ROTHERHAM United have taken a minimum £5 million hit from relegation back to League One but are in a strong enough financial position to ride the blow.
The drop means a fall in EFL solidarity payments and also in matchday income when the AESSEAL New York Stadium opens its doors again to spectators in August.
Chairman Tony Stewart said the difference in revenue between the second and third tiers was approximately £5 million, and when taking into account the lower crowds, nearer to £6 million.
But thanks to financial prudence, the Millers will be able to cope despite a tough year in which they were able to ride out a £3 million loss of income from the pandemic without taking on any debt, unlike many of their rivals, not least in the Championship.
Stewart said: “Other teams spending big money on players, like the Derbys, Nottingham Forests and Birminghams, look at their indebtedness.
“Rotherham is in control, not out of control. It balances its books at the end of every season. It doesn't carry any debt and it will continue to do so.”
The financial shock of relegation isn't new to the club.
Rotherham dropped back down from the Championship in 2017 and 2019 and managed to make the necessary adjustments to climb straight back.
But as manager Paul Warne and his staff set about shaping a squad for another promotion tilt, he is well aware of the financial and playing gulf between the two divisions.
“There is a big difference and you can see it with the quality of player in the Championship compared to League One,” said Warne.
“What we don't have in League One is the (financial) advantage of away followings. You can get 1,500 to 2,000 away fans for most games in the Championship whereas in some League One midweek games there might only be 100. That is a big swing.
“In the Championship there are all the benefits of having more people through the door.
“There's more drinks sold, more pies sold, everything.
“There is a financial hit from dropping out of the Championship and that's why we need to be really frugal when giving out contracts so that if we don't survive we don't leave ourselves in a financial predicament because it is bad enough coming out of the league without giving out contracts that you later regret.
“Our contracts are written that if we're in League One they are affordable and the signings we make are always within our financial planning.”
Stewart accepts that bad luck played a large part in the club's relegation, which was decided on the final day, but expects a positive response.
He added: “We are bitterly disappointed because we did expect to stay up.
“We have had bad luck but moving forward, we have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down.
“What's the ambition? To get back into the Championship.
“We've done it twice, why can't we do it a third time?"
“If we are saying that we were unfortunate to go down, we have got to prove we were unfortunate to do so by springing straight back.”
MANAGER Paul Warne says he might need to do less transfer business than expected this summer.
A few weeks ago the Millers chief estimated that as many as eight new faces might be needed to fill holes left by released players and loanees and the prospect of losing others to bigger clubs.
The sluggish transfer market so far indicates not as many signings will be required.
'Warne said: “As it stands at the moment I have 19 first team pros.
“If I don't lose any then I don't need to make many additions.
“I initially thought we would lose a few and that might still be the case, but as transfer windows go this has been a really quiet one so far. I expect it to pick up in mid or late June and that's why we are in no rush to sign anyone.”
Warne added: “If you tell me I am starting the season with my 19 senior pros and with Michael Smith, Freddie Ladapo and Josh Kayode as my three strikers and there is no movement then I would readily take that.
“We are not badly placed but there will be teams who only have ten pros in the building and have to recruit.”
Goalkeeper Josh Vickers signed a new two-year deal this week but another out-of-contract player, defender Matt Olosunde, has still to make a decision.
BRISTOL City are tracking Millers striker Michael Smith.
According to sources in the south west, the Robins are one of the clubs interested in the 29-year-old, who is also a target for Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough.
Smith, who has a year left on his contract, scored in both matches against Bristol last season and would be a straight replacement for Famara Diedhiou, the Senegalese forward they have just released.
Midfielder Matt Crooks is another player tipped to leave the AESSEAL New York Stadium this summer but with clubs still feeling the impact of the pandemic, there is little transfer activity up and down the leagues.
“We have had the usual phone calls and enquires about players but no offers,” said Millers chief Paul Warne.
“Clubs have taken such a hard hit they are still suffering a bit.
“Normally by now I have a few agents putting names to me.”
Warne also dismissed reports linking him with a move for young defender Jacob Bedeau, a free agent last at Scunthorpe United.