I know all my previous contributions are around this theme but I have come to a conclusion for my own piece of mind…

Mike Ashley is not interested in football, or indeed sport in general, just brands that have seen better days and are willing to sell out to survive and be used to push a business model of keep costs low/stack them high, sell quick and cheap.

I’m sure along with Lonsdale, Slazenger etc, NUFC was bought for that reason, but hasn’t increased in brand value and has been relegated twice.

So why does he hold onto it?

I think that as a man who has played the City (of London) with flotations and various means of winding up the establishment, he dare not wind them up again.

So, in order to continue in his role of wind up merchant who can sit and have a giggle at the masses, his only outlet is us.

He isn’t making any money on a £300million investment so he thinks ‘I will show you who is in charge’. Simply so he and his inner circle can gloat – which can be his only motivation for still being here.

Acting in a provocative manner, say nothing and sit back and watch the show, mainly because he has nothing better to do .

He doesn’t tweet but occasionally sends out a goon to reassure the fans…keep the hope and therefore the entertainment going .

What we have is a bored billionaire getting his fix the only way he can.

Once you accept that and realise there is nothing you can do about it, July will be bearable .

In Rafa we trust.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Anton Wilkinson

    Is there anyone who writes for the mag that’s even remotely arsed about football anymore? The articles on here these days just seem like a constant stream of Ashley bitching or sissoko/pardew bashing. Utter snooze-fest.

    • Soldier

      well. name Ashley`s plus points

      • Anton Wilkinson

        They’re few and far between. Other than the fact Rafa was backed last season for an immediate return to the premier league, its hard to name many, if any.
        All I’m saying is the whole whinging about the so called regime has become a tedious daily read.

        • Emphraser

          Delving deep into his psyche in order to educate the rest of us on true motives is definitely a bit much, even for an opinion piece. On the other hand, it’s an opinion piece.

          • Mark Potter

            Where is the delving into his psyche? We know he started to support the club as a boy, in the KK era, well before he went into business. So there’s nothing to back up this opinion. In his one public interview in recent years he said he wanted to win something with the club. Why not take him at his word? He backed McClaren in that summer and again in the January window. But it wasn’t enough for McClaren to make a success of it, and difficult to blame the owner, other than to question whether he appointed the right person for the job.

            Ashley then tried to put that right and went out and got the best manager we have seen at the club since Bobby Robson (and probably the most expensive), but that wasn’t enough to keep us up. He then put Rafa in total control of the football side, and backed that up by letting Carr go.

            If we are genuinely interested in players we are linked to, then those players are chosen by Rafa. It’s Rafa that’s decided (apparently) that none of the 4 keepers on the books are good enough, and he wants Reina, even though he’s not for sale. It’s Rafa that’s gone after Lejeune etc. And since we know from more than a dozen previous transfer windows that the owner prefers the club to pay cash upfront for players, then we can only presume (which was also suggested by at least one report) that it was Rafa which haggled over paying in instalments. If Tammy Abraham was a target, then he was Rafa’s target, not Ashley, Carr or Penfold’s, and we were told that Rafa had personally visited him to secure his signature at the training camp. Plus Rafa had a great relationship with Chelsea, they trusted him to develop their player. Rafa was confident, we were told, that he would sign him. Before the Newcastle party city nonsense arose. We have been told twice that Ashley had backed Rafa with all of the money available in the club, and generated from player sales. The estimates have frequently mentioned Rafa has £100m to spend.

            What we have is this huge gap in the fact that Rafa is in total control, but somehow some people still think Rafa is not responsible for the failure so far to sign anyone. How? It makes no sense. Rafa has chosen the players he wants, players who don’t seem interested in signing for us. And as far as we can tell, Rafa has been interested only in players who are less than £20m, and that is because Rafa wants several players, and is not prepared to blow all of his budget on one or two marquee signings. All the abuse in the world directed at the owner, doesn’t get away from the fact that Rafa has so far failed to deliver any of his targets. It’s disappointing of course, but I remain reasonably confident that Rafa knows what he is doing, and will secure the players needed to ensure we don’t go straight back down. Even if he is still bringing in some players when the window closes in two months time.

        • Geordiegiants

          It is boring, but it’s real, should we just sit and take it?
          Any alternatives are welcome as I’m sick of it too.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The alternative is for the NUST to raise some money from fans to make a bid for the club. If the overseas interest that is rumoured comes good, the clever moeny is that they are looking for take a slice of the club rather than the whole thing. Mike’s shown at Rangers that he’ll sell to supporters so why not raise a prospctus, get some investors and offer to buy some of the club.

            Too much talk from fans, blaming everyone else.

          • Geordiegiants

            Why would the fans want to buy in with him? He treats us like mushrooms,he makes sure it is ran without a penny going into the club from any commercial avenue. His remit is to extract as much money externally as possible, and keep the business running. He would never allow any investor, fan or MD to make decisions or look into his running of the club. That is the most stupid thing you have ever come up with, and you have said some very silly things on here in the past.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            IF there is another investor taking around 50%, if a fan’s consortium took 10% the balance of power changes and the board is appointed by the shareholders.

            If the fans consortium can raise £400m, I reckon that will buy the whole club.

          • Geordiegiants

            He would NEVER EVER allow anyone else to be in control while he still had an interest. The man is an absolute control freak. Even at Rangers he had control over matters although he only had a 9% stake.

          • grantham mag

            Stop going. until he buggers off

          • Geordiegiants

            The one and only way we could force the cancer out of our club.

        • Kneebotherm8

          You’re right, I just wish Ashley would just sell up and eff off and then we’d all be able to concentrate on discussing the footballing aspects of the football club.

          • nevfur

            Will that ever happen? Other than Sir John Halls time (And he’s had a lot of stick) the owner/s or board/ chairman always have had stick as long as I remember

          • Kneebotherm8

            It’ll happen sooner or later,I just hope (like a lot more I suspect)that it happens sooner rather than later.

          • nevfur

            I didn’t mean will it ever happen for Ashley to leave, I meant we are likely to moan and criticise the running of the club regardless of who is in charge based on past history so going back to talking just football is never likely to happen.

          • Kneebotherm8

            I see your point, and you’re right in that any owner will always be part of any discussion at any football club,they can’t hide from that.

    • anyobrien

      Agree it’s bloody boring me to death

    • Porciestreet

      Ever considered not reading the blog…..?

  • Soldier

    we are that brand that has seen better days

  • Geordiegiants

    He owns the club for nothing more than business reasons. He will never be in it for the glory, he is to greedy.

  • Kneebotherm8

    We’re a handy worldwide vehicle for his sportsdirect brand,and the advertising is free and for fa.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Rather an expensive way of getting advertising, £131m and £129m to keep the thing going? It’s a bit more than taking a classified out in the Chronicle

      • Kneebotherm8

        Quote from the Swiss Rambler :-
        “Before Ashley arrived Newcastle’s commercial income was at a similar level to Tottenham, but the North London club has grown this revenue stream by 56% since 2007 while Newcastle have fallen by 10%. In the same period Aston Villa and Everton have overtaken Newcastle, while Liverpool and Arsenal have grown by £73 million and £62 million respectively.”
        Newcastle commercial revenue was £28 million in 2007,down to £25 million now, Totenhams up to £60 million now.
        I don’t somehow think there’s any semblance of a comparison with taking out a classified ad in the chronicle.
        Someone,it would seem,has been bleeding the club dry and recouping their £131 million investment.
        Based on Totenhams increase in this ever increasing commercial revenue world then it would seem Mr Ashleys investment has been a very nice little earner for his Sports direct brand.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          There are two issues.

          Firstly, my comment was on the notion that Ashley bought the club for cheap advertising. The club cost him £260m, advertising at football stadiums would cost around £2m a year if Sports Direct approached similar sized clubs and they could offset that cost against tax. He’s personally coughed up £260m to advertise a firm he only owes 60% of the shares (a bit lower actually but it’s reduced over the years). The idea that it’s purely about advertising can’t be right. I have a few shares in BT, it would not be a sensible thing for me to buy a football club in order to get cheap advertising for BT.

          The Swiss Ramble is making a bit of a mistake with his comparisons. Basic A’level economics students are told that you must always compare the same thing. Much of NUFC’s commercial income is outsourced, Tottenham’s and others remained ‘in house’. This is because Ashsley’s team found that our commercial activities were a bit of a vanity project. Catering was not making much money yet a lot of time, effort and money was tied up in it. Astonishingly, the merchandise side actually made a loss in the last year of the previous regime, what is the point of having merchandise, shops etc and making a loss? These non-core areas were out-sourced so that the club doesn’t count the sales of shirts, pints, hot dogs, etc in the turnover figure just the profit / commission received. This means the turnover is lower but profit is guaranteed and in the case of merchandise, higher.

          The old saying, turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.

          • Leazes Ender

            Kensington and Chelsea Council need a new auditor, why don’t you apply? You’re a crook without the slightest interest in the prime objective!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’d not work for a council, tantamount to scrounging off the state.

          • Leazes Ender

            I didn’t think that you worked at all, since you made off with some poor buggers pension fund to the south of Portugal.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Errr right, I think I may have been on a stag weekend in Portugal, otherwise you may be a little confused.

          • Kneebotherm8

            The Swiss Ramble isn’t only comparing Totenhams situation to ours,the general trend at all the clubs is majorly upwards not downwards as in ours. Common sense tells anyone if we were making £28 million in 2007 then we should be making a helluva lot more now,bearing in mind the ever increasing worldwide exposure of the game in last 10 years. Your argument doesn’t quite convince me of Ashleys benevolence.He owned 100% of the shares as of July 2007,having originally purchased 77% of the shares from Hall and Shepherd in June2007. He’s trying to sell the club,allegedly,for £400 million so it’s been a decent investment for him looking at the big picture considering his original £260 million investment.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            That’s not he point I’m making. we outsource a lot of our commercial income, that means our income will be lower.

          • Geordiegiants

            Yet you argue it’s better for us in other threads. Of course we don’t make as much because his jumble sale sucks is dry!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I argue that it’s better for us on this thread. Look at the figures in my example, we make more money outsourcing in comparison to doing it ourselves. You have to remember, commercial income is not profit. The commercial income reported in 2007 was BEFORE costs, much of the income reported now, being outsourced is pure profit, there is no cost.

            e.g. we used to do the catering in house. So on a match day, we would sell £100,000 of coffee, tea, burgers, pies etc. The raw materials would cost say £20,000, staff/ equipment, electric £20,000

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            That’s not the point. We started outsourcing after Ashley arrived. I’ll give an example, say we had merchandise sales going through the shops and online of £5m and costs of £4.5m we make a profit of £0.5m. If we outsource merchandise getting £1m in, turnover has fallen 80% but we are actually better off by £0.5m so Swiss Ramble’s comparison is not apples with apples.

          • Kneebotherm8

            The point is,is that we’re being worn into the ground by sportsdirect merchandising, Ashley has still got the squeeze on the club and is bleeding it dry whilst keeping its head just above water. The sooner he sells it and leaves,with a healthy profit,then the club might just be able to progress from the stagnation we’ve had these last 10 years. I’m tired of hearing how much he’s put into the club,by certain ones,when in fact if he sold up,for prices being bandied about, he’d regard it as having been another profitable business venture.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Not really, NUFC gives up about £2m of income by allowing SD to advertise (opportunity cost), this appears to be the cost of borrowing £129m from Mike Ashley which would cost about £5M in interest from a bank. That’s not a bad deal for NUFC.

          • Geordiegiants

            Yeah £2m for pitch side advertising. Every single thing connected to the club is covered in sh’t. That would cost say emirates £10m easily. You are so far away from your valuation.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Everton receive £4m a year for all stadium advertising. Sports Direct take about 50% of perimeter advertising so 50% of £4m. Everton are a similar size to us, Villa get about the same in the premier league who I’d assume you agree are a similar size.

            My figures are based on the reality of similar clubs, not some fantasy made up by an irate Mag reader.

          • Geordiegiants

            Yeah perimeter advertising. Every single peice of space is covered in the sh’t. The club shop bags, the training ground, all around the ground, on the roof, and anywhere else he can think of to cover, the other 50% of perimeter advertising, is for his other companies owned by his jumble sale. Firetrap, USC etc. Either you are just taking the p’ss or you are thick as. Everton are not compatible to us, their ground is tiny. Villa get no where near as much exposure as us, even in the premier league.Your rants are based on pure guess work

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            In the premier league, if you look at the perimeter advertising for the TV (that’s the valuable advertising) it’s 50% Sports Direct and associated brands + Wonga and 50% others Black and Decker, Vitality, Puma, Bet 365.

            There isn’t a Sports Direct on the roof anymore, the advertising inside, aimed at the physical spectator is not really worth much.

            Everton are comparable to us, it’s all about TV exposure, not the capacity of the stands. As it happens, SJP is not very well set up for the TV spectacle as the cameras point at the stand with the least potential advertising. Everton may be smaller but they do have double the advertising space because the relatively low tiers.

          • Geordiegiants

            What a load of shyte! Every single time you see anything to do with Newcastle, the jumble sale is all over everything. The training ground the the lot. It’s worth a hell of a lot more than £2m a season.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Training ground advertising is not important, nor are merchandise bags. The TV exposure is where the value is. Why are the figures in the championship so much lower?

          • Geordiegiants

            So why is it all over then if it get no exposure?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            They get some exposure but it’s worth very little. They are playing to the spectator, its a an advantage a but it’s a not playing to the 60m worldwide spectators.

            Fun88 are not interested in the 50k that go to the game, they are aiming at the TV audience

          • Geordiegiants

            Any company that sponsored a club the size of Newcastle and had the coverage and exposure his jumble sale gets would be paying more than £2m. Your statements of this doesn’t matter or that doesn’t matter means you are truly stupid or trying to take the p’ss, it wouldn’t be there other wise. A large local company could use it, like Sage, Virgin, Peter Vardy etc etc. They would all pay handsomely, to have prime advertising, at the training ground that is on sky sport regularly.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            They might do, the evidence is that it would be an amount in line with other clubs. And if the club were paying interest at the rate we were pre-Ashley, we’d be about 8m worse off which is the price of a half decent centre half.

            I think you have to be realistic, firstly the club get to borrow money interest free, this is set off against a small reduction in our advertising income. Our advertising potential is not worth any more money than comparable clubs.

            In perspective, one of the potential advertisers you quote, in their accounts, the entire advertising payment for last year was £200,000 and you think it’s worth trading £11m interest saving?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            If he sell for a profit, good luck to him but o leave he needs a buyer

          • Andy Mac

            You need to be aware Knee that the price Fatman paid for the club was £134m. Others will tell you a different story but the bottom line is that is what it cost Fatman. Since then he’s added money into his so called debt pile which of course came about through his own incompetence.

            1. He failed to note the financial situation before buying the club.
            2. Stadium improvement loan had to be repaid upon change of owner.
            3. He loaned the club money during season 2009-10 as a result of relegation, caused by Fatman
            4. Ditto for season 2016-17

            The club is worth what anyone will pay for it but £400m is clearly taking the plss.

          • Kneebotherm8

            I agree there’ll not be a stampede to pay £400 million for the toon,he needs to lower his sights and he’ll still make a canny profit. Whatever, there’s only one party being taken to the cleaners here,and it ain’t him. He’s a business man through and through. He did pay £134 million,for 100% of the shares and loaned the club £129 million interest free to cover debts for his own lack of “due diligence” . The “interest free” bit is total rubbish,of course,because he’s recouping that with his free worldwide advertising of his sportsdirect brand. That’s where the clubs commercial income is going and why we are lagging behind the commercial incomes of other premier league clubs big style. An American soccer commentator on Nbcsn,not so long ago, during live commentary referred to the stadium as the Sports direct Arena, and that’s a very easy mistake,given the free advertising around the ground.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Do you think £400m is too much or too little?

            You are quite right, Mike Ashley paid just over £130m for the club and then had to put more money in to sort out debts etc.

            1. He failed to note the financial situation before buying the club – I think that’s right but very surprising. I actually think MA could have acquired the club for a lot less money had he waited as the banks were getting more than nervous. With the benefit of hindsight, toxic debt was worthless by the end of 2007, there was no more money to be lent to NUFC so it’s likely that MA could have rode into NUFC, offered to sort out the borrowing and acquire the club for nowt.

            2. Stadium improvement loan had to be repaid upon change of owner. – not entirely right, he could have negotiated some security and left it in place, the biggest problem with the stadium financing was the interest rate was very high at 8%, even in 2007, there were 18 year olds paying car loans at lower interest rates. He should have done his homework more but the overdraft, unpaid transfer fees, MGM loan based on a fantasy, the high wage bill.

            3. He loaned the club money during season 2009-10 as a result of …yes, he sould never have lost KK but losing Kinear was very unlucky and we’d have stayed up had he not been ill.
            4. Ditto for season 2016-17

  • East Durham Mag

    Can anybody tell whats happening behind those impassive piggy eyes? We’ve had to endure a decade of incompetence and mismanagement combined with a total disregard well no an absolute contempt of the supporters. I remember the elation of getting an owner with the financial muscle to take us places. Then the realisation that we has got this self serving, ignorant, greedy, arrogant useless waste of oxygen.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      When you take over a failing business, the first thing is to overome the pressing problems. At NUFC, he had to cover the finances and cut the costs that were creating those crippling losses which were caused by wages that were far too high. So, he cut the wages and changed the policy from buying old-has-been high-wage and flipped to low wage-high potential players.

      This is not incompetence but in football, business logic does not translate to football.

      • Leazes Ender

        United was not a failing business you clown.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Can you explain how it wasn’t failing?

          • Leazes Ender

            Can you explain how it was?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Club running huge losses, owners not prepared to put money in, rinsed the club of dividends, the bank was not lending the club any more money, Directors were unable to refinance and had been blown out by all the venture capitalists that had been approached.

          • Leazes Ender

            There were no losses, but the club was being milked and run on the edge…..you can’t do both with a football club.

            As Denis Cassidy points out, small margins are the difference between success and failure and the Halls and Shepherds had to either stop plundering the club or run it in a different way. There was no holding back with Shepherd who bought stupidly he was as much a gambler as Fatty…. you simply cant run a club as a plaything to finance your lifestyle it requires a goal.

            Ashley is a chancer and a gambler and a loser.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            No losses??? you aren’t serious, you are not as thick as you make out but it’s not worth debating if you are going to ignore the facts.

            Cassidy was right, the wages were too high, the dividend policy stripped the company of cash and there was nobody to borrow from.

            If you’ve read that book, you can’t open with your opening statement.

          • Leazes Ender

            There were no losses, its not an indictment of the policy of (badly) managed resources which Ashley agglomerated into a debt to himself. In what way was the club run any differently from others in financing player purchases or stadium development…….If anything it castigates the two families for milking the club and lying to the fans at the same time.

            It is an opinion of definitions but I would say this to you, if you are merely trying to defend the indefensible Ashley then you really are just arguing for the sake of playing games.

            The club now is valued at what we both thought it should be with no debt attached and the sooner this abomination Ashley leaves then we can turn a page in this inglourios episode.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            You are wrong, Companies house accounts show substantial losses for the last two years of Hall & Shep. The losses were horrific, you ave to be realistic about that.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Personally he just hasn’t been good enough in all areas of his stewardship of the club.
    He tends to become interested then disinterested as regularly as he changes his underwear in the club, That fact attested to firstly by Keegan then later by Pardew who said : “You Have To Keep Mike Motivated.”
    Further evidence can be ascertained by his infrequent attending of home games and his reluctance to commit fully to the cause.

    It has been done to death on why Mike Ashley owns Newcastle United but second guessing “The Calorie Challenged One” has become the pastime of fan and pundit alike who have come up with every conspiracy theory under the sun.
    In reality he just isn’t that interested in Newcastle United and is stuck with it until someone comes along and offers him an obscene amount for an underachieving well supported club.
    He’s basically just doing the bare minimum to keep the thing chugging along and hoping that catastrophe doesn’t strike but it has twice previous with his absentee landlord mentality.

    When he first took over there were rumours he was trying to flip the club over for a quick profit which no one was willing to pay then “Keegangate” came along and the rest they say is history…

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Ashley is only in it for the money.
    Football for Ashley appears sadly to be a burden of responsibility….

  • Jezza

    The reason Ashley still owns Newcastle United is that he’s making a fat pile of cash out of our club and that’s all there is to it.

  • Leazes Ender

    If he’d owned Spurs he would never have lasted this long.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Eh? how do you explain that?

      • Leazes Ender

        He would have been lynched

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          right, you don’t really understand corporate takeovers do you?

          • Leazes Ender

            Something like……“After approximately 12 pints and chasers Pawel apologised profusely and had to excuse himself. “Mr Ashley then vomited into the fireplace located in the centre of the bar, to huge applause from his senior management team.”

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Been in court?

  • Desree

    Who knows what a football club owner is thinking ‘will there be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark’

  • S.G.M.

    Tosser

  • heretickle

    Buy and sell players. Buy and sell team.
    His strategy for players was buy cheap resell high.
    His goal for NUFC is to hold on with the minimum investment, wait for the price of premier league teams to reach absurd proportions; and sell NUFC to an Indian, Chinese, or Middle Eastern investment group that needs a trophy team to go along with their trophy wives. He’s ll sell when the price reaches 500 million cash.