SUNDERLAND, the premiership club that prides itself on affordable football, set its sights on Europe as it reported a return to profitability, boosted by extra revenues from TV deals.
However, Bob Murray, the chairman of the club, cautioned that TV revenues had reached a plateau, which would make it harder for Premier League clubs to meet spiralling player wage costs. "I believe revenues will at best be flat three years down the road," he said.
Sunderland, lying 10th in the league, reduced its pounds 23m player wage bill to 50 per cent of its turnover from 56 per cent last year. Hugh Roberts, the chief executive, said the club was "very comfortable" with that ratio and hoped to maintain it this year.
The club, which finished seventh last season and looks to have shaken off its yo-yo reputation, posted a pre-tax profit for the year to 31 July of pounds 3m compared with a pounds 2m loss a year earlier. Sales rose 27 per cent to pounds 46m, helped by a 17 per cent increase in gate revenues. …