Lincoln City reveals pandemic losses

Lincoln City reported losses of £1.4 million for the 2020/21 season after matches were forced to take place behind closed doors due to lockdown.

The Imps – currently in the bottom half of League One – were hit badly by the pandemic with all matches, apart from the play-offs, forced to take place in front of empty stands.

The club said turnover dropped from £6.55 million the previous season to £5.22 million. The previous year had included an extra £1 million in compensation when management duo Danny and Nicky Cowley left to take over at Huddersfield Town in September 2019.

The club said commercial revenue remained strong “due to ongoing support from our club partners during the pandemic”.

The annual report said the decline in turnover and other income was partly offset by lower costs in managing the stadium during lockdown.

The Imps said they received a £813,000 grant as part of the rescue package distributed by the Premier League to League One and League Two clubs last season.

Meanwhile, club directors and key investors put a combined £1.28 million into the club via shares in Lincoln City Holdings – the club’s holding company – while £139,000 was put in by fans.

A further £900,000, for investment into the club, remained in the Lincoln City Holdings bank account at the end of the financial year.

In their annual report the club said: “We began the financial year with extreme uncertainty facing the club and the country.

“Although the primary objective of the club was to survive the severe negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the board decided to push ahead with projects that would benefit the club in the longer term.

“As such, we saw the installation of a fire sand pitch together with the renovation of the other training pitches at the Elite Performance Centre as well as further investment into the academy.

“Despite the uncertain conditions and a significantly reduced pro budget to work with in the summer transfer window, the recruitment team was able to put together an exciting young squad.

“With the team at the top of the League 1 table going into the New Year and greater clarity on the financial position funds were released to support the recruitment process in the January transfer window.

“This saw the permanent signings of Regan Poole, Cohen Bramall and Max Saunders with Morgan Rogers also joining on loan from Manchester City.

“Despite a dip in form in the second half of the season with a number of injuries to key players, the team reached the play-off final losing 2-1 to Blackpool at Wembley.

“After playing the entire league season behind closed doors, it was encouraging to welcome a limited amount of fans back for the play-off semi-final against Sunderland and the final.”

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Tom PegdenLeicester Mercury business editor