Harry Redknapp has entirely absolved himself of blame for Birmingham’s potential 12-point deduction.
The Championship club have breached the English Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules and are currently under official investigation.
They could face a points deduction or transfer ban for lavish spending that dates back to the reigns of Gianfranco Zola and Redknapp, who replaced the Italian at St Andrew’s.
The main cause of Birmingham’s deteriorating balance sheet was an increase in the wage bill from just over £22million in 2016-17 to nearly £38million the following year as both Zola and Redknapp were backed in the transfer market.
Redknapp helped save the club from relegation in 2017 after Zola’s disastrous four-month reign but the 71-year-old Englishman only lasted eight league games last season, despite signing 14 players during the summer.
According to the accounts, Birmingham spent more than £15million on transfer fees but the most shocking figure is the wage-to-turnover ratio, a key indicator of a club’s sustainability.
With club revenues edging up to £18.8million, Birmingham paid out a remarkable £202 in wages for every £100 they brought in, double the league average, and when transfer fees are factored in, that grows to £243 out for every £100 in.
As a result, Birmingham have net liabilities of £55million and owe parent company Birmingham Sports Holdings more than £73million, a sum that will grow over the next 18 months, as the directors’ report reveals a further £39million will be needed over the next 18 months to keep the club afloat.
But Redknapp insists he is not to blame.
“It’s surely down to the people who run the club, like the chief executive and the chairman, or whoever, to know if we’ve got any money to spend,” Redknapp told The Daily Telegraph.
“I didn’t know anything about Financial Fair Play. I was never warned by anyone at the football club that there was going to be a problem with that.
“There were three lads from Brentford that came in [Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin] – they were all good players but they weren’t on my shopping list.
“I’d never even see any of them play, they were brought in by other people above my head.
“We bought in Isaac Vassell for £1m [from Luton Town], and he will be worth massive money in my opinion. He was an absolute bargain, but I can’t even take credit for that because he was nothing to do with me, to be truthful.
“I don’t think any of the signings were mine. I was taking John Ruddy on a free transfer from Norwich and instead they brought in David Stockdale from Brighton. The director of football [Jeff Vetere] wasn’t brought in by me either.”
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