Last updated : 24 March 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The operating profit of £20.1million does not include transfer dealings although Freddy Shepherd re-assured shareholders that player fees had not been excessive in relation to turn over.

Shepherd claimed that the vastly improved results were due to: "both the club's participation in the Champions League and a continuing concerted effort by the directors, management and staff to make the club one of the best in Europe.

"The stadium redevelopment and pursuit of a strategic recruitment policy based on young players of quality, combined with tight financial control, are all now reaping significant rewards."

In other words he thinks a couple of woefully bad seasons were worth it for the future potential – although I don’t remember seeing it that way when we were losing at Bradford on one of the coldest days in history.