It’s that time of year again. The transfer window is here and we brace ourselves for the annual excuse from the club as to why NUFC will not be spending any money in January.

Over the years, the excuses have become ever more varied and elaborate. Here’s the latest from Steve Bruce: “Like every industry – the football club is the same – we’re haemorrhaging money at the moment so we’ve just got to batten down the hatches and if anything can help us then we’ll try but I wouldn’t expect a big flurry (in the transfer market) that’s for sure.”

Whether or not you want Steve Bruce to be given any more funds so he can table a bid for Ahmed Elmohamady is another matter. What we’re looking at here is whether this latest excuse for not spending any money stands up to scrutiny any better than the ones we’re usually fed?

Has the loss of revenue as a result of Covid19 meant that incoming transfers are no longer financially viable for Newcastle? And have Newcastle been hit harder by the pandemic than other clubs?

Football clubs generate income through 3 sources: Match Day (gate money etc), Broadcasting (TV and media), and Commercial (sponsorship etc). How will these three separate income streams at Newcastle be impacted? Let’s take a look.

Match Day

Covid19 has of course impacted two seasons, last season (19/20) and this (20/21). We will not know for certain how the pandemic has hit the club financially until the 19/20 accounts are released probably around March time.

7 games (6 league games and 1 FA Cup) in 19/20 were played behind closed doors. Refunds or account credits were provided so it’s likely that the club will lose about £8.4m (or £1.2m per game).

In addition, prior to the stadium being closed to supporters, gates had dropped dramatically resulting in the free half season ticket offer. This would likely shave a further £2m from match day income.

Whilst a predicted £10m reduction for 19/20 is pretty bad, 20/21 is going to be a whole lot worse! It looks unlikely that supporters will be let in stadiums any time soon. A staged reintroduction of spectators has been postponed by the UK Government following new Covid-19 restrictions. It’s likely that Newcastle will lose out on virtually all matchday income this season. Let’s just assume they do.

Matchday revenue 18/19 £24.8m 19/20 15m 20/21 0

Is this loss particularly severe for Newcastle? Unfortunately, yes.

Even with Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce at the helm, Newcastle generate the 8th highest gate receipts in the Premier League. Whilst that’s only 14% of our total income, it’s still one of the highest in the Premier.

Everton, for example, only generated £14m (in 18/19) so will be considerably less impacted by having no fans in the stadium. Wolves even less so as they generated only £12m gate receipts. Burnley bring in £6m.


So with the loss of gate receipt money, PL clubs can fall back on the entirety of their lucrative TV money? Well not quite.

Sky, BT Sport and the Premier League’s many international partners are claiming a collective £330 million rebate from Premier League clubs for last season (£170m of the rebate has been deferred to the 21/22 season).

The Premier League has not published TV money details for 19/20 but the EPL Handbook has an illustrative example based on league place.

Newcastle premier league payments Pl place 13 total payment 118.6m rebate -12.7 Net payment 105.9 18/19 payment 120.1 reduction -14.2

So an estimated reduction of £14.2m in 19/20. We can expect a similar, if not worse, reduction in 20/21.


Commercial revenue losses are difficult to estimate, as contracts are confidential, but likely that sponsors will push for reductions, as marketing budgets are among the first to be cut in an economic crisis.

Statista Research and Analysis estimated that Newcastle would lose £5.1m Commercial revenue. The excellent Football Finance blogger ‘The Swiss Ramble’ estimated £6m. For the sake of argument, let’s just say they’re both in the ballpark.So putting all that together, I reckon Newcastle will lose income of about £30m in 19/20. And at least £45m in 20/21.

Bruce hasn’t been right about many things since he took over the manager’s job but I reckon he’s probably spot on when he states that Newcastle are haemorrhaging money.

We’ll not be alone. Tottenham have released their accounts for 19/20 and reported a £68m loss. Arsenal have taken out a £120m loan this season to cover their running costs.

Newcastle will likely rack up big financial losses both this season and last. We will drop further into debt as a result. History has told us that whilst Ashley is prepared to loan the club the money to “keep on the lights” (usually after another relegation), he will want every single penny of that loan back.

So not only can we expect that no money be made available in January but I suspect it’s unlikely there will be anything made available in the foreseeable future until Ashley recoups his loan.

What a time to be alive.

ANDREW TROBE – @tfandy1892