It continues to be a season of good news and change at St. Mary’s, and that was no different with today’s news.
For the first time since tumbling into League One and entering administration in 2009, Southampton has posted a profit, and a mighty one at that.
In today’s world, any club in the green is doing a fantastic job, but Saints managed to bank a $46.7 million profit in 2014 according to the Daily Mail, likely in part due to their summer’s firesale of players like Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, and Rickie Lambert. Many believed the sale foreshadowed a dark downturn for the club after last season’s successes, but instead they have maintained a surprisingly strong league position all season, while many of the players they sold are struggling at their new clubs.
The late German businessman Markus Liebherr was the man to save Southampton during the ill-fated 2009 season, and his daughter Katharina has taken over since Liebherr’s death the next year. According to the BBC, Katharina has stamped her stellar fiscal marks by giving the board permission to reinvest the spectacular transfer profit of last season during the upcoming summer window.
Much of the credit for the club’s success this season must fall on the ownership, which weathered not only the player exodus but a managerial change as well, plus a Morgan Schneiderlin saga that appeared to reflect the club as crumbling mere weeks into the season. Instead, the club picked a positive Dutchman in Ronald Koeman that has led the way towards a shot at playing in Europe despite the offseason changes. They also took the nearly $134 million in total transfer income and found players like Saido Mane, Dusan Tadic, Fraser Forster, and Graziano Pelle who cost a fraction of those they sold and have acclimated to the Premier League style with ease.
The financial records also show that Katharina Liebherr injected $30 million of her own money into the club as a loan, using it to pay off an older “payday loan” to Vibrac, a company designed to give big businesses high-risk loans. Her commitment to the club was echoed by CEO Gareth Rodgers, who told the Mail:
‘There was an opportunity to clear the entire debt of the football club [with the player transfers] and taking out money that had been put in, but Katharina didn’t do that,” Rogers said. “Instead she allowed us to re-invest all of the money, either in fees or contracts.”
The new profit also allows the club much more freedom this summer, whether they ultimately decide to spend or not, meaning the sale of Southampton’s best players aren’t a financial necessity this summer, Rodgers said. While it’s possible that Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne, or other stars do eventually leave, it reportedly won’t be for financial reasons.