From the Boardroom
Chief operating officer Chris Pearlman brings fans up to date on events and progress off the pitch at Swansea City in today's edition of Jack Magazine.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to the Liberty. A warm welcome also to the directors, players and supporters from Millwall.
It goes without saying that it has been a very eventful past week-and-a-half at the club since our last match at the Liberty.
Huw Jenkins’ resignation from Swansea City marked the end of an era. The club, our supporters and the community owe Huw a significant debt of gratitude for his contributions over the past 17 years.
He oversaw a storybook rise from the bottom of the Football League to seven years in the Premier League, Europe and a League Cup trophy in 2013.
His work in driving the development of our Academy and building a world-class first-team training facility at Fairwood has provided Swansea City with an important infrastructure that will help enable us to more effectively compete at the highest levels of the sport.
On a personal note, since my arrival in Swansea, Huw has been nothing but kind and welcoming to me and my family, and I will always appreciate that.
The club has embarked on a search for a new person to lead our football operations. We will be working closely with the Supporters’ Trust throughout the selection process and will be certain to get input from all major stakeholders as we make this important appointment.
We will provide updates on this front in due course.
Much has been made about the activity surrounding the transfer deadline last week. At the end of window, we sent three first-team players out on loan who had not featured regularly for Graham in the first half of the season.
While we think highly of Wilfried Bony, Tom Carroll and Jefferson Montero, it was our belief that these particular moves would have the least impact on our team for the second half of the season as we remain in the hunt for a potential play-off position, while allowing the club to recognise some financial relief.
We have spoken publicly on a few occasions since relegation about the club’s current financial position. Simply stated, our current contractual commitments are higher than our expected income.
Relegation has seen our annual income this season drop by approximately £60 million. That is inclusive of the parachute payments we received from the Premier League. Our transfer activity this past summer enabled us to address approximately half of this deficit.
On top of the decrease in income, the club still owes some transfer fee payment instalments on players we have bought over the past few years.
Furthermore, our financial position across all transfer windows in the past few years has shown a net loss.
Fans have every right to be critical about some of the transfer decisions that have added to our financial challenges.
We are hopeful and optimistic that a new head of football operations at the club – coupled with a more structured recruiting strategy and process – will enable us to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Next season, if we are still in the Championship, our parachute payments will go down by approximately £8 million in relation to this season’s allocation. If we are not promoted after next year, the payments decrease by approximately a further £19 million in the following season.
The above factors – when coupled with the financial obligations we have as part of multi-year player contracts – obviously makes for some difficult decisions. More work needs to be done to maintain the club on sound financial footing.
I recognise that some supporters are unhappy because of a perceived ‘lack of ambition’ by the club ownership.
However, Jason and Steve have vowed to operate Swansea City in a financially sustainable manner. We need to live within our means.
They do not want to burden the club with significant debt. While they have stepped in on a few occasions to loan the club money by accelerating some transfer payments in instances where banks would not, they are not going to allow the club to spend or borrow money where there is an uncertainty – based upon projected income – that we will be unable to pay or repay it.
British football is full of examples of clubs going into administration, or on the brink of it, and those fans who have supported the club for many years will remember Swansea City coming close to extinction themselves in the past.
This is a road we do not want to travel again.
A potentially viable option, if needed, to address a financial shortfall would be an injection of money into the club in the form of equity. That is something which may be considered, however it is not without some hurdles.
When the club was relegated, we said this was a time to press the reset button and get back to what made the club successful a number of years ago.
That process would involve a big overhaul of our playing squad. We also wanted to rediscover our identity and style of football. Graham Potter was hired with those objectives in mind. His track record of developing talent and working within a more limited budget, which we knew was a reality of relegation, made him a terrific candidate.
I think most supporters would agree he has delivered against those objectives thus far.
There was never an expectation that this transition would happen overnight. Moving away from some burdensome contracts while building around a core group of young talent takes time. Having said that, we already have a great foundation in place and have shown we can compete and succeed against any team in the league.
Finally, it would be remiss of me if I did not mention the activity surrounding Daniel James leading up to the transfer deadline as, for some, it seemed to belie our stated objectives.
The club did not want to see Daniel go and would only have reluctantly completed the deal - which was influenced by a number of contributing factors - if it was on terms that made sense for us and allowed us to accelerate the restructuring needed to put the club back on a sound financial footing for the future.
Ultimately, the structure of the deal was not in our interests.
We are thrilled that Daniel is still with us and are confident he will continue right where he left off. I am equally sure that the Jack Army will show him their vocal support.
The fact that our captain, Leroy Fer, will also be with us is a massive boost and gives us the best chance of success for the run-in.
Enjoy the match.