Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias has revealed the depth of the financial black hole into which the club was plunged by relegation.

The Magpies' revenue was halved from £100million to around £50million - the annual wage bill alone at the time amounted to in excess of £70million - as a result of the drop from the Barclays Premier League, forcing owner Mike Ashley to make swingeing and painful cuts.

Llambias told BBC Radio Newcastle: "Basically, from £100million revenue, we have dropped to £50million. A good chunk of that is TV money from the Premier League, so from the Premier League, it's £40million. We get a parachute payment of £12.5million and then in the Championship itself, you get £2.4million of income."

He added: "There's a massive void there that needs to be covered. You get a drop in your season tickets, you get a drop in your attendance, retail, it all drops.

"That shortfall needs to be made up. Mike is picking the shortfall up now and it's very, very difficult. But we are getting through it."

James Milner, Shay Given and Charles N'Zogbia were already long gone before relegation, and they were followed out of the door by the likes of Obafemi Martins, Sebastien Bassong, Damien Duff and Habib Beye, as well as the out-of-contract Michael Owen and Mark Viduka.

However, Llambias has insisted the club was determined to retain the nucleus of a side which could win promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship at the first attempt.

He said: "We didn't fire-sell. At the time the press were basically saying we would need to fire-sell: we didn't.

"We purposely kept a nucleus of the team that we felt could take us up, and it's working - and we will add to that.

"[Manager] Chris [Hughton] is adding to it and will continue adding to the squad."

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