When every penny counted

In these days of multi-million pound budgets set by football clubs and vast salaries paid to their players, this early Aston Villa balance sheet summarising the 1877-78 season is a fascinating insight to the finances of a fledgling football club. The report is provided by E. B. Lee, both a playing member of the club and its financial secretary.

Bearing in mind that the season was effectively only its third, the club was already running two teams, first and second.

Gentlemen, I have much pleasure in laying before you a BALANCE SHEET of the ASTON VILLA FOOTBALL CLUB for the Season 1877-78

Although there appears on the Statement a small balance in your favour, the Club is still in debt £4 4s. for printing expenses not yet paid. On the other hand, since the accounts were audited, I have received a little over £1 for ticket money from the Sheffield Heeley match, and shall no doubt shortly receive more, as there are tickets out, not yet accounted for. There are also outstanding subscriptions to the amount of £1 5s.

No doubt the slight deficiency stated above is accounted for in the improvements which have been effected on the ground, staking, roping etc., and also in the great expense gone to in arranging some very important matches, which are certainly for the advantage of the Club in a playing point of view, and probably in a financial one in regard to next season.

I am, Gentlemen, Yours faithfully, EDMUND BOTTERILL LEE, Financial Secretary

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