Beyond the headline figures: Newcastle United's accounts offer takeover, furlough, pay and spending insights

The cost of the coronavirus pandemic is laid out in Newcastle United’s latest accounts.

St James's Park.
St James's Park.

Behind-closed-doors football cost the club tens of millions of pounds in the extended accounting period which ran to July 31 last year.

The club, set to spend more than £20million on Joe Willock, posted an operating loss of £54million (the loss after tax was £22.5million). Matchday revenue was down 30%, while wages, at £121million, were up 20%, though this partly reflected an extra month’s wages.

Newcastle spent £76million on players, and recouped £30million from player sales. Owner Mike Ashley’s loan to the club stands at £106.9million.

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The accounts stated: "These financial results do not reflect a ‘normal’ year for the group.”

Beyond these headline figures, there was a lot for fans to digest.

Takeover silence

The accounts make reference to the ongoing efforts to resurrect a proposed £300million sale to a consortium led by Amanda Staveley which includes Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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The accounts state: "Legal proceedings are ongoing between Newcastle United and the Premier League.

"The club has challenged the Premier League's decisions concerning a proposed takeover that involves the Public Investment Fund. The proceedings are are confidential in nature.”

Charnley’s pay rise

One line in the accounts which stood out concerned the wage of the club’s highest-paid (and only) director, Lee Charnley.

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Charnley took home a salary of £267,000 in 2018/19, and this was on the low side in Premier League terms.

However, the club’s managing director – who doesn’t speak to the media – has had a significant pay rise. For the latest period, he took home £675,000. This figure reflects a 13-month period, of course, but even when that is factored in, Charnley’s wage has more than doubled.

Infrastructure spending

Three years ago, photographs were circulated online of peeling paint and damp patches at St James’s Park.

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United fans had long poked fun at Stadium of Light’s pink seats, but it seemed that their own stadium was in need of a facelift.

The club, at the time, insisted that St James’s Park was well-maintained, though the latest figures underline how little, comparatively, is spent by Newcastle on infrastructure.

United spent just £200,000 on infrastructure in 2019/20. The club has spent a “feeble” £11million on infrastructure under Ashley up to last July, according to analysis from Swiss Ramble.

Newcastle, of course, revealed plans for a “stunning new state-of-the-art training complex” in 2013, but the old building was instead updated.

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Furlough money

There was a backlash when Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur furloughed non-playing staff using the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

They reversed their decisions last year during the first lockdown.

However, Newcastle were undeterred, and the club took advantage of the scheme, which paid 80% of the wages of furloughed staff.

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The latest accounts revealed that United claimed almost £1.2million from the scheme during the accounting period.

Static commercial revenue

The club’s commercial revenue has been more or less flat under Ashley’s ownership.

United’s commercial and “other” income totalled just over £29million in 2019/20, and this is only a slight increase on the figure from 2007, when Ashley bought the club.

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Newcastle have been left behind by the Premier League’s bigger clubs, and, over the latest period, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City and West Ham United pulled in more money from their commercial operations.

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