Just to qualify the above, this figure does not include a series of diasastrous signings made under the previous regime of Freddy Shepherd, Douglas Hall and Sam Allardyce, some of which, though technically finalised shortly after Ashley gained control of the club, but were made under the previous administration. These include players such as Geremi, Alan Smith and Cacapa. However, if all the signings made in that season were included whether they were made under Ashley or the previous owners, spending would still show a deficit of approximately -£41.05 million from the the 07/08 season to the present day, as the clubs spending in that season amounted to approximately £7.65 million. It should also be mentioned that the club’s overall wage costs have also fallen dramatically since Ashley assumed ownership of the club, though in defence of this seeming lack of expenditure on the club’s playing staff, a Mr A.Pardew had this to say on the club’s transfer dealings:
“I was listening earlier when you was talking about the money being spent and I just want to sort of make something clear. When you sign someone like Demba Ba and someone like Marveaux there’s huge fees involved in that, it isn’t just tranfer fees. This is unfortunately how the Premier League works and alot of money in those deals doesn’t come back through the system. Ideally, in the old days we would sign someone from the Championship and it would go back into the English game but this money’s going out through agents and stuff like that. But we spent a fair amount this Summer on those three players in particular, more perhaps than the fans realise and I need to mark their card on that because if you’re going to start adding up the money and thinking ‘Oh we ain’t spent that £35 million’ you’re going to be way off the figures, you really are. Mike promised to put all that money back in, I know what the figures are, I know what we spent on the training ground and everything will go back into the club. We’re trying to locate one or two development players that cost perhaps more than you think as well. Now, I want to say that because I think Mike and Derek’s backing has been very strong this Summer and I’m very pleased with it so far. The noises we’re making on perhaps the last signing, or perhaps the last two are still very very good and it bodes well.”
Below is a breakdown of the players who have moved in and out of the club, along with the figures.
In: Sebastien Bassong (£500,000) Jonas Gutierrez (£7,000,000), Danny Guthrie (£2,500,000), Fabricio Coloccini (£10,300,000), Xisco (£5,700,000), Peter Lovenkrands (£0), Kevin Nolan (£4,000,000), Ryan Taylor (£0). Total: £30,000,000.
Out: Emre (£4,000,000), Abdoulaye Faye (£2,250,000), James Milner (£12,000,000), Shay Given (£8,000,000), Charles N’Zogbia (£6,000,000). Total: £32,250,000.
Total spend: -£2,250,000.
In: Danny Simpson (£500,000), Mike Williamson (£1,000,000), Leon Best (£1,000,000), Wayne Routledge (£1,500,000). Total: £4,000,000.
Out: David Edgar (expired), Michael Owen (£0), Sebastien Bassong (£8 million), Obafemi Martins (£9,000,000), Habib Beye (£2,500,000), Damien Duff (£4,000,000), Geremi (undisclosed). Total: £23,500,000.
Total spend: -£19,500,000.
In: James Perch (£1,000,000), Dan Gosling (£0), Sol Campbell (£0), Cheick Tiote (£3,500,000), Hatem Ben Arfa (£5,750,000). Total: £10,250,000.
Out: Andy Carroll (£35,000,000). Total: £35,000,000.
Total spend: -£24,750,000
In: Mehdi Abeid (£0), Sylvain Marveaux (£0), Demba Ba (£0), Yohan Cabaye (£4,300,000). Total: £4,300,000.
Out: Kevin Nolan (£3,500,000), Patirck McLoughlan (£0), Daniel Leadbitter (£0), Ben Tozer (£0). Total: £3,500,000.
Total spend: £800,000
Grand total: -£45.7 million.
This means that in the last four seasons, the gross (non)spend on players has averaged at aprroximately -£12,175,000 per season, though as Mr Pardew has explained, much of this £12.2 million per season deficit has no doubt been spent on agents fees, signing on fees, undersoil heating and various other sundry expenses which haven’t been deducted from other revenue streams such as gate receipts, merchandising, sponsorship, catering and hospitality and so on…