ACCORDING to the dictionary, efficiency means competency in performance and the ability to do a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.

In other words, squeezing the most bang out of your buck.

It is not, as David Baldwin stresses, a buzzword to indicate excessive belt-tightening and a reason to fear the worst.

That is the message coming out of City’s higher echelons as they look closely at how the pennies are spent in every department of the football club.

The reduced player budget continues to be a thorny issue. But director of operations Baldwin is keen to point out that it is only one area of the business that is being scrutinised.

“The theme of the close season has been the efficiency of the football club being managed in all areas,” he told the T&A from the UCD Bowl in Dublin, where City were playing Tuesday’s friendly.

“It’s very easy, especially on the back of cup success and player sales, to be complacent over funds that are in the club.

“What’s important is that anything we do needs to be about longevity and being sustainable for the long term. We are looking at every department.

“When you’ve got cash in hand that you wouldn’t normally have, the temptation is to go and spend it. Give any child their birthday money and it’s the same.

“We’ve got to be careful and caution against that. We have to put ourselves in a situation where we are sustainable.”

Recent industry figures showing that City are among the minority of clubs operating in the black are a source of incentive as much as pride. Baldwin insists there is no leeway to drop their guard – hence the root-and-branch financial examination.

He added: “This close season has been very much about looking at every element of spending.

“For example, we’re about to sign a new deal for an external catering contract which starts on August 1.

“There has been speculation about the 1911 Club being closed on a non match-day basis. But that’s really because it wasn’t sustainable to have it open and have staff manning it during the week for the number of people that were in there.

“So you look at the efficiencies and by franchising it out and getting a guaranteed income plus a further percentage afterwards was a more effective way of doing it.

“The business of a football club is a moving beast.

“We’ve got a good track record over the last eight years and the skill of that is by not standing still. You can’t just assume your incomes are going to go up.

“It would be very easy to say that we’ll put the season-ticket prices up because we’ve had success and everyone will pay more for it.

“Well actually, if we put the prices up by ten per cent I would imagine that ten per cent of the audience would choose not to purchase them. That’s false economy and it runs a dangerous game.”

Phil Parkinson needs to beef up squad numbers before the new campaign kicks off but that does not rule out any departures to free up some of the budget.

Baldwin said: “Football is not exempt to a review and a situation where you want to check efficiencies.

“It’s not an efficient position to be in to be paying a player not to be playing.

“Yes, you need a squad and the numbers there to sustain it. But what you can’t afford is players on high-end wages who are not producing.

“That’s certainly a discussion on an on-going basis between myself, the chairmen and the manager.

“Everyone’s acutely aware of where we are, where we need to be and where we’ve got to be sure we don’t make compromises that are going to cause ill effect.

“Talking about efficiency sounds like cost-cutting and scaremongering. It’s about not wasting money.

“The football club are not in a situation where they want to unduly waste money that cannot be recovered at a later stage.

“It’s about managing your finances according to the position you are in at the minute and ensuring you have sustainability. It’s a constant review.”