Good morning, Imps fans – it’s an early start this morning as the club release their accounts for the 2022/23 season.
To ensure you’re up to date on the headlines, we’ve just dropped a podcast with Keiran Maguire from the Price of Football, where he drills down into the numbers to clarify where we are and what they mean. Me? I’m not a numbers person, and I won’t pretend to be, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be getting the usual top-notch coverage you expect. You can find links to the podcast at the end of this article.
As a Lincoln City nerd, there were three major bits of news contained within the account that satisfied my curiosity. How many times have we moaned about not knowing transfer fees? Undisclosed fees are annoying, never quite giving fans closure when a player leaves. Okay, it means there’s no pressure on a player when he arrives, but we all want to know what the club records are. As of 6:59 am, the club’s official record transfer fee was split between Tony Battersby and Dean Walling, players for whom we paid £75,000.
That’s not the case at 7:01 am.
Yep, it’s finally been confirmed that our record transfer fee paid was for John Akinde. In a short section explaining how we’d paid a six-figure fee for Ethan Erhahon, it was confirmed that it did not exceed the £325,000 we paid for John Akinde, which included a promotion bonus.
That’s £13,000 per goal (I won’t work out what it was from open play), but Big John did play a crucial role across the field in our winning promotion. However, it is interesting to see the size of the outlay on a striker that summer – supporters even felt we hadn’t got our number one target (that was Tyler Walker on loan). Big John eventually left for Colchester for a nominal fee one would imagine was a lot lower than £325,000.
There was also news around the departure of Harry Toffolo to Huddersfield Town. With the sell-on fee we received, it’s reported in the accounts that we got approximately £640,000 for Toff – that’s a fair chunk of change. What is interesting is this is cited as a club record. Now, those of you with long memories will recall this seemingly not being the case – when we sold Jack Hobbs to Liverpool, the fee was thought to be £750,000. That was what got reported, but I’m told that in reality, the fee fell some way short of that, as clauses such as appearance bonuses were not met, meaning we ended up receiving less money than reported.
Maybe undisclosed fees are for the best; could the fact clubs felt we had £750,000 to spend have hindered us a season later? It’s possible, but whatever the truth, it’s interesting to know that our record sales have come in recent seasons. Remember, we also sold Tayo Edun for £550,000.
Jamie Robson is often cited as a failing of the current recruitment team, and on the face of it, that’s right. Nobody is going to get everything right, and Robson’s arrival and departure ensured he won’t be remembered all that fondly at Sincil Bank. The accounts make a revelation about him as well – they report a minor deficit, meaning we lost a small amount of money up to June 2023.
It’s really important to note that this is now no longer the case. Since moving to Forest Green, Robson has played 55 times (as of writing) and has passed a threshold for further payment. That payment means we have no longer lost money on the former Dundee United left-back. I found that interesting, given how so many ITK critics said we must have lost money on him.
From a fan perspective, I found the numbers around players interesting, but what of the rest of the accounts? I think it’s best to hand you over to an expert, Keiran Maguire. If you want to check out the podcast now, these are the links you need.