Spurs boosted by record half-season profit

LONDON - Tottenham Hotspur reported a record half-year profit on Thursday, boosted by player sales, but said it had not been forced to sell its top stars to balance the books.

The club said pretax profit rose to 39.8 million pounds in the six months to the end of 2008, compared with a small loss in the same period last year.

Total revenue edged up 0.7 percent to 54.9 million pounds as a rise in broadcasting revenues and gate receipts was offset by a fall in merchandising sales.

Operating expenses jumped to 50 million pounds from 44.6 million, due to rising player costs, restructuring costs and foreign exchange losses, but the club made a profit of 53.4 million pounds from selling players, including strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.

"During the 2008 summer transfer window, gains were made on the sales of a large number of registrations. The club did not make the player trading profits in a manner that was planned or welcomed, as they arose, in the main, from the regrettable sale of certain key players," said Chairman Daniel Levy.

The club's Northumberland Development Project, which incorporates a new 60,000-seater stadium with residential and retail facilities is also due to be fully submitted for planning permission in the coming months, said Levy.

Shares in Tottenham Hotspur, which have lost around half their value in the last year, were unchanged at 81 pence at 1300 GMT, valuing the club at around 75 million pounds.