Aston Villa have slashed their losses but remain in the red as the club battles back from the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.
Newly published accounts for 2020-21 show the club finished the year with a pre-tax loss of £37.3 million, down from a loss of £99.4 million in the previous 12 months.
This was despite revenue rising dramatically in the period to May 31, 2021, up to £183.6 million from £112.6 million a year earlier.
Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, who bought the club in 2018, have also injected £97 million into the business to shore up its finances after a year of disruption caused by the pandemic.
The news comes as the club says it intends to boost the fan capacity of its Villa Park stadium by at least 7,000 people to more than 50,000 by building a new North Stand.
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It also wants to upgrade and increase corporate hospitality as part of previously published plans to regenerate the ground and create an entirely new venue to bring retail and merchandising activities together.
The annual financial report for Villa’s parent company NSWE UK says the club was boosted by finishing 11th in the Premier League table, a climb of six places on the previous season, with more than £100 million spent on new signings including Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins.
That figure was down by more than £50 million compared with the previous financial year.
Other headline figures from the report include gate receipts falling from £11.1 million in 2019-20 to just £311,000 because the majority of the season was played behind closed doors.
By contrast, broadcasting revenue climbed massively from £77.7 million to £157.1 million. Sponsorship rose by £3.9 million to £14.3 million but income from commercial operations dipped slightly, by £1.5 million to £11.8 million.
The club’s wage bill also rose significantly, from £95.1 million in 2019-20 to £122 million.
Aston Villa estimated the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic to be £36.6 million, fuelled by loss of matchday revenue and rebates of Premier League broadcasting funding, however it did not take up any government support and no staff were furloughed.
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Even all casual and matchday employees were paid throughout the pandemic.
Looking ahead, a planning application for the new North Stand is set to be lodged with Birmingham City Council in the summer.
A statement from Aston Villa added: “The club will be embarking on a full public consultation with all stakeholders over the coming months to help shape the planning application and to ensure the proposals fully acknowledge and incorporate the needs of the local community, city and wider West Midlands.
“We have appointed a full multidisciplinary design and engineering team to develop finalised designs and plans.”
A new facility for its youth academy next to Villa Park also has planning consent and construction is due to commence soon.