Up to 2000 the club has cash in the bank and was actually receiving interest on this.
From 2001 to 2005 the club only paid interest on its long-term loan taken out to extend the ground. This was set at £4.5m a year up to 2016.
The graph shows how things started to deteriorate in 2006 and again in 2007. Close to an extra £3m in interest payments were needed in 2007 compared to a couple of years earlier.
It has been calculated that if the amounts paid out in dividends had been used instead to pay off the long-term ground loan then the ground would now be paid for. The directors of the club decided that the money was better in the pockets of the shareholders than being in invested in the future of the club.
The amount of interest paid out in 2008 dropped but not as significantly as had been hoped for. Mike Ashley had to pay off most of the loans set up by Shepherd/Hall as part of taking over the club. It had been hoped that this meant the club would have little in the way of interest payments left to pay. The figure of £6.4m was mainly due to £4.9m having to be paid off as part of the settling of loans. This will not appear again in 2009, and the interest figure should drop to about £1.5m.
Something new has appeared in the books this year. Last year it looked as though Mike Ashley had paid off all the debts of the club. This would have cost Mike Ashley to do, roughly £70m, but was great for the club. NUFC suddenly stopped paying interest on their loans, and therefore had more money for other things. As mentioned above this didn't happen instantly but will happen in the long run. The concern is that the books now show that this has been put in as a a £100m loan from Ashley, that will have to be paid off if anyone buys the club from him. Ashley has also attached a clause against his loan saying he can charge interest at 0.5% over the inter bank lending rate. He has not made that charge in 2008. If he did it today (23rd January 2009) then he could charge the club £2.69m interest for the year.