Carlisle United made a loss of £665,000 in the last financial year but also recorded record turnover.

The Blues say their 2022/23 audited accounts, which cover the period when the team won promotion from League Two, demonstrate a "sound financial position".

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens has also commented on the major financial developments since then, involving the takeover by the Piatak family.

The director claims that has removed the "sword of Damocles" from over United's heads after a "breakdown in relations" between previous lenders Purepay Retail Limited and a "key stakeholder" at Brunton Park, who he does not name.

Untied has owed Purepay more than £2.4m before the Piataks' Castle Sports Group bought the debt as part of their takeover. 

Clibbens, in a club statement, said the "severe uncertainty arising from the continuing lack of confirmation that Purepay Retail would not just demand immediate repayment in full at any moment... put the club in a very high-risk position during 22/23 and heading into 23/24.

"We were also experiencing rapidly accelerating interest charges on this debt.

"The breakdown in relations with Purepay and a key stakeholder after the changes in February 2022 all meant the future of the club was at risk, without the debt being addressed and their involvement with the club being terminated.

"Attempts to bring in new ownership and investment were progressing at the year end to reach exclusivity with Castle Sports Group. This led to a sale of the club and transfer of control in November [2023] and the Purepay debt being resolved.

"As a result, the material uncertainty of the going concern of the club has now been removed."

The 2022/23 financial period covers the time before the takeover, and it includes, United say, "the best income performance on record".

The newly-published accounts show United's headline turnover was up to £5.29m, an 11 per cent rise, with the figure boosted by increased ticket, retail and commercial income as well a play-off revenue.

"It is the highest in over a decade despite significant falls in player income and exceptional income," the club said.

Business turnover was up to £3.06m from £1.99m and the club's recurring income of £4.74m - up from £3.62m - was "again a record high".

United revealed that they earned £165,000 from their play-off semi-final, though 'football fortune' income from player sales, cup runs and TV fees was significantly down to £373,000 from £761,000.

The club saw their spending on wages and salaries at Brunton Park increase to £3.44m from £2.93m, which includes extra player and football staff wages and bonuses.

United's 'total football expenditure' also rose by 28 per cent to £2.81m, which includes travel, medical, recruitment and scouting as the club backed Paul Simpson's bid to improve the team and its performance.

United's total debt at June 30, 2023 was £3.03m, the majority of which was owed to Purepay, including £148,000 of extra interest charges.

Clibbens accepted the information in the accounts was "very much historic" given the end of the financial period was now nearly nine months ago.

He said United's six-figure loss "was low in the context of other League Two clubs" and the accounts "show us in a sound position day-to-day at that point."

He added: " With £1.6m of cash in the bank, despite no external funding since May 2019, we had no creditor pressure and all our PAYE and VAT liabilities were paid up in full and on time.

"The underlying trading of the club was record-breaking as Business Turnover increased +54%. Crowds were the best in many years as fans responded to success on the pitch."

Clibbens said United's player budget was at its highest since the 2016/17 season under Keith Curle, but also stressed it was "in the bottom quartile of League Two spenders", acknowledging that Carlisle's promotion proved that lower spending levels is not a barrier to success in the division.

“Player transfer income was much reduced and cup income was again very poor. These remain crucial elements of our funding and operating model each year, even under the new ownership," he added.

On the current 2023/24 financial year, Clibbens said the Blues are seeing their "best ever year for business trading" with attendances at their best for nearly 50 years.

"This is resulting in significantly increased resources for the club. All of this extra income plus more funding was allocated into the Football department, regardless of the takeover, to continue to support the plan to improve and succeed in a sustainable manner," the director added.

Clibbens also said United again increased their player cost spending for the League One season, as well as other football costs, by about 50 per cent.

He added that the additional spending in the January window, after the Piataks' takeover, would mean "a very significant and higher operating loss in 23/24, despite the record-breaking year off the field."

Clibbens also commented on the debt situation, adding: "In advance of the sale of 90% of the shares to Castle Sports Group (“CSG”), the relationship with Purepay Retail was terminated to remove the “sword of Damocles” that was being held over the club.

"CSG purchased the debt which had increased in value from the £2.1m originally lend to £2.64m. It settled at £2.45m and made immediate cash payment in full. CSG immediately ceased charging interest.  This means we have no interest charges in 23/24 (saving circa £200,000 on the charges we otherwise faced).  The £2.45m debt to CSG is also to be waived in 23/24.

"The takeover in November 2023 injected £1.35m of new equity into the club to bolster its already sound day to day position and provide immediate funding to address the backlog of capital investment and fund more resources for football."