Millwall blames loss on home fixtures

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The gulf between the top and the bottom of the football earnings league was exposed yesterday as Millwall Holdings, owner of the first division club, announced half-year losses of £113,000.

Earlier this week, Manchester United, winners of the Premier League for the past two seasons, reported thumping interim profits of £7.3m.

Reg Burr, chairman of Millwall, blamed the result, which compared with a £1.4m profit, on unattractive home fixtures. Revenue for each of the 10 home games, with average gates of 8,000, fell 20 per cent.

Total turnover fell from £2.17m to £1.56m. The loss was also struck after a net £2m profit from player transfers.

The change in the mix of clubs arising from last season's promotions and relegations was, Mr Burr said, the reasons for unattractive fixtures.

"We had Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace and Leicester who were promoted and pulled large crowds. They were replaced by Sheffield United, Oldham and Swindon who are nothing like as attractive."

He added, however, that Millwall's revenues had improved since the start of the second half in December. The main boost has come from reaching the fifth round in the FA Cup and the Coca-Cola Cup. There has also been the £2m sale of Mark Kennedy to Liverpool.

The share price eased 0.25p to 2p, some 90 per cent below the 20p flotation price in 1989.