecting losses, there cannot have been many who were expecting a single years reported loss of £119.6 million.

Especially as that accounting period covers last season’s seventh place finish – although obviously, any Europa League gains will not come into play until the next set of accounts.

We can all guess where those losses came from, staff pay offs and the arrival of Unai and his team, the transfers under Gerrard that just did not work out, the ever changing badge nonsense and those fees and a whole host of other things that happened last year.

The club insist the losses are fully “in line with the strategic business plan” that is being followed, and they further stated that we continue to be within the relevant profit and sustainability rules that are in play in the Premier League, but fans themselves will naturally and understandably worry.

Not least, given the summer we have just had that saw us sell a number of incredibly promising youngsters, in light of this news – despite accounts and FFP accounts being two entirely separate things – chat will undoubtedly return to whether those sales (as home grown products) were more driven by financial necessity, or more driven by Emery’s plan and vision for the more immediate now and the search for quicker success.

Those deals continue to split fans given the speculation that surrounds the decisions to move them on, even with the buy back clauses that are in play, and it should not be forgotten that those deals are also not reflected in these set of accounts – but there will undoubtedly be those Villans amongst us who will now look at them as being proverbial quick fix decisions, to massively chip away at these losses at the first time of asking, to better balance the books again.

The full truth is unknown here, and right now we have to just trust the club statements, but many will further read into the recent Fan Advisory Board minutes and the clubs’ comment “There is no such thing as ‘FFP decisions’.”

It was a ‘technical point correction’ from the club, but many read it as being barbed, deliberate, and given they refused to answer the actual question asked, quite defensive. Those who wondered ‘why?’ at the point, will be pondering the same question now.

As fans, we will speculate on what we know and we know our full three losses now and we do know in a three year period we can only lose £105 million under FFP and it seems on face value that FFP (I’m sorry, PSR) is a touchy subject.

Fans cannot be blamed for being worried right now – even if there is not anything to actually be worried about.