The long awaited NUFC accounts for last (2013/14) season were unveiled on 30 March 2015.
Most fans wondered whether the club would declare a profit of around the £50m and what narrative would be given surrounding those massive profits.
They didn’t and they didn’t.
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The decared profit after player trading was taken into account, was £18.7m.
No explanation was given as to why the profits were far lower than expected, with apparently up to £28.5m in extra costs and/or other reasons slashing the expected circa £50m profits.
There was also no wages to turnover figure included in the limited information Mike Ashley allowed to come out.
Usually the club are very keen to trumpet the wages to turnover as showing how great they are at running the club. With much higher turnover and no obvious large additions to the wage bill, this only increased the specualtion as to why Newcastle United weren’t been more transparent with their financial information.
Never mind we thought, within a few days (after the club release the headline figures) the NUFC accounts are usually lodged at Companies House and the public can access them.
With Mike Ashley running the club as a private company rather than one accountable to other shareholders, you are never going to get that level of information, though usually the information from Companies House does put more flesh on the bone and you learn a little more. Such as the wage bill or special notes in the accounts etc etc.
Two weeks later and Mike Ashley still hasn’t allowed the accounts to be filed at Companies House. By law they should have been filed by now but the fine is only £150 if you are up to a month late, increasing to £1500 if more than six months late (thanks to @MikeAshleyLies for that info). Based on these meagre fines, it may be a case of waiting around quite a while before we ever see them.
So in the meantime you get amateur (and professional) accountants trying to make sense of what the club have released. As Mike Ashley holds all the aces (the information) much/all of it is guesswork, a lot of it revolving around accountancy techniques/practices. Nothing wrong with the debate going on and it is a valid one, though also very frustrating as you don’t get to any definite conclusions.
I thought I’d look at it another way, the broad brush strokes of what we do know.
The facts of 2013/14:
Club turnover increased from £95.9m to £129.7m, a rise of £33.8m, including almost £30m extra from TV.
Newcastle United sold their best player (Yohan Cabaye) for around £20m as well as shifting a few others (Harper, Simpson, Perch) out of the club.
Newcastle United didn’t buy a single first team player, though loan deals were arranged for Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong.
The club announced a profit of £4.7m on the turnover of £129.7m, which then increased to a profit of £18.7m after player trading in and out.
The broad picture is that Newcastle United were handed an extra £30m from TV, sold the best player for another £20m and bought nobody.
These big decisions then equated to an end profit of £18.7m which is what all the media are quoting and is seen as the money available to spend by most.
To put it bluntly then, it appears to the man in the street that if Newcastle hadn’t sold Yohan Cabaye there wouldn’t have been any tangible profit, despite the extra £30m handed on a plate by TV.
Or alternatively, if United had replaced Yohan Cabaye with an equivalent, then there would be no profit either, despite again the extra £30m from TV.
Of course, the big problem for Mike Ashley is that many other clubs are a lot more transparent with their finances, as well as the fact that the vast majority of other Premier League clubs are also showing a profit for last season.
The only ‘slight’ difference is that they all produced a profit without selling their best player and/or by not buying a single player for the squad.