Last updated : 08 October 2003 By Martyn Elliott

A good run in the Champions League saw turnover rise to £96.4 million, with gate receipts for the season totalling £32.7million and players wages down to 47 per cent of turnover.

Freddy Shepherd was understandably delighted by the results, issuing the following statement.

"Newcastle United once again delivered a strong performance both on and off the pitch.

"An exciting FA Premier League campaign saw us finish in third place in the league, our highest position for six years, ensuring participation in UEFA club competitions for the seventh time in 10 years. We have continued to develop both the infrastructure of the club and the potential of the Newcastle United brand, two of our key objectives.

"The Newcastle United Training Centre and Newcastle United Academy have been completed and are operational.

"Further, our participation in the inaugural FA Premier League Asia Cup in July 2003 has increased awareness of the brand in the Far East, one of our long-term targets.

"I take this early opportunity to pay full credit to the part played throughout the season by our supporters both in domestic and European competition. Many will remember that fantastic night in Feyenoord Rotterdam's De Kuip stadium, not only for the result but the way in which the fans backed the team to the last, with amazing results.

"While not qualifying for the UEFA Champions League was unquestionably a major disappointment, the club has the infrastructure and playing squad backed by a loyal supporter base to continue to be successful going forward.

"We are still in three cup competitions and if we can have success in these the club will make a lot of money."