mandaric issues warning with owls in red

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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY posted an operating loss of almost £5m in the year the club won promotion from League One, writes Richard Sutcliffe.

The Owls pipped Steel City rivals United to second place last May courtesy of a stunning end to the season that saw Dave Jones’s men claim 32 points from the final dozen games.

That success helped Wednesday increase turnover by £1.5m to £10.9m in the 12 months to June 30, 2012, the period covered by the latest set of accounts.

Gate receipts and other football income also increased by 30 per cent over the same timescale to £6m as fans flocked to see the South Yorkshire club’s promotion push, while retail income also shot up by 87 per cent to £1.5m.

These improved performances could not, however, prevent the Owls posting a £4.9m loss for the 2011-12 campaign.

This, though, was a deficit that chairman Milan Mandaric had anticipated with the Hillsborough chief telling the Yorkshire Post more than a year ago that the club would “lose in the region of £5m” trying to win promotion.

Mandaric saved Wednesday from administration in December 2010, when he bought the club and paid around £9m to creditors. Last year’s figures, which covered the first six months of Mandaric’s reign, also revealed the removal of more than £41m in debt.

The Owls chief said: “Having now been at the club for almost two years, the true enormity of the task that lies before us has become apparent.

“Financial prudence must be instilled throughout the football industry, and no clearer example of the need for this principle can be seen than at Hillsborough.”

Wednesday are the second Yorkshire club in as many days to publish their accounts for 2011-12 with Leeds United having posted an operating loss of £3.38m last term as gate receipts slumped by 10.6 per cent to £11.3m and the average crowd fell by 4,000.

However, after the sales of Max Gradel and Jonny Howson were taken into account, United made a profit of £317,000 on a turnover of £31m to take their total surplus since exiting administration in 2007 to £10.5m.