NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United Chief Executive Darren Eales spoke on Friday about the “ambitious, long-term project” that is underway at St James’ Park.
It followed the release of the club’s latest financial results, the main takeaway from which was a need to significantly increase revenues and secure more-lucrative sponsorship deals.
The accounts for the year ending June 30, 2022, were the first filed under the majority ownership of the club by Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, whose tutelage covered about nine months of that period.
Newcastle reported a loss, after tax, of £70.7 million ($87.2 million), over the 12 months, a significant increase on the £12.2m loss reported in 2021. It was mostly attributed to transfer market costs, and a significant increase in the ratio of wages to turnover, which now sits at an unsustainable-looking 94.6 percent.
Turnover, however, was up, with the club reporting revenues of £180 million, an increase of almost £40m compared with the previous year.
“This is an ambitious, long-term project,” said Eales. “The financial success of the club goes hand-in-hand with our performances on the pitch.
“We have come a long way in the past few months. There’s still a long way to go but we are looking to the future with confidence.”
In the immediate future, Newcastle will take on Manchester United on Sunday in a Premier League re-run of February’s Carabao Cup final, in which the Magpies ended up on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline.
Newcastle have been plagued by injuries to some key players recently, including top scorer Miguel Almiron, and major January signing Anthony Gordon.
“Anthony did a very small part of training on Wednesday,” head coach Eddie Howe said on Friday. “We’ll see how he has responded to that.”
As for Almiron, Howe said: “I’d love him to beat the timescale given but I just don’t see it, currently. He’s making really good progress. I think he’s pain-free. I don’t think there’s any long-term issues. I think it’s just a case of that’s the time it will take for the muscle to fully heal.
“So I think we’re four weeks off (a return to action), maybe slightly less. But yeah, he’s making really good progress.”
Three other players were also under supervision during last week’s international break, which Newcastle spent in Dubai: Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and Nick Pope. Schar and Pope were both withdrawn from the Swiss and English national teams respectively, while Botman was sent home by the Netherlands.
“I think it’s been good for some players,” Howe said of the international break. “It gave us an opportunity to rest a couple that were carrying niggles and problems.
“Fabian would be a prime example of someone that has played through pain and different things. It came at a good time for him and Anthony Gordon to improve his injury and try to get him closer to returning.
“Nick felt a problem in his thigh after the Wolves game. He didn’t train in preparation for the Nottingham Forest game but completed the game with some discomfort. He didn’t train in Dubai but has trained this week, so the signs are good.”
Regarding Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman’s decision to withdraw Botman from international duty, Howe said: “Sven, I think, suffered food poisoning; quite a nasty bout of illness. I don’t think he was alone in the Holland camp, there were few players suffering the same thing.
“He left the camp early to try and get himself back up to speed. He has trained with us since he’s returned, so he should be fine.”
One player who will be back in action this weekend is Joelinton, who missed the 2-1 wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest through suspension.
“Joe’s a huge presence, not just physically but the other lads know how good of a player he is,” said Howe. “So to have him back among the squad is a huge boost for us.
“He’s been very consistent this season, a huge player for us, very versatile. To have him back is a big lift but, as you say, the other players in his absence have performed very well. It’s great to have competition for players.”