CHAIRMAN John Berylson has warned that Millwall's summer spending could be a one-off if attendances at The Den do not improve this season.
Berylson has backed new manager Steve Lomas by allowing him to bring in six new players ahead of Saturday's big kick-off against Yeovil Town.
But the American says future investment in the squad will now be dictated by Financial Fair Play, a UEFA regulation that forces clubs to cut their losses – or face disciplinary action.
In the Championship, sides losing more than £4million a year leave themselves open to heavy fines or a transfer embargo, and so increasing matchday revenue is essential.
In the short-term, however, Berylson is happy for Lomas to keep spending.
"In terms of his budget, Steve has a number and he's a little bit above that number, but I'm feeling quite opportunistic about transfers," Berylson said.
"He can always crawl his way back to the number by getting some players out, but first I want to get our team finalised. There's pressure on Steve to get people out who he's not going to play – but not to trim the budget for the sake of it.
"We ought not have people sitting around doing nothing. That's not what we need or want. But there are no rules – we'll do what we have to do and clean the mess up later. In the meantime we're happy to make a bit of mess."
But Berylson is becoming increasingly wary of FFP and insists crowds will need to rise if the budget is to be kept at its current level.
"I've got FFP staring me right in the face because I've raised the budget again," he said.
"The truth of the matter is, if the fans don't come through for us the team will never be able to make a sustained effort at this level.
"I did my bit last year as well – maybe the fans did not realise that then, but when the accounts are released they will do. We went over our expected budget by about 15%. I hope the fans come to games because it's critical now – next year FFP kicks in much harder.
"If a majority continue to listen to games on the radio, we won't be able to have this team.
"That's not a threat – it's a fact. People think it's a threat every time I say it, but I've done the numbers. We need five-figure attendances every game and a lot of 15,000s.
"For a game like Barnsley, we really need 10,000 fans to show up. There was room to increase the budget but now I've sort of hit the ceiling. I can't go up any more because I have to worry about the consequences.
"If we can add an extra 2,000 to the gate each week, over the course of the season that will add about £1million to the budget – and that goes a long, long way. Every pound counts."