Fulham announce record loss

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Fulham's push for promotion to the Premiership last season saw the club lose £23.3m, a record one-year financial deficit for an English football team, it was announced yesterday. And as if that were not already a big enough price to pay, the club's owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, can look forward to beating his own record when this season's figures are announced in a year's time.

Yesterday's financial results, for the year to 30 June 2001, did not include the purchase of some £30m worth of players, including Steve Marlet from Olympique Lyonnais, Edwin van der Sar from Juventus and Jon Harley from Chelsea. Nor did they include the wages of those players – or any increase in wages that last season's players may have earned from promotion.

The figures filed yesterday showed that staff costs last season had grown to £19.3m, more than £8m higher than the previous year. Those costs meant that pre-tax losses for the period widened to £23.3m – almost double the £13.9m recorded the previous year.

Fulham said yesterday that Al Fayed's investment had allowed the club to reach 15th position in their first season in the Premiership, as well as reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 27 years. The club did not specify precisely whether this was a good thing, or a slightly disappointing thing, or merely a very expensive thing.

"The season 2000-2001 was to prove a historic one for Fulham Football Club as new manager Jean Tigana led the team to the First Division championship, thus securing promotion to the Premier League," a statement said.

"Off the field the company continued to develop with regard to the facilities required to enable it to remain in the Premier League."