As if we didn't know ... Newcastle United's debts were wiped clean by owner Mike Ashley after he lent the club 140m, it was revealed yesterday.

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Accounts filed by the St James’ Park club showed that last year the Tyneside team finished the financial year with an operating profit of £13.3m.

Club bosses recorded a turnover of £88.5m, boosted by television revenue of more than £48.5m following their return to the Premier League in 2010.

Figures revealed that the value of playing staff dropped by £17.2m in the period – leading the club to a £3.9m loss overall – but this “amortisation” is a standard accountancy tool.

That loss compared to £33.5m the previous year, and meant the club was close to breaking even for the first time in almost a decade.

Derek Llambias: “This is part of a plan – we don’t make knee-jerk decisions and we are looking for the club to benefit.

“In reality Mike and I are fans. We don’t come to support Newcastle United each week without getting a passion for it.

“I’m a football supporter and it’s an incredible club. The Arsenal game will always stay with me. To come back for a 4-4 finish was incredible – there were grown men crying around me. We always want to be overseas and to put the brand out.

“We will grow over the next four or five years as an international brand.

“It’s difficult but it helps when we are in a good position in the league. Maybe we will get a deal for the ground and the shirt.”