Crewe Alex: Club set to net £4m for teen star Nick Powell
FINANCE chief Norman Hassall is confident the sale of teenage prospect Nick Powell can put Crewe back in the black.
The 18-year-old is likely to be playing his final game for the Railwaymen in next Sunday's League Two play-of final after attracting a list of suitors with his skilful attacking displays this term.
Manchester United are reported to be lining up a £4m deal after Sir Alex Ferguson made a final check on the Haslington-raised youngster in the recent home clash with Aldershot.
Cash-strapped Alex registered an after-tax deficit of £962,736 in the latest financial year (2010/2011). It is the second year of hefty losses after they fell £821,934 into the red during 2009/2010.
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Directors have dipped into their pockets to maintain cashflow by making interest free loans totalling over £1m between 2009 and 2011.
"We go from feast to famine as we have always done in the past," stressed Hassall. "When our youngsters come through it pulls back the deficits we have made previously.
"We made over £2m losses over the last two seasons and that is not sustainable in the long term as none of us (the directors) are multi-millionaires or blessed with oil wells.
"But we'll always have a market for the likes of Nick Powell and the Max Claytons of this world, although not for the players who stay with us a bit longer. That is why we need to be in category two for Academies so we can persuade youngsters to stay with us."
Crewe are to spend £90,000 bringing their Reaseheath training facilities up to standard to secure a category-two listing so their youth scheme can continue to generate future funds.
They recently brokered a £400,000 fee for highly-rated 16-year-old Dan Smith when he left to join Liverpool recently.
And while they have enjoyed no proceeds from big sales since John Brayford and James Bailey were sold to Derby County (for £1m in May 2010), they received a modest sell-on slice when another Academy graduate, Ben Marshall, was sold by Stoke to Leicester City during this year's January transfer window.
Overall, Crewe took a £1.2m hit in their turnover last year as transfer fees dropped to £222,500 from £1.31m in 2010.
Their commercial income – which should get a boost this week from Wembley-related sales – also fell from £669,135 to £500,138.
Hassall has also revealed shareholders have been awarded £60 shares in Commercial Enterprises (Crewe) Ltd.
Formed to explore ways of generating off-the pitch income, the subsidiary company takes a pepper corn £1,000 rent off the club for use of the stadium as well as running the catering arm and the pay-and-display car park at Gresty Road.
CREWE will wear their all-black change strip at Wembley for next Sunday's League Two play-off final (3pm). Cheltenham will wear their crimson home kit after finishing higher in the table.
Over 3,000 play-off final tickets had been sold by close of play on Friday.
They are now on general sale.