Soccer-Newcastle United stay in black despite rising wage bill

LONDON, March 27 Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:09pm EDT

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - English Premier League club Newcastle United, owned by retailer Mike Ashley, remained profitable last season despite wages eating up a growing chunk of their revenues.

Profit after player transfer costs fell to 1.4 million pounds ($2.1 million) in the year to June 2012, down from a bumper 32.6 million pounds in 2011, the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

However, the 35 million pound sale of striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool had flattered the previous year's profit and Newcastle said the latest figure gave a better indication of the club's financial situation.

Newcastle finished fifth in the Premier League last season, qualifying for a place in the Europa League. They will play Portugal's Benfica next month in the last eight of the competition.

One worry for Newcastle, currently 13th in the Premier League, is the rising cost of paying a squad which includes Frenchman Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse of Senegal. Its annual wage bill was 64 million pounds, more than two thirds of what it generates in revenue.

Newcastle are owned by Ashley, a British businessman who founded the Sports Direct retail chain.

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