Here at The Scratching Shed, we believe in healthy debate about the club we support. This needs facts to be acknowledged as they come available. Over the past couple of months we have referred thrice to The Swiss Ramble’s combination of self-reported wage costs of Championship football clubs two seasons ago (2009-10). It showed that Leeds had spent significantly more than some Championship clubs while gaining promotion from League One. It also, however, suggested Leeds were not spending greatly on the playing side of the club, with Chairman Ken Bates’ unofficially reporting to fans that Leeds’ budget this season was originally £9 million but had risen to £12.5 million. That would have placed us fourteenth in 2009-10’s table of wage expenditure – the same position we had been that year, in League One.

Many took this evidence and argued that Leeds needed to spend more. We saw the likes of Max Gradel, Jonny Howson, and a raft of other first team players leaving after rejecting contract offers and we saw figures that suggested a lack of investment at the same time as the club spending £7 million on the East Stand redevelopment project. No readers commented that we should spend enough to top the table, surpassing the jaw-dropping £65 million then newly demoted Portsmouth paid that season – that would have equated to an average wage of £40,000-45,000 per player!

Today, Blackpool published their annual accounts. This takes in the 2010-11 season in the Premiership. Readers will remember that Blackpool famously refused to make megabucks signings and instead signed eleven players before the end of the transfer window whose wages could be afforded should the worst happen, and Blackpool find themselves demoted. Blackpool fought valiantly, but ran out of steam and were indeed demoted.

Blackpool’s figures show that last season they budgeted £12.1 million for wages. This should be combined with their £3.5 million transfer budget for the sake of comparison with Leeds’ budget which combines the transfer budget in a “pot” or “warchest”. This £15.6 million budget places Leeds’ £12.5 million budget this year into perspective. Mainly because the low figure reported by Blackpool would place her only 12th in 2009-10’s table of Championship wage-expenditure. This suggests a very significant drop in average expenditure last season and suggests that to compare Leeds’ current wage budget with past wage budgets is unfair in the current economic climate.

So with this extra evidence, how do well do we think the Board have backed our managers this season?

How well have the board backed the manager?

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