Chelsea to announce biggest-ever losses in the British game

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The Independent Online

Chelsea will today announce the biggest financial losses ever recorded in British football ­ eclipsing the £88m deficit they revealed last year.

The pre-tax losses were confirmed last night by the chairman, Bruce Buck, who, though not detailing the figures, said the club's "total loss will go up". Also of interest in accounts for 2004-05 will be the wage bill.

The Premiership champions will be quick to point out that spending on transfers has fallen and that the "significant" losses are partly explained by exceptional expenses such as the decision to buy themselves out of a shirt deal with Umbro. That cost Chelsea £25.5m but, Buck said, "enables us to enter a contract next season which over the next five to 10 years will provide a bonus for Chelsea". The club has a new deal with adidas and also a new shirt sponsor in Samsung.

Chelsea maintain they are still on course to be profitable within five years. "Having said that, we announced a significant loss last year and we are going to announce a significant loss today," Buck said.

Buck argued, however, that despite Roman Abramovich's money, Chelsea were cautious. "We watch every penny," he said. "If the guy who sells us pencils is charging too much and he thinks he can because it is Roman and Chelsea, then we find another supplier of pencils.

"In the transfer market there is one price for Chelsea and another price for everyone else but we are not afraid of walking away from a deal. There are many deals we have walked away from just because of the pricing. But we have probably put £100m into transfer fees in England and that money gets churned many times, which is a benefit for football."

The Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, has further attempted to repair relations with Arsène Wenger by claiming that both men were "guilty " in their recent row and that neither is accorded enough respect in England ­ which is why he called himself the "Special One" in the first place.

Mourinho said his Arsenal counterpart was "one of the best managers in the game", adding: "I hope we do not have problems again in the future. But if we have we must keep personal respect that now and again we looked like losing."

Mourinho also said he expects to "stay in English football for a long time" and was "happy" and "not thinking about the next move". He conceded, however, that his family, his wife and two young children, have suffered from homesickness. "It's easier for me than for them," he said.

Mourinho, who celebrated his 43rd birthday yesterday, said he would " finish football the next day" if his family wanted him to and reiterated his intention of finishing his career as manager of Portugal ­ when he is 60 "or something like that".

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