Mike Ashley has run Newcastle United into the ground.
The most mysterious thing though, is why the media have consistently chosen to ignore the problems that were clearly building up towards certain disaster.
Wednesday morning saw the publication by the club of the latest financial headline figures and they are so laughable I feel like crying.
It is hilarious (though not in a funny way) that the media have consistently reported on the finances at Newcastle United, as though Mike Ashley had implemented some kind of financial miracle.
Massive profits and loads of cash in the bank in recent seasons, what could possibly go wrong…
The first thing to look at of course is where the money has come from.
The money that is shown in today’s accounts for the 2014/15 season is showing exactly the same as always – a massive (sole) reliance on TV money which makes up over 60% (£77.2m) of last season’s turnover (£128.8m).
The matchday revenue (£26.8m) and commercial revenue (£24.9m….free SD advertising etc) once again disastrous, in terms of being no better (or indeed actually worse) than the money coming in before Ashley arrived almost a decade ago.
Matchday revenue up 3% from £25.9m (2013/14) to £26.8m (2014/15)
Media (TV) revenue down 1% from £78.3m (2013/14) to £77.2m (2014/15)
Commercial revenue down 3% from £25.6m (2013/14) to £24.9m (2014/15)
The club finances are a joke, the only significant increases since Mike Ashley has been here are when the Premier League TV deal goes up.
As for the other side of the coin, expenditure, that is a catastrophic joke on this occasion.
The profits after tax are £32.4m and show a £13.7m increase on 2013/14, however, this has simply been achieved by slashing the wage bill by £13m, which is basically the wage bill paid to players.
The mainstream media though are still acting like Ashley’s cheerleaders, despite it now being patently obvious to even the most naive, just what his ‘strategy’ has led to.
Last season’s £32.4m Newcastle United profits and £48.3m year end cash total come at a cost – a huge cost for the supporters of NUFC.
It is like running a factory that has a full order book, then letting all your best sales people go and at the same time not replacing soon to be outdated machinery…whilst at the same time all the competing factories are constantly updating their machinery and attempting to pull in as many extra quality sales people as possible.
I have no doubt that if Mike Ashley had got away with it last season and the transfer trading/wage cutting hadn’t led to last day near relegation and United had finished low mid-table (12th/13th) or above…we would have then seen a continuation of trying to move the other better paid longstanding players out and more budget/gamble replacements with lower wages/relatively budget transfer fees brought in. With the intention of further increasing those profits and cash reserves.
Of course, even Mike Ashley had to accept the game was up last May and serious money had to be spent to try and correct the mess he had created by stockpiling the TV money…sadly an even bigger mess has been created due to a seriously flawed strategy of appointing another yes man in Steve McClaren and allowing Graham Carr and/or faceless un-named people to choose the transfers this past 10 months.