DEBATE may rage over whether Bournemouth’s dizzying ascent deserves to be deemed a fairytale, but there can be little disputing that their historic promotion is about to utterly transform their finances.
Critics point out that the Cherries’ rise from the bottom of the Football League and the brink of liquidation to a Premier League debut next season has been funded by Russian multimillionaire Maxim Demin.
Yet even taking into account the Swiss-based petrochemicals trader’s estimated input of at least £10m since buying into the club in 2011, Bournemouth’s budget is about to swell to unrecognisable proportions.
Even if they lose every game next term and plummet straight back down to the Championship, the south coast outfit stand to pocket a boost to revenue worth at least £120m. That figure is comprised of an approximate £60m uplift in centrally distributed league funds, plus a similar amount spread over the following four years in so-called parachute payments.
If Bournemouth, whose promotion was effectively secured by Monday’s 3-0 win over Bolton, stave off immediate relegation and ensure a second season among the elite they can expect an even more lucrative windfall due to bumper new Premier League television contracts that begin in 2016.
Just two years in the top flight would mean a likely £240m boost to the coffers, comprised of £65m in central funds for 2015-16 and £90m for 2016-17, plus improved parachute payments predicted to be worth £85m.
For comparison, Bournemouth’s reported income in their most recent submitted accounts, for the 2012-13 campaign, was £5.1m.
Last season’s figures remain undisclosed, but revenue is unlikely to be much more than double, even allowing for their rise from League One to the Championship.
Match-day receipts are limited by a tiny 12,000-capacity stadium, while losses of £15.3m in 2012-13 saw net debt rise to £15.5m.
The accounts for 2013-14 were due to be submitted to Companies House by today, but indications are that losses fell to below £8m. Anything above that level is punishable by the Football League under financial fair play rules, and the Cherries were effectively cleared of any breach in December.
Bournemouth could probably use the extra cash, then. But even allowing for repayment of debt and offsetting losses, financially as well as in playing terms they are about to enter an altogether different league.
PICK OF THE CHERRIES: THREE TO WATCH
■ Bournemouth’s top scorer has been a revelation since signing last summer from Coventry for a club record £3m. The England Under-21 striker, who has netted 23 times in 49 games in all competitions, has pace, composure and is deadly in one-on-one situations.
■ The Scotland right-winger has contributed to the joint-most goals in all four divisions this season, creating 17 assists and scoring 13 times in all competitions. Ritchie, 25, has been instrumental in Bournemouth’s historic campaign and his efforts were rewarded with a place in the PFA Championship team of the year.
■ French veteran Kermorgant’s 17 goals in all competitions have been crucial in effectively securing promotion to the Premier League. The 33-year-old striker is dominant in the air and has provided nine assists with his ability to deliver through-balls.
By Ayub Nouinou