St Kilda president Peter Summers.

St Kilda president Peter Summers. Photo: Wayne Taylor

St Kilda has made an impassioned plea to members, vowing significant changes, including a review of its culture and making a reconnection with Tasmania, after the club announced a loss of $2.6 million on Monday.

On the same day, president Peter Summers wrote to club members forecasting the release of a new vision for the club for the next five years to transform the Saints into "a top four side consistently positioned as a premiership contender by 2018".

A tumultuous 2013 of negative off-field publicity and poor on-field performances ended with the release of an operating loss of $1,198,587 for the financial year ending on October 31.

The club's statement said "depreciation, amortisation and interest" blew out the operating figure to a statutory loss of $2,614,837 - way beyond the statutory loss of $436,818 it suffered last financial year.

The bad headlines kept coming for St Kilda. Star forward Stephen Milne faced rape charges, players were forced to apologise for setting a dwarf on fire, popular midfielder Nick Dal Santo left for North Melbourne and Ahmed Saad was suspended for 18 months for taking a banned substance.

The club was also criticised for its decision to wait until November1 to sack coach Scott Watters with a year to run on his contract before poaching highly rated Port Adelaide assistant Alan Richardson two weeks later.

Membership, gate returns and merchandise revenue dropped by more than $900,000 compared with last year, and the club lost at a corporate level with events and hospitality falling $450,000 on the 2012 figure.

There were payouts to departing football department staff, but it is unclear whether those included Watters' termination.

Senior assistant coach Dean Laidley and high-performance manager Bill Davoren are among those who have left the Saints' football department this year, while chief executive Michael Nettlefold quit in late September.

Summers claimed that losses to Gold Coast and Richmond in the first two rounds prompted membership to abruptly stop, with the final figure of 32,748 more than 2700 members short of the 2012 mark.

The Saints finished 16th, winning only five games this year.

"Importantly, the [financial] result also includes one-off termination costs in the football department which occurred late in the financial year," he said.

Without the payouts and the $203,800 establishment costs of the ‘Saints' Marching Fund', Summers said the loss statutory loss would have been in the order of $495,000.

"Whilst still disappointing, this number is well under the extreme numbers that have been circulating and reported in some quarters in recent times," he said.

Summers also wrote to members: "It is correct that we sought an increase in our overdraft position with the bank which required AFL support. An extraordinary handout or payment was not sought, nor given".

Summers said the club was putting the finishing touches on a five-year strategic plan developed over two years by directors, staff and other key stakeholders. It would be released in the new year.

He addressed some of the key elements, including the club's culture - revealing the Saints had engaged Bluestone Edge (the company that has worked with the AFL and Olympic teams) to review its culture and leadership systems.

Summers said the club also wanted to re-engage with its Tasmanian members.

"A return to the days of a large and loyal member base will be kicked off this year with our round-17 away clash against North Melbourne in Hobart. We are looking to make our trip to Tasmania and all these fixtures annual," he said, as well as making a meaningful return to the club's Moorabbin "heartland".

"We make a commitment that the St Kilda Football Club will be playing out of Moorabbin once more, with the establishment of our own VFL team by 2016," the president wrote.

Summers said the club's dramatic change in list management direction under head of football Chris Pelchen would be a cornerstone in the goal to win a premiership by 2018, pointing out the Saints had brought in 28 players in three years.

Summers said suggestions that the departures of Watters, Nettlefold and former president Greg Westaway in September had created a "leadership vacuum" were incorrect.

He also vowed to continue to fight for a greater share of industry revenue, given the Saints are one club that has been disadvantaged by a comparatively lower stadium deal with Etihad Stadium.

The Saints this year received a $275,000 reduction in dividend from the AFL future fund dis-equal untagged compensation, compared with 2012.