Following on from recent publication of Newcastle United's accounts for 2017-18, we might be in a better position as to what would be reasonable requests for Rafa to make of Mike Ashley. The accounts can give clues as to the future.

Regular watchers will be aware that Ashley's Newcastle tend to buy players for cash and sell on instalments, although there have been some exceptions. The accounts must be unravelled to give hints about how much is available.

What we know is that the 2017-18 accounts showed that Newcastle United generated a cash surplus of £29.6 million following an overdraft of £12.2 million, a swing of over £40 million. We also know that Ashley has repaid himself £33 million of his loans to the club at some stage during the current financial year, ostensibly taking us back to square one.

Will the season just finished show similar results?

We know from league placings and televised matches that revenues in this area will be down. With 1 fewer televised games and finishing 3 places lower, there is a net fall of around £8 million. This will be mitigated to an extent by gate receipts which should be marginally up, and commercial income. Not least have been repeated promises that Ashley's retail arm will, at some stage, contribute for the extensive coverage.

So many transfers are listed at “undisclosed” value, which means for some guesswork. We know that in 2017 summer transfer window, transfer activity was broadly at break even levels, supplemented by loans in January 2018. There would have been a surplus in summer 2018, augmented by the signing of Almiron in January 2019, with further conditional payments due.

The net result of transfer activity up to 2018 was that £43.9 Million was owed to NUFC in instalments. Conversely, the amount owed by NUFC £22.8 million being due within a year (this season) and £5.5 million in the longer term. The difference would have gone up with the sale of Mitrovic. We also see a reduction of £6 million in write offs.

The net result is that the £50 million allegedly to be made available is realistic, allowing for an increase in wages of perhaps £10 million or more. Given evidence of increased flexibility in purchases on instalments, this could increase the budget further.

Could there be more?

Other promoted teams have had significantly higher net spends since reaching the Premier League. The accounts from recent years show why. Even after parachute payments have been considered, Newcastle's turnover was seen to rise by £93 million. The riches of the Premier League are worth investing in.

One of the announcements, hidden away, was on 29th January. In short, NUFC's bankers can secure loans from revenues within the year to provide short term funding. This would increase by perhaps £40 million the sum available for in season funding, as it has for other promoted clubs in recent seasons – why we have been outspent by the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield, Fulham, Bournemouth, Watford and Wolves.

Rafa has previously advocated making signings early, to embed players into his philosophy for the season. Rondon had not been fully integrated, only making his first start after 3 points in 10 games.

Extrapolating the team's points return from his starts, NUFC would have been level with Wolves.

Similarly, Rafa was widely reported as having wanted Almiron on board at the start of the season. The return on his stats would have put NUFC clear in 7th and potentially 6th if denying Manchester United 2 points against us. The difference in revenues would be over £10 million in a season with a place in the Europa League.

At the end of the day, Ashley has a manager who delivers. With minimal investment in the squad, in fact a transfer surplus since his arrival, Rafa has not only gained promotion but made Newcastle United a solid Premier League side. What could he do with the £73 million surplus tat Ashley gave to McClaren?

In short, Rafa deserves to be backed. Failure to do so potentially consigns Newcastle to an inferior manager. Ultimately, the value of the club in the lower echelons of the Premier League reduces the value of his asset. If Ashley genuinely does want to either sell the club or increase its value, perhaps it is time to break the mould and invest?

Surely, Newcastle United is worth more if poised to take advantage of any slips by those currently at the top of the table? It's time for Ashley to back his manager.