Luton Town chief Gary Sweet insists they are NOT facing financial meltdown despite being placed under a transfer embargo because ‘we have cut our cloth accordingly’ and will actually record a PROFIT when they file their accounts
- Luton were named as one of 10 Championship clubs under a transfer embargo
- Sportsmail revealed some second-tier clubs are facing ‘financial armageddon’
- Luton chief Gary Sweet has reassured supporters the club’s finances are healthy
- He said the club will file their accounts before May and will record a profit
Luton Town chief executive Gary Sweet has promised supporters the club is not among those in the Championship facing financial meltdown despite being one of 10 placed by the EFL under a transfer embargo.
The embargoes have been imposed on those clubs late to file their accounts for 2019-20 and some really are teetering in perilous positions.
One unnamed official at a Championship club claimed ‘financial Armageddon’ was on its way but Luton have been quick to stress they will be filing their accounts before the end of April, well ahead of the new Government deadline, and will record a profit.
Gary Sweet (left) insisted Luton aren’t in financial crisis despite being under transfer embargo
This has been possible at Kenilworth Road due to cost-cutting exercises and the generosity of fans, many of whom have not requested refunds for season tickets, having seen their club fight back from the brink of extinction.
Only about three per cent of 7,000 season ticket holders have asked for refunds since national lockdowns closed the gates last year.
‘Cash has been very, very tight and it has been a really tough year,’ Sweet told Sportsmail. ‘But we have made an accounting profit. We are not overspending and we have continued to put funds into the development company to make sure the stadium development is on track. While other clubs are selling their stadiums we are investing in ours.
The Championship club were one of 10 who were sanctioned for filing their accounts late
‘We have also paid in full all the pay deferrals taken from players and staff through the pandemic. We would not be doing that if we were in a state of Armageddon. We have cut costs, reduced player budgets and, unfortunately, had to let staff go. We have cut our cloth accordingly.’
Luton, promoted back to the Championship in 2019, are safe in mid-table after flirting with the drop last season, and in the midst of an ambitious 23,000-capacity stadium project, with work set to start later this year and a target to be playing football there in 2024.
They operate with the wage bill at 55 per cent of turnover when several clubs in the division have wages set at well over 100 per cent of turnover in a desperate bid to reach the Premier League.
Sheffield Wednesday recently filed overdue accounts for 2018-19 showing turnover at £22.7million and wages at £36.4m.
An unnamed source warned of a ‘financial armageddon’ and said player sales will be impacted
‘We are not going to have heads turned,’ said Sweet. ‘We are trying to compete with clubs willing to lose those sorts of money. We have to recruit differently, coach differently, play differently and manage the business differently.
‘No Luton Town fan who remembers the dark days of three administrations wants us to ever go back there, which is the reason we put so much time and energy into the new stadium, to protect us for the future.
‘We are not going to have our heads turned by the competition in the Championship and if that means relegation so be it, that’s not worth protecting against with over-expenditure. We are ambitious and do think we can go higher. We have progressed from last season despite the cuts to the budget.’