Sir Jim Ratcliffe misses £143m FFP point but Newcastle's 11th-hour moves are telling

Eddie Howe had long predicted this was going to be a window 'like no other'. The Newcastle United boss was not wrong.

As much as Premier League clubs have been in a race to strengthen, they have also been rushing to boost revenues ahead of the unofficial PSR deadline. It has led to Chelsea's hierarchy selling hotels on the Stamford Bridge site to another company they own; the Blues, Everton and Aston Villa completing mutually beneficial transfers for academy products; and, now, Newcastle trading at the 11th hour.

This is football in 2024. To think it was just last week that Manchester United part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe spoke about how the Premier League 'need to be careful that the top six clubs are not disadvantaged'.

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In truth, the established order have long been at an advantage. The big six were already locked in with their superior revenues when the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules were first voted in more than a decade ago and, while squad cost rules and anchoring are being trialled, the regulations have not changed since.

This is a preposterous point, given the sums involved, but the amount clubs should be permitted to lose over a three-year period should be closer to £143m by now going by the Bank of England's estimates on inflation. Instead, that figure has remained at £105m.

The rules are the rules but that has hit upwardly mobile clubs, in particular, given the stripped down operation, say, Newcastle's owners inherited in 2021 after years of neglect in the Ashley era and the investment needed to turn the Magpies from relegation candidates into disruptors. The result, according to former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, is that the PSR rules are now just 'turning into what it really is in the first place, which is protectionism'. Christian Purslow, meanwhile, who was a CEO at Aston Villa and a managing director at Liverpool and Chelsea, feels it is 'the big six clubs who benefit'.

For context, eight Premier League clubs spent more on salaries than Newcastle when the black-and-whites finished in the top four in 2023. Newcastle's revenues increased to £250.3m that year, but this figure was still dwarfed by Liverpool (£594m), Spurs (£549.6m) and Chelsea (£512.5m), who all placed below Eddie Howe's team in the table. All three teams leapfrogged Newcastle last season.

Dramatically increasing revenues is going to take time after sponsorship rules were tightened but Newcastle will be boosted by the lucrative deals struck with Adidas and Sela, which were not in last year's accounts, and the estimated £37m-plus the club expect to have made from competing in the Champions League.

However, it is the final days of the financial year that are significant when it comes to the current PSR cycle. Darren Eales insisted that Newcastle always intend 'to be compliant' when the Newcastle CEO last spoke about the club's finances way back in January and it is important to stress that only a handful of individuals know the finer details of the club's current accounts.

That being said, the fact Newcastle have since scrambled around ahead of the unofficial PSR deadline on Sunday is telling. The reality is that the only players to have brought in sizable sums at Newcastle since the takeover are Chris Wood, Allan Saint-Maximin and now, potentially, Yankuba Minteh and Elliot Anderson. That could yet be enough following a £400m spend on transfers. However, it can't come to this again. Not at the 11th hour.