Chelsea announce £1.4m profit
Chelsea have announced a profit of £1.4million for last year - the first time the club has finished in the black since 2003.
The Blues have finally proved there might be life beyond Roman Abramovich's chequebook.
After eight years and a total of £630million in losses since the Russian took over at Stamford Bridge, the club's success in the Champions League has finally pushed them into the black.
The profit may only be £1.4million for the year ending June 30, 2012, but in terms of complying with UEFA's financial fair play rules, it is a hugely important result for the London club.
Their record turnover of £255.7m, up from £225.6m, sees them leapfrog Arsenal and secure further bragging rights in the capital.
Club chairman Bruce Buck said: "We will never forget that night in Munich and now we are celebrating serious progress off the field too.
"While we draw huge satisfaction from the achievements of the past 12 months we are more than ever focused on continuing the story of on-field success supported by improving financial performance off the pitch."
The £1.4m profit comes only a year after a loss of £67.7m, which then was latest in the string of massive annual losses. It is four years too late in terms of fulfilling the boast of former chief executive Peter Kenyon, but with the pressure from UEFA to break even it is not surprising the figures have created such jubilation at the club.
A Chelsea statement said: "The £1.4m profit contrasts with a loss of £67.7m in the previous financial year and puts the club in a strong position to comply with UEFA financial fair play criteria for the coming seasons.
"The club also enjoyed an uplift in revenues from commercial activities including new partners and merchandising."
The statement added that debt of £166.6m, in the form of loans from Abramovich, has been turned into equity during the course of the year "making Chelsea FC plc debt free".
Abramovich had previously converted £709.9m in loans into equity.
Chelsea have yet to release the full annual figures however, and according to their statement "significant profits (£28.8m) were made in the transfer market".
The signings of Juan Mata (£23.5m) and Gary Cahill (£7m) took place during the year while there was income from sales, mainly from of Alex and Yuri Zhirkov.
In terms of accounting however, the transfer fees are spread out across the length of a player's contract rather than hitting the accounts in one lump sum.
The challenge for Chelsea will be to try and stay in or close to the black in this current year if they do not have the same income from the Champions League or FA Cup wins - the signings of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses will then be part of the accounts.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay added: "Our club philosophy is built on success. We had that success on the field this year, as we were the first London team to win the UEFA Champions League, and we enjoyed it off the field as well and this helps us inject financial investment into the team.
"The big challenge is always to have a successful team on the field that wins trophies and to make a profit at the same time. The objectives have been set across the whole business, from the Academy to Under-21s and all the way through to the first team."
There was barely-disguised glee that the increase in turnover puts Chelsea above Arsenal in the money league and in fifth place in the world behind Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
Arsenal's annual figure, announced in September, saw overall turnover fall to £243m from £255m, although profits were £30.6m.
Chelsea said in their statement: "Chelsea Football Club has also recorded a record group turnover of £255.7m, making Chelsea the fifth largest club in Europe in terms of revenue."