Over the weekend it has been revealed that if Newcastle beat Arsenal, Mike Ashley has promised to pay a £1m bonus to be shared by office staff, tea lady, kit man and so on. In other words all of the people who aren’t on big money such as players and manager.
The mathematics of the situation are that if Newcastle win, then with every league placing worth well over half a million, a victory would almost guarantee much more than £1m to the club.
However, I try and put myself in their position. Imagine if you work at the club and earn say £15,000-£20,000 a year and if Newcastle win you might get a £10,000 bonus if the team win. These figures are obviously just a guesstimate but whatever people earn I can imagine that these figures reflect how much the bonus money would mean.
Again, putting yourself in their shoes, go back two years and it was revealed before we played West Brom in the final match that the lower paid staff would share £500,000 if Newcastle won, on a similar basis because a win would guarantee extra league placings and so extra money coming in.
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It was bad enough as a fan seeing Newcastle throw away a three goal lead but what if those eleven players on mega money cost you the chance of a family holiday, paying your debts off, or even keeping your house maybe in some cases?
Something you had absolutely no control over dictating whether you would be ecstatic or miserable, making or breaking your family’s happiness.
It all comes down to the motivation of Mike Ashley and indeed how the whole thing becomes public knowledge before the event.
If it is done with the best of intentions by the owner and then leaked by somebody beyond his control then fair enough. However, if it is simply a cheap gimmick (such as giving 8 year contracts out) then I think it is out of order.
A very rich man playing with people’s emotions and the question must be asked as to why this should be leaked in advance and Mike Ashley can’t just wait until the match is over and then reveal he is giving away an extra £1m? Or why not go into the dressing room just before kick-off and tell the players that they are also playing for the happiness of the staff they mix with day in day out?
At least the Sports Direct employees know that working their socks off will help them to achieve their generous bonuses. Not relying on eleven millionaires who have on many occasions let themselves and everybody else down this season and if they had anything about them would pay the £1m out themselves if they fail today.
Now that would be a story!