HULL CITY chairman Assem Allam has revealed the price of promotion to the Premier League: a £16m loss for the season.
The Tigers are looking forward to a top-flight return after clinching runners-up spot a week ago in the most dramatic of finales.
A 2-2 draw at home to Cardiff City proved to be enough for Steve Bruce’s men thanks to nearest rivals Watford suffering a shock home loss against Leeds United.
It means the KC Stadium will host the likes of champions Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal again next term.
Success has, however, come at a price for the Allam family, who since rescuing Hull from possible bankruptcy in December 2010, have ploughed in a staggering £66m to, first, stabilise the club and then fund this season’s push for promotion.
Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post, Allam said: “It has been an expensive business, right from the first day we came in and there was the winding-up order on the club.
“We threw £27m in immediately to save the club, which went straight to the taxman and two banks. In that first season (2010-11) – and ignoring the money we put in at the very start to keep the club going – we lost another £14m.
“The year after, which is when a few of the inherited Premier League contracts ran out, the deficit was about £8.5m. Then, this season has seen us lose £16m.
“When taking over (in December 2010), we had believed the third year (2012-13) would see the club break even. That could have been the case, but then we decided last summer to go for promotion.
“I thought, ‘I am 72 years old, what am I waiting for? Let’s have a push for the Premier League’. The process started by getting a high calibre manager in.
“Our belief in Steve Bruce is why we decided to go from having spent £50m on Hull City to £66m. That was not a problem and if we hadn’t won promotion this season then we would have tried strongly again next year.
“Because of some of the Premier League contracts ending this summer and the commercial side of the club doing better, I would have said another £10m would have been put in to try and win promotion.”
That expense, of course, will not now be incurred after the events of a week ago that saw Hull pip Watford to automatic promotion in such dramatic fashion.
Hull’s promotion was reward for the Allams’ investment, which saw around £6.5m spent in transfer fees on Nick Proschwitz, Robbie Brady, David Meyler and Stephen Quinn.
Loan fees were also provided to bring David Stockdale and George Boyd to the KC, while the wage bill – before bonuses – topped £20m.
Chairman Allam expects that sum to double to £40m next season as Hull prepare for a return to the elite after an absence of three years.
Helping make that possible is the new lucrative Premier League television deal that kicks in next August and will see even whoever finishes bottom in 2013-14 paid a similar amount to that banked by champions Manchester City last season.
For Hull, this leap in income will be hugely welcome. Allam, however, is quick to point out that the much-reported £120m prize associated with winning promotion from the Championship is well wide of the mark.
He said: “I keep hearing about this £120m, but that includes four years of parachute payments if relegated after one season.
“They help you continue because you are still carrying a lot of wages.
“It annoys me when the public are misled by claims about £120m. Instead, the money we expect to earn next season is between £61m and £68m.
“It sounds a lot but much of that money is accounted for. As a club, we will be lucky to break even because the wage bill will rise by £20m from its current level.
“Then, there will be transfer fees spent on players to improve the squad, while we also have commitments in terms of bonuses and promotion clauses from this season.
“By that, I mean there are players who we signed this season with clauses in the deal that mean a few million pounds are now payable because we won promotion. All this has to come off the £61m-£68m that club will make next season.
“That is why the club will be lucky to break even. The only chance we have of making even a small bit of money is to stay in the Premier League because in the second season we will have a better foundation in terms of players. If you spend £15m-£20m (this summer), you don’t have to spend it again. Not all of it anyway.”
Hull City’s Premier League voyage: Page 3.