Tottenham Hotspur returns to the black

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Alan Sugar, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, fired a warning shot yesterday about the spiralling level of football players' wages in the Premier League.

Alan Sugar, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, fired a warning shot yesterday about the spiralling level of football players' wages in the Premier League.

Mr Sugar said that players' demands for higher pay were the main factor driving up costs at the club, a trend to which he saw no immediate end.

His comments came as the company unveiled a return to the black for the year to July after Tottenham's first major Cup victory in eight years and a stadium enlargement programme combined to boost turnover.

"The main increase in costs emanates from the playing and coaching department. Payroll costs in this area have risen 31 per cent to £20m," Mr Sugar said. "It is difficult to see an abatement to the increasing wage demands of players."

Wages as a percentage of turnover were 48 per cent, down from the previous year's 50 per cent, but well ahead of the 33 per cent at Manchester United, the world's richest club.

"Some players may want improved contracts or threaten to leave ... This can lead to spiralling wages and it unlikely any collective caps can ever be imposed," Mr Sugar said.

Operating profit before player amortisation was £8.9m, up 43 per cent from £6.2m, while profit before tax was £1.3m compared with the previous season's £1m loss. Turnover at the north London club rose 37 per cent to £43m as the capacity of the ground was expanded to 36,000. Total attendance over the year at White Hart Lane was 836,000 compared with the previous season's 650,000.

Tottenham Hotspur shares ended up at 68p.

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