Fleetwood Town made a loss of £2.5m in the year 2014-2015.
The club’s latest accounts have just been released and reveal a turnover of £3.9m (after costs) offset by ‘administrative expenses’ of £6.4m to create a total operating loss of £2,502,064.
The club lost more than £600,000 more than in 2013-2014.
However, club chairman Andrew Pilley says the financial year has been one of forward planning, with the club’s £8.5m state-of-the-art Poolfoot Farm training complex set for completion in the coming months.
The latest accounts cover the season in which Fleetwood competed in the third tier of English football for the first time in their history.
The 2014/15 season saw them compete alongside the likes of Preston North End, Bristol City, Bradford and Sheffield United – teams with a rich history and with much larger fanbases than Town.
The investment in the new training complex and the increase in expenditure of a near £1m on staff wages has seen the club post a £2.5m loss.
Pilley said in his strategic report for the year commencing from June 30 2014 to June 30 2015 that it was a “crossroads” year for the club and that they have invested in the future.
The chairman said: “The year was a successful one on the field of play, seeing the club compete, for the first time in their history in League One of the English Football League.
“The club eventually finished in a very respectable 10th position.
“The season in general was a crossroads in the club’s progression, as for the first time the club found themselves competing against an overwhelming majority of clubs steeped in history, with considerable fanbases and, as a consequence, with greater playing budgets and resources than Fleetwood.
“It was key that the club used this season to consider a longer-term strategy to cope with that competition and to move towards a healthy and sustainable future.
“It was also a year of planning and change off the field, with changes made to the club’s staffing and operations structure, which was seen as essential to keep pace with the progression made on the field.
“The planning also saw continued work on the club’s new training base, integral to that ongoing development strategy of the football club.
“In summary, a successful year on the field of play and one of forward strategic planning to ensure the investment and efforts of the chairman continued to provide progress, success and a healthy financial and football future.”
The club’s staffing costs rose despite the average number of playing staff dropping from 61 to 55 and non-playing staff dropping from 69 to 64.
The club spent £4,761,037 on staff wages compared to £3,842,368 the previous year.
Pilley took control the club in 2004 and has overseen its rise from the North West Counties league to League One.
After a decade of promotions, the chairman is fighting a relegation battle for the first time and he stated in his strategic report that a return to League Two was the primary risk to the business.
Pilley said: “The principal risk to the business is poor onfield performance which could result in relegation that would potentially damage the income levels.
“Management are aware of this and are working towards a restructuring of the business model to mitigate such risk.”
Last October, Graham Alexander was replaced as manager by ex-Scotland defender Steven Pressley in a bid to halt a disappointing start to the season.
But in his report Pilley stresses that he is looking towards the future and to supporting the local community.
He said: “The training ground facility is now in the building phase and should be finalised during the 2015/16 financial year.
“Once completed it will combine both the club’s commitment to excellence within the professional game and supporting the local community.”