Debt-free Tigers are confident of keeping key men despite loss

Adam Pearson makes player pledge despite Hull City's financial losses.
Adam Pearson makes player pledge despite Hull City's financial losses.
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ADAM PEARSON insists none of Hull City’s key players are for sale in January despite the club losing £20.4m in the last financial year.

The Tigers suffered the heavy deficit during the 12 months to July 31, 2011, the club’s first season back in the Championship following their debut spell in the Premier League.

Despite the loss, Hull’s accounts, which have been published by Companies House, make clear the club are effectively debt-free thanks to a £41m cash injection by owners Assem and Ehab Allam.

Director of football operations Pearson has revealed that this backing, which has seen the Allam family continue to plough money in during the current financial year due to Hull being expected to make a similar sized loss, is why Nick Barmby will be able to hold on to the players in his squad who are being coveted by rival clubs.

Cameron Stewart has been the subject of two bids from Leicester City, while Aaron Mclean has been linked with a possible switch to Brighton. Pearson, however, stressed to the Yorkshire Post last night: “We want to send out a really strong message: We are not selling any players unless it suits us.

“Certainly, none of the starting XI will be leaving and none of the squad that Nick wants to keep. We have had Leicester playing around with offers on Cameron Stewart, though I’m not sure why as they know the answer.

“But there has been nothing else in terms of bids. We are happy with that as our squad is one we are happy about, providing we can get the couple of additions we want.

“The players also understand our position. We have said to them, ‘Play 100 games for Hull City and then let’s see where we all are’. They can get to the Premier League with Hull City.”

Asked about the Mclean link, Pearson added: “Total nonsense. We have had no interest at all from Brighton. Anyway, Aaron is a strong character in the dressing room and someone who is in the starting XI.”

The support of the Allams means Hull’s work in the transfer window will not just be restricted to rebuffing any enquiries from rival clubs with another goalkeeper expected to arrive this week as back-up to loanee Vito Mannone.

Pearson added: “We would also like to bring in another frontman this week to give us another option.”

Hull’s healthy financial outlook is in stark contrast to the accounts for the last financial year.

The figures show that turnover fell by more than £20m to £27m as a direct result of dropping out of the Premier League.

Hull’s wage bill did come down from £38m to £21m but they also took an £11m hit relating to players who had cost fees but then left the club for no return.

This latter figure, together with the operating loss on day-to-day business activities of just over £8.3m, accounts for the £20m-plus deficit posted by the Tigers.

Hull’s figures also reveal that bank loans, which at the end of the 2009-10 financial year had stood at £17m, had been wiped out thanks to the Allams.

Pearson said: “The club is in a great position. What has happened at Hull has to be unique, certainly for a Championship club. For the owners to pump in so much money is just unbelievable.

“They undoubtedly saved the club from what would have been liquidation. It couldn’t have been administration because there was nothing to administer.

“The club had no assets and no playing assets. In fact, if anything the club had liabilities in terms of the personnel.

“I still don’t think, even now, that people appreciate just what the owners have done for Hull City.

“To put in £50m to a Championship club is something that just doesn’t happen, especially when the money cannot be considered to be a commercial investment.”

Pearson added: “We still have four Premier League player contracts on the books and it is only when they finish in 18 months that we can get the wage bill down to a manageable level.

“I still can’t get my head round the club spending or committing themselves to £150m in an 18-month period when its income was only £100m, especially considering the quality of player that was brought in.”

Hull’s accounts also confirm that Jimmy Bullard is claiming £2.5m in compensation following his sacking in August.

The 33-year-old had almost two years remaining on his contract but left following an incident on the club’s pre-season training camp in Slovenia.

How Hull’s fortunes have turned...

Hull City lost £20.4m in the financial year to July 31, 2011, as turnover fell by £20m to £27m.

The period covered Hull’s first 12 months back in the Football League after two years in the top flight.

Nigel Pearson was appointed in the summer of 2010 and led Hull to an 11th-place finish.

Assem and Ehab Allam completed their takeover on December 16, 2010. A couple of days later, the new owners reveal they have had to pump in £40m to save Hull.

Nigel Pearson, whose only summer capture in 2010 for a fee had been Jay Simpson, signed Aaron Mclean and Matty Fryatt in January for a combined £2.5m. James Chester and Cameron Stewart also joined on a permanent basis.

In the summer of 2011, Jack Hobbs, Corry Evans and Joe Dudgeon signed for substantial fees.