The club’s statement of accounts is fast becoming an annual circus of amusement for tortured NUFC fans. Black humour of course.
Ashley has created such a joyless, almost boring football club, that events like this make for a canny read, even though the results show that since we returned from relegation in 2010 he has no interest in building a successful team, just a successful profit.
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First of all I have to play devil’s advocate. I actually doff my cap to Mike Ashley. While I detest the bloke, and completely disagree with his running of Newcastle Utd, he has managed to create a club that is making a substantial profit. If you’re a hard headed business analyst then you would have to say that it’s mission accomplished. We’re out of the red and into the black.
As a football fan, I don’t share that view. It’s clear to me that so much more money could be targeted at strengthening that Newcastle team while still breaking even. This is a club that has bought one central defender in the last five years, if you discount the fact Lascelles was loaned back to Forest. Shocking.
Now we are told there is an £18m profit. On that basis I’d expect to see at least £30m spent in the summer, and that has to be a minimum spend. What we all know is likely to happen is that we’ll sell players as well as buy them, and the overall capital outlay will include wages in the total figure. Mr Ashley will not pump in anything else.
Charnley asserted that we have a ‘very supportive owner’. Weasel words if I ever saw them. These statements should come with a lengthy amount of small print at the bottom of the page. I also note they have stopped using Financial Fair Play (FFP) as something to hide the penny pinching behind, given they now comfortably meet those UEFA regulations.
The mystery figure of operating costs rising by upwards of £25m has already been discussed at length elsewhere, but the killer line for me came in Charnley’s statement. He said the club was able to ‘move forward and net spend’ on the playing squad.
Once again, the devil’s in the detail. Two little words: ‘net’ and ‘spend’. That means we can expect more of the same old rubbish.
Best players being sold, standing still in transfer windows, long summer sagas where players almost sign but then don’t, players arriving for buttons who aren’t good enough, and no recruitment of a credible head coach.
There we have it. The statement of accounts. A statement of complete and utter mediocrity. If there’s a buyer out there then pick up the phone. That club can be a monster when it’s done right. We’re a long way off that right now.
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