St Mary’s Football Group Limited, incorporating Southampton Football Club Limited, has today published its audited annual results for the year ending 30th June 2019.
The group reports a loss after interest and tax of £34m (2018: Profit of £29m), with net assets decreasing to £92.6m (2018: £126.7m).
Despite finishing one position higher in the Premier League year-on-year, resulting in marginally higher merit-based broadcasting revenue, total turnover fell by 2.0%. This was primarily due to a reduction in the number of times the men's first-team's Premier League matches were broadcast live on television (eight times in 2018/19 compared to 16 in 2017/18), which resulted in a reduction in non-merit-based broadcasting revenue.
All other turnover, primarily matchday and commercial, increased by 3.5% (£1.3m) due to increased sponsorship revenue, and growth in revenue associated with non-matchday conferences and events.
Men: The Club endured a second consecutive difficult season in the Premier League, finishing 16th (2018: 17th). At the time of writing, the first-team's on-field performances are showing encouraging signs of consistent improvement.
At the end of the 2018/19 season, the Club was pleased to see both the Under-23 squad achieve promotion to the Premier League 2 Division 1 for the 2019/20 season, and an increase in the number of Academy players representing the first-team in a competitive fixture compared with the previous season. This demonstrates the Club's continued commitment to youth development and a pathway from the Academy to the first-team.
Women: The Club is pleased with the continuous development of the Girls & Women's Programme, with the first-team winning the Southern Region Women's Football League Premier Division in 2018/19, gaining promotion to the FA Women's National League, Division One South West. At the time of writing, the team are competing at the top of this league and pushing for their third consecutive promotion. The Girls & Women's Academy (Regional Talent Club) continues to go from strength-to-strength, offering a proven pathway into the first-team.
Key performance indicators
Due to the nature of the Group and Club's activities, the directors consider the Club's Premier League position at each season end as its principal key performance indicator.
As well as this, the directors consider further key performance indicators to be:
• The length of the men's first-team playing contracts, with the average length remaining at the Statement of Financial Position date being 30 months (2018: 35 months).
• The wages-to-turnover ratio, which grew year-on-year from 74% to 77% in 2019, with the growth largely driven by the reduced turnover for the reasons described in the Financial Overview section.
• Year-on-year player remuneration for the men's first-team increased from £85.2m to £86.1m (58% of turnover, versus 56% in 2018).
• The number of players with international recognition at senior or under-21 level. The current men's first-team squad has 24 players (2018: 26).
• International honours at youth level. 26 male players and 19 female players represented their country at international youth level during the 2018/19 season (19 and 15 respectively during the 2017/18 season).
• The number of male players signed on scholarship agreements. The Club had an average of 27 scholars across the 2018/19 season (26 during the 2017/18 season).
• Academy players representing the first-team. Eleven male and three female Academy players represented their respective first-teams in a competitive fixture during the 2018/19 season (six and two respectively during the 2017/18 season).
Infrastructure and people
lnvestment off the pitch continues and, during the year, the Group invested in new floodlights and LED boards at St Mary's Stadium. Prior, and subsequent to, the Statement of Financial Position date, the Group made significant investment in the hospitality offering at St Mary's Stadium (principally the 1885 Lounge, the Fanzone, and its kitchen facilities) as well as a redesign and refurbishment of the home dressing room.
Following numerous years of continuous growth, the average number of employees remained broadly static year-on-year, decreasing marginally to 425 employees (2018: 429 employees).