Report: Newcastle United profits hit record high of £18.7 million

St James Park

Despite rising staff costs Newcastle United have recorded their highest ever profit of £18.7 million while debt is also down at the Premier League club.

It is a rare piece of positive news for the Magpies this season and comes in the wake of yet another wave of protests by supporters over the ownership of billionaire Mike Ashley at the weekend.

Thousands of fans stayed away from Sunday's defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park in protest at the way the sportswear Tycoon is running the club. The official attendance was 47,427 - the capacity of the stadium is more than 52,000 - but is understood to have been a lot less when no-shows from season ticket holders are taken into account.

While a lack of investment rankles with the passionate locals, it is doing wonders for the club's balance sheet.

In fact in a detailed report by Inside World Football, it was only rising staff costs which stopped the club reporting even stronger financial results for the year to June 30 2014.

The report says that financial statements for the club, currently lying 14th in the league table, are now available from Companies House and show that the Magpies generated a record after-tax profit of £18.7 million, nearly double the £9.9 million achieved in 2013.

The report also revealed club debt, which takes the form of an interest-free loan from unpopular Sports Direct owner Ashley, remained "static" at £129 million. Net debt was down from £133.5 million to £94.9 million.

According to Forbes magazine in 2012, Ashley, who rarely gives interviews or comments directly on club activity, has an estimated wealth of £1.5 billion.

At the end of last year Ashley angered Newcastle fans further when he bought a stake in Scottish football club Rangers with many feeling he could not focus on two big clubs at the same time.

During his tenure he has made some hugely unpopular decisions including only giving club legend Alan Shearer eight games in the job as they were relegated. Sacking the popular Chris Hughton, after he had ensured an instant return to the top tier, drove the wedge further between the supremo and the fans.

And more recently he handed Marmite character Alan Pardew an unprecedented eight-year contract and continually stuck by him when fans called for his head. That was until this season when Pardew was suddenly allowed to leave for Crystal Palace after steering the club into midtable after a sticky start.

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