YOU might imagine Premier League clubs have a licence to print money – but AFC Bournemouth lost nearly £11million over its third season in the Premier League.

Club accounts show the Cherries paid a price for slipping down the league and investing in players and management.

The club said it had sought to consolidate its position in the Premier League through targeted spending, but was keeping a close control on cash flow.

The accounts cover the year ending June 30, 2018, when the Cherries finished in 12th place with 44 points. The previous year, their 46 points had secured the club ninth place.

AFC Bournemouth Ltd revealed a net loss before tax of £10.9m, after a profit of £14.6m in 2017, citing higher staff costs and a drop in revenue.

Turnover was down by £1.6m to £134.9m, which the club was “mainly attributed to a lower Premier League finish”. The Premier League distributes its prize money across its 20 clubs at the end of the season, starting at £2m for the bottom club and rising in £2m increments.

Staff costs rose to £101.9m from £71.5m, with the club offering “competitive” pay to players and management as it sought to stay in the Premier League.

AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said: “The 2017/18 season saw the club competing in the Premier League, finishing in 12th place with 44 points. That was enough to secure Premier League status for a fourth consecutive season.

“During the financial year, the club’s focus was to consolidate its position in the Premier League through targeted expenditure on assets and expertise in the playing squad and supporting infrastructure.

“The directors continue to maintain close control over cash flow and continue to develop and maintain policies with the aim of ensuring the club is run in a sustainable and successful manner.”These policies are seen as vital in order to keep control over all expenditure that the club commits to.

“The club sees retention of key staff as a key ingredient to success and the directors considers the financial position of the company to be satisfactory.”

The year saw the club complete the £3.75m purchase of the former Canford Magna Golf Club for use as a training complex. It also reached a £4.75m settlement which the English Football League, which had sought to impose a £7.61m charge under financial fair play rules. Bournemouth said the league had “agreed that there was no wrongdoing by the club and that no further action would be taken”.

Match and season ticket income was £5.3m compared with £5.2m in 2017; Premier League income was £119.2 (down from £124.2m); and sponsorship and advertising income rose from £3.6m to £6.8m.

Directors’ pay was up from £1.4m to £1.7m, with the highest paid director costing £1.3m.

The company’s immediate parent company is AFCB Enterprises Limited and its ultimate parent company Fortina Enterprises Limited, both registered in the British Virgin Islands. The ultimate controlling party is Maxim Demin.