Newcastle United have exploited the Coronavirus clause announced by the Government to delay publishing their annual accounts by three months, new documentation has revealed today.

The Newcastle United accounts for last season were due to be filed by 31 March 2020.

Updated Companies House records show the Premier League club will not now publish them until 30 June.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

The United board have taken advantage of a measure announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week to help companies dealing with the impact of Covid-19.

This allows businesses to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts.

Newcastle have immediately seized that opportunity by notifying Companies House of their intentions.

The north-east club have a history of submitting late accounts during Mike Ashley’s 13-year reign, and it comes at a time when his popularity with supporters has plumbed new depths.

His actions at Newcastle and his retail empire, including flagship outlet Sports Direct, have led to widespread criticism both inside and outside of football.

There has been no explanation at this point why Ashley and the Newcastle board are holding back their accounts, but the strong implication is there are things they do not want made public at this time.

Ashley has been in charge of Newcastle since the summer of 2007 but has attracted incessant criticism from supporters tired of his cautiousness and lack of ambition.

The Magpies were 13th in the Premier League table during Steve Bruce’s first season before the suspension of football.

In other Newcastle United news, Bruce is primed to sign an England international and build his side around him this summer.