Newcastle United fans who challenged their club's controversial stadium redevelopment plans have been left with a £35,000 shortfall on their legal expenses cover.

But the shortfall could have been up to £55,000, if Lord Woolf had not slashed the Newcastle United's appeal court costs.

The fans were one of the first groups to fund a legal action using after-the-event legal expenses policies. They took out £158,000 worth of cover from Greystoke Legal Services to fund their case. Their £65,000 premium was funded by fans' donations, including £10,000 from the News of the World.

Jane Duffy, one of the Newcastle fans involved in the action, said: "We assumed we had enough cover and were guided by the club's original estimate that its legal costs would be around £100,000."

But after the fans lost their appeal to stop Newcastle replacing season ticket holders' seats with corporate hospitality boxes, the club's legal costs had spiralled to £198,000.

The fans' lawyers successfully persuaded judges to halve their legal costs from the appeal to £20,000, leaving a total shortfall of £35,000.

Duffy is in no doubt the fans will be able to meet the bill, and have received generous offers of donations from fans of other clubs.

However, she said the court case had left her with deep reservations about the workings of the after-the-event insurance market.

"My only concern about after-the-event cover is that we found we were restricted in the amount of time we could have in court by the size of our cover."

She said their first £118,000 policy was only enough for a two-day hearing, which she believes was insufficient for all the legal arguments.

"If we could have afforded the extra time to call witnesses, the appeal judges may have had a greater understanding of the fans' complaints."

She added: "It leaves me cynical that barristers and solicitors are promised vast sums of money by legal protection policies. The other side knows from the outset how much cover the defendant has and can slap in a bill for the total sum of that cover."