Revealed! The REAL cost of relegation at Newcastle

Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley
Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley

Newcastle United reported a staggering £90.9million operating loss for the club's season in the Championship.

And this translated into a loss after tax of £41.3million following the sales of Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum and others.

However, the true cost of relegation is closer to £20million, according to a football finance expert.

The figures put out last week by the club showed that the club's wage bill had risen to £112.2million in the Championship. This figure, according to the club, included "promotion bonuses and onerous contract provisions totalling just over £30million".

The £30million figure includes a player bonus of £9.9million for winning the Championship. The rest is made up of contracts for unwanted players that the club has paid up or written off.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley made an interest-free loan of £15million to tide the club over during its year in the Championship.

United's full accounts for 2016-17 have been published on the Companies House website.

Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance at Liverpool University, has gone through the full figures.

And if non-cash and one-off items are taken out, the accounts, according to Maguire, show a loss of £19.8million.

The headline figures, including the large paper loss, were published by the club as representatives of Rafa Benitez continued to discuss the club's summer transfer budget.

Meanwhile, the accounts also reveal that the club, which is being investigated by HM Revenue & Customs, has set aside some money for unpaid tax and National Insurance.