You will have all seen/heard/read the Mike Ashley ‘interview’ with David Craig, broadcast on Sky Sports last Sunday night and we will all have our own opinions on what he actually meant. We can all look at his record at Newcastle and call it scatty and haphazard at best, incompetent and negligent at worst.

There are people out there in business who are hard-nosed and snappy, nasty and vindictive, but I have never believed that anyone in life has ever deliberately meant to go out and annoy people, however then you hear the rubbish and drivel that comes out of the mouth of Mike Ashley….and I’m not talking about the stuff he has previously ejected into a pub fireplace.

I am led to believe (I’m not a successful billionaire) that you don’t get anywhere in business if you’re an idiot, then you look at the record of Mike Ashley since buying Newcastle United. Never has a businessman done more to stifle success and annoy his public than Mike Ashley.

From bringing in and then seeing off his customers’ favourite people, to openly ridiculing them in public and then on top of that, shamelessly attempting to re-write history later on. Right from the start, his ownership has been one that was as badly prepared for as it was continuously mis-managed in the intervening years.

On the subject of the club being available to buy, Mike recounted –

“We’ll make a phone call, see if it’s true . . I deposited the money, spoke to Sir John Hall, and the deal was done very quickly.”

Well if that isn’t bad business, I don’t know what is. Who goes out and drops hundreds of millions of pounds on something that you haven’t a clue how to run and haven’t even checked the financial history of? I know the basics of how a restaurant should be run, but if you asked me to pay half a million to buy one and make a go of it, I’d politely decline. Ashley didn’t even know the basics.

On what he thought was the best way to go about running the club –

“In my case, it was to think in a different time frame, maybe if we didn’t live for every Saturday and for that game, maybe if we had a three-year plan, a five-year plan, a seven-year plan, we could actually build on something at Newcastle United.”

With that sort of attitude, there is no wonder we have battled relegations consistently over the last ten years. You can’t run a football club with any sort of drawn out time frame in mind. Once you start taking your eye off ‘every Saturday’ and keep looking to the future, you get entrenched in problems and before you know it, you’re relegated and the ‘three, five or seven year plan’ is obsolete. You have to buy when you’re doing well, otherwise you’re sunk. This was evident when nobody was signed (bar Vernon Anita) after we finished 5th in 2012. What was the idea behind the ‘plan’ then?

mike ashley

I don’t put too much blame at the door of Sir John Hall, he simply took the money and ran. He knew the club had vastly overspent on players and that the means to pay the deals off were fantasy money that hadn’t been received by the club yet. The notion that the bloke he sold the club to didn’t want to look at the accounts, was probably a huge blessing.

“I think you always have the ambition to turn something into more than it was.”

Not too sure where to start with that one. How can the club at any point over the last 10 years be ‘more than it was’ in 2007? Numerous relegation battles (two failed ones), revenue starved beyond belief, stadium expansion restricted, stadium renamed, open hostility to the owner/chairman for 80% of ten years, open hostility to whoever the manager has been for 80% of the same period. Club legends bashed and made fools of etc, etc.

On a similar track, he goes on –

“I thought the difference would be to get the academy right, the training ground, the fans’ prices, the new generation of fans coming through, and building the football club from the ground up.”

Well, we sell our upcoming young stars of the future, the academy doesn’t have a product regularly in the first team, the cost to see a match is by the by if the entertainment on offer isn’t up to the mark and the ground can’t be expanded because of the owner’s plans for behind the Gallowgate End of St James Park. Quite clearly, if the interviewer (Craig) had any facts at his fingertips, he may have been able to challenge these false ideas from Ashley (ED: If Craig actually had any interest in challenging, or the real truth).

Advice to himself 10 years ago –

“Let me think of an analogy; let’s say football was a bicycle back then, it’s now a Formula 1 car going along in the outside lane. It’s so different from when I bought the club.”

The club itself would still be a bicycle, it’s just the bicycle requires more expensive tyres and the cost of repairing the framework and changing the brakes has gone up from ten years ago. Plus I would hardly say we are currently ‘going along in the outside lane’ as opposed to when we were. Tootling along at 40 in 2007 presumably.

Upon being asked how his tenure has gone –

“Very naïve in the beginning. In the middle I thought I was just about beginning to get my arms around it a little bit, we had a manager on an eight-year contract, had the finance right, we were talking about investing in the training ground and the academy, we had a strategy, buying the better young talent that’s available and developing. That was around 2013, 2014, I thought we were going along quite well, and then within 18 months the wheels have come off”

Well, put simply, if you continue with poor investment in the first team and have the WRONG manager on an eight year contract, you are always likely to see the wheels coming off at some stage. Also, having yes men and people in the boardroom that don’t know what they are doing doesn’t help either.

mike ashley

It was awfully nice of him to reach out to legends of the club and offer olive branches, no matter how insincere it came across –

“I think Kevin Keegan is an outstanding individual, and also did his best at the club. It wasn’t always easy for Kevin at the football club, we didn’t have that structure around that we should have had to support him, with the signings and everything else, and I will take responsibility for that. So Kevin, I apologise for that.”

I bet that was said through gritted teeth, bearing in mind the £2m that was paid to Kevin and the fact that he was made out to be a liar during court proceedings. However, the apparent offer to Alan Shearer that he may be tempted back into the hot-seat at St James’ must rank as one the most tongue in cheek things Ashley has ever done/said, “Never say never Alan”, certainly not while he’s the owner he won’t.

He goes on –

“I don’t have that ability to write a cheque for £200m”

Once again Mike isn’t grasping the situation. I don’t think Rafa would be asking for anywhere near £200m, just simply a decent budget and a competent Managing Director in place to conclude deals would be sufficient.

With Lee Charnley’s help, and Lee answers to Rafa by the way, not the other way around, let’s be crystal clear, Rafa makes all the final decisions on players out, players in, but he has to do it with the money the club have.”

You know what, I’m inclined to agree, although less so on the bit about the help of Lee Charnley, but this whole manager being in charge malarkey could catch on, it’s a shame that you didn’t afford Kevin Keegan the same luxury in 2008. Sadly, the people who have been put in charge at the club were in no fit state to do the jobs they were brought in to do. The problem we had in 2008 was Dennis Wise, in 2013/14 it was Derek Llambias and now it’s Lee Charnley. Throughout that period, allowing the likes of Joe Kinnear, Alan Pardew, John Carver and Steve McClaren to run the football side of things was negligent in the extreme, at least now we have a top quality manager. Unfortunately, the guy in charge of doing the deals is still not up to scratch.

mike ashley

In some comments Mike does actually show signs of learning from his mistakes –

“Football is a momentum game, and if that momentum starts to go against you, it actually feeds on itself.”

I’m sure we’d all agree, however refusing to spend in 2012/13 when qualifying for Europe, was the first step towards relegation and a massive mistake – if the owner actually believes this glaringly obvious statement then he should take a look at the current ‘momentum’ at the club…

The side had been promoted on a wave of optimism, fans were happy before the summer, certainly after the positive statement from Rafa in May, and this was cautiously received as after ten years we know that Mike Ashley can (intentionally or otherwise) put a spanner in the works. To not back up this momentum he so speaks about would be foolish in the extreme, something which he has been guilty of on numerous occasions before.

Maybe Mike likes to tell that fans what they want to hear, maybe he believes they will believe he is telling the truth and not a pack of lies…

“Maybe this year we could look for mid-table this season, and maybe make the cups a priority this season. Get ourselves safe and then go for a cup. Either cup. And the dream would always be qualifying for the Champions League, that’s what it is for me, simple.”

Ok, 10/10 for ambition, but if he looks back at his comments, there isn’t half a big contradiction going on. If he can’t/won’t ‘write a cheque for £200m’ then how on earth can he hope to qualify for the Champions League? To get this club anywhere near that level would take £200m to start with and then an almighty slice of luck to go with it. If the interviewer had any journalistic credibility and wasn’t just there to sycophantically blow smoke up the interviewee’s backside, that would’ve been jumped on and scrutinised the second it was uttered.

Unfortunately, that’s where the problem remains, vetted questions and ‘exclusive’ interviews are meaningless unless someone actually probes the answers during the interview, which I’m sure Mike Ashley wouldn’t even dream of sanctioning. Baseless so called facts and throw away remarks are a waste of airtime. We are no more sure about what Ashley thinks or intends to do than we were before the interview was aired, such is the outlandish content in it. From making statements that seem genuine about building on momentum and relative truth about how much money he is going to give Rafa to spend, ‘Not enough’ was the blunt and rather honest reply.

How can certain statements be made and then be backed up with nothing from someone who has a history of lying? There we have the answer; lies, lies and more lies. The only shock I would have, is if Ashley himself didn’t have a snigger as he made his way out of the interview. I said at the start that his tenure as owner has been haphazard and mis-managed and that is exactly how the interview came across. A clever man can’t come out with the stuff like Mike Ashley said and not realise he’s going to come across as a liar and an idiot.

mike ashley

Unfortunately, until someone comes up with, lets say £300m+, we are stuck with him. Anyone willing to buy him out feel free, hopefully they will buy the club in as quick a fashion as Ashley did, hopefully with a few financial checks, the first one being glaringly obvious, that fortunes can be made out of football if relative fortunes are spent, something that isn’t going to happen on Mike’s watch.

In the meantime, I suggest we continue to back Rafa and whoever he manages to sign given the financial constraints. No slagging off of players simply because they haven’t been bought for £30m each or haven’t played in the Premier League before, the bottom half of this league is much of a muchness and with some investment we should hold our own this season and despite how hollow the owner’s words are, we could have a crack at one or both of the cups and see what happens after Christmas if we are indeed looking good for mid-table.

That is where we are and until the owner ships out, that is where we are likely to stay and no amount of money is going to guarantee a crack at breaking the top four. I’m not overly pessimistic or optimistic about this season, just realistic about seeing a side try their hardest to finish as high as possible.

Rafa will ensure that. Howay the lads.

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



  • Desree

    Good synopsis Paul. I tbink MA has done this interview because Rafa will walk and he doesn’t want death threats again.

  • briankilclinesfordfiesta

    Ashley has got what he wants out of this: publicity and exposure. Have a look at SD’s revenues in the 10 years since he took over. No one knew who he was beforehand. The man isn’t stupid, he isn’t and idiot: he’s a genius. And Newcastle have been the pawn in his grand plan. He doesn’t need the fans, and that I think is what is so hard to accept. If he did would he really have ignored every single wish of theirs over the last decade?

    No publicity is bad as far as he is concerned. Yes he’s unorthodox, yes he makes arbitrary decisions with no logic or reason, but it’s all for one thing: to keep SD in the public eye and to keep people shopping there. Because in the grand scheme of things, 50,000 angry, moaning fans will not have a negative impact on their share price. Zero hours contracts and things which materially affect people’s lives will – and did.

    It’s horrible not to matter in the eyes of the owner of a club which so many people care about and invest their emotions in, but that is the tragic reality.

  • Rich Lawson

    Do you know what,he doesn’t give a toss about the club,and nothing will change til there are less than 20,000 in the ground for a home game or that many are stood outside St James’s chanting for his exit ?

  • joolzyoungman07

    I’m not quite (I emphasise ‘quite’) as anti-Ashley as some – the club is on a sound financial footing and isn’t living way beyond its means unlike the vast majority of premiership clubs – however it irks the life out of me when he says he can’t put his hand in his pocket because his money’s all tied up – then but a few days later magics up the money to increase stake in Debenhams. Shades of May and the DUP, methinks

    • Guest 2

      And French Connection earlier.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      What he means is that he’d rather tie his kids inheritance up in something that will give him a return. Why not?

      I think he should have offered a fan bond. Basically the fans lend the club £100 and £200 bonds, no limit on numbers with a 3% coupon. Pay back is on league position, finish 10th or above, all is paid back in July 2018, 11th – 17th payback is July 2019, relegated, payback is on re-promotion. If fans on average lend £300 then that’s £15m to spend on fan’s players and wages.

  • Guest 2

    Shame that we were actually told there was a five year plan – twice!
    Shame we were told the club aspired to follow the Arsenal mode – which was subsequently downgraded to the Villa model.
    Shame were told (live on TV) last Summer that the club is not for sale no matter what, or at least before we qualify for the CL as a minimum. Less than 12 months later he’s back on tv and in the press with a begging bowl in hand.
    Finally, shame and shame again he’s repeating the KK saga all over again with Rafa.
    And some people still choose to believe anything this cretin says.

  • Jimblag23

    Dummett is an academy product in the first team.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    I agree that Mike Ashley was wrong to not look at the books, moreover, not forensically look through the books. I’ve assumed either Hall or the Bank was putting pressure on the make everythng happen quickly or he simply needed to get things done himself and the EIS tax saved was HOPEFULLY going to be enough to outweigh any nasty stuff in the woodwork. Given two venture capitalist / investment groups had already pulled out having seen the books, alarm bells should have rang.

    As for a long-term plan, that’s a very nice to have and exactly what is needed at NUFC but football doesn’t work to long-term plans. fans are impatient, relegation is very real and players’ careers do not last long enough.

    The notion that losing the Metro car park is stopping expansion within SJP is wrong. It’s cost, he’s made prices cheaper and at best we’d see about 6,000 – 7,500 seats being added to the Gallowgate end. The cost of replicating the Leazes end was said to be about £500m, more than twice the cost of the Milburn and Leazes. Around £67k per seat, assuming they are all sold at £500 a year, that’s over 133 years to just get it paid back without even maintaining it. The reality of the Gallowgate end is that the metro line makes it very difficult, what’s likely is a triple level of exec boxes, an access level over strawberry pl, more seats in the corner of the Milburn and Gallowgate and roof replicating the Leazes and Milburn. Maybe 2,000 more seats, mostly in the corner.

    As for backing the manager and team, bang on.

    • Guest 2

      Didn’t even check on a mortgage? Utter fantasy.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I’m sure he looked at the accounts and the mortgage, that was the least of the worries as anyone with half a bit of nous now knows.

        • Guest 2

          Anyone with half a bit of nous knows a man whose living has been made from buying up ‘distressed’ brands ensures he knew exactly what, and for how much, NUFC was going to cost.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            You know, for a change, I would agree with you. For some reason, it was not done, no meeting with bankers arranged and the club had already been knocked back from Polygon and Belgravia with the reasons for that knock back pretty clear.

            Something made Ashley act in haste. The annoying thing is that it cost him £260m to acquire the club and just fix the balance sheet, that did not even get him any real spending money, simply enough to sort out the creditors and enough working capital to get through a season.

            Had he have waited, he could have picked the shares up for nothing and finance the debt i.e. pretty much get away with spending £130m on the club with £1m for the shareholders to go away. That extra £130m could have then been spent on Wally Mc Scorealot, Manuel stopalot and Cedric Createalot.

      • Martin Rooney

        no mortgage a securitisation of level 7, he apparently did know about that but did not know about the players who were not paid for Albert Luque etc etc

    • FatParosite

      There may be some truth to the fact he didn’t look at the books. I think Ashley was hoping for a quick sale before the crash in 2008 as he expected large foreign investment imminently. That didn’t happen so he sought to recoup by using NUFC as advertising vehicle and swallow any revenue made by NUFC as a club as parasite.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I’ve wondered about that. I think he always planned to keep it for a few years, tax reasons if nothing else, I think he’d get BIS relief – a tax expert may know the rules.

        I actually think he thought it would be a lot of fun, see his first 9 months, he enjoyed it. However, when he sacked BFS, he bought in KK and wanted more control. BFS left the club with a team of trainers, coaches and assorted hangers on, all needing a pay off. he also left a team of players including Geremi, Alan Smith, Viduka, Joey B, Duff etc all on huge salaries and all crocked in one way or another. I’m told that he didn’t want that again. In business, you create a team that should you lose one, you replace them and everyone works towards the same goal, the business of football was contrary to all he did in his own business.

        When it got a bit messy, I think he was ready to sell up but then the aftershocks of the financial crash meant there were limited takers.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        How did he swallow any revenue?

    • 1957

      I believe Spurs New stadium is now expected to cost £750m , about £12.5k per seat, expanding stadia makes no financial sense, new build is the way to go. Liverpool’s recent expansion cost £27k per seat for a relatively simple scheme.

      We missed the boat in not building a new ground rather than the enlargement of the Milburn stand in Hall and Shepherd’s time.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        That is very much true. Castle leazes was the way to go. For the club, it also took fans away from town so food and drink takings would have been up. I was at a talk from Freddie Fletcher back in the 90’s who complained that Newcastle was too close to the town and the local pubs, restaurants and take-aways did better than the club.

        A bit late now, we can justify 55-60,000 seats. So building a new stadium and scrapping the old will cost too much for a small increase of seats.

        Spurs are making there ground multi-purpose, NFL are playing there? it gives them more uses for the stadium.

        • 1957

          I went to a couple of meetings at the time of SOS where Fletcher admitted he favoured a new stadium but the board were worried that any lengthy planning enquiry would put the club’s short / medium term financial strategy at risk.

    • Martin Rooney

      Gees does everyone have to make ill thought out statements on here take a rule to the metro from Monument to SJP it goes under the new high rise no impact to SJP development, estimate cost at last study for extending Level 5-7 round the whole stadium was £170mn taking the capacity to 82,000. That cost was construction not the purchase of the buildings behind the east stand. That high cost was to include the incorporation of the Leazes Terrace student flats. the real problem is as you say the return, as people like me pay equivalent of £18 for both me and my son to got the revenue per seat up there is around £192, a bargain but not good for business. and that folks is why having 52,000 through the door every week is pointless.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I agree, the flats have no impact whatsoever. There is an issue with the Metro station and the line. I agree, a rule from monument to St James’ means that buildings have been built above the line without a problem, Welbar Central being the most recent.

        However, a football stand has additional forces on it, not least the cantilever roof is huge and the movement of the structure means it needs to be stronger than an office block and therefore, bigger foundations.

        The other issue it that the Leazes did not offer many more seats behind the goal than the equivalent stand on the Gallowgate. When the Leazes was rebuilt, the majority of additional capacity was on the Milburn stand and the corner. There is a problem for the Gallowgate and Milburn corner as when you see where the Metro line goes, the change of line points are right under the corner.

        I don’t know of a study that makes the capacity 82,000 or the cost, the estimate I read was £500m to overcome the metro problems and the capacity would be short of 60,000. A more modest solution was to provide more corporate hospitality behind the goal with more boxes and a steeper and smaller level 7 and smaller roof with the corner being expanded to give a capacity of 56-57,000. The increased corporate accommodation providing the lion share of the income.

        I’d like to read an article involving Taylor, Tulip & Hunter who were the architects or perhaps the structural engineers; Hutter, Jennings & Titchmarsh who will be able to explain the pitfalls of the Gallowgate end and what is and isn’t possible.

  • ToonNL

    You’re taking an awful lot of this at his word. Half of the quotes here are stuff that every owner should say. It was fundamentally designed to regain control of the narrative which has been slipping without a ‘yes’ man. He’ gotten lots of practice of that recently with his court and government tribunals and he’s actually getting sufficient success at playing the victim card

    He hasn’t boosted the youth, he hasn’t installed a 7 year plan, he has a managing director who still doesn’t know what he is doing (or is deliberately problemitizing things) and he hasn’t taken these lessons to heart in his entire time.

    His bicycle analogy is exaggerated imagery to soften his failure. His offense at 200m quid checks jumps on the wave of Neymar shock whilst distracting from the fact we don’t need nor have we asked for 200m. His claim for a cup run is a token expression of ambition which, like his other visions, serves no purpose but to offer the suggestion that the grass will get greener.

    Anyone who hasn’t should look at his Select Committee depositions if you can stomach to see his chin wobble. Its the same narrative (Im learning as im going, A lot of the business aspects are out of my hands, I want to know what I can do to help, but I am also a product of the business environment around me).

    He was once (I assume) a shrewd and aggressive business man. Now he’s a glutton who doesn’t really care for accountability or the satisfaction of those below him.

    most importantly of all, his SD stocks have more then halved since Jan 2016 which he was quick to point out is where all his money is… me thinks this is the problem more than anything

    • grantham mag

      Nail on head well said.

  • Mike

    Rafa be gone afore Cashley and who would blame him

    • Martin Rooney

      As nee body wants to buy a business where the customers hate it then he is never gona get a buyer

  • FatParosite

    If Rafa wants to play this game he needs to refute that he made assertions towards a £200M budget & put the ball back in Ashley’s court. That is not being negative but it might put pay to some of those who seem to have fallen for the Ashley agenda. He should do this before he sinks his own credibility in the good ship SS SDFC captained by Ashley.

    • Martin Rooney

      a game of he said she said tennis won’t help anything, especially your well thought out idea, as Ashley would reply that he had said he can’t compete with a country that spends £200mn, and at no point suggested that Rafa has made those assertions. Why lie did you not see the interview?

  • magpiefifer

    Good piece Paul.
    The man is a fraud,but he knows that whatever he does enough fans will still turn up to support the team and,at the moment,the manager.
    He doesn’t care a jot for the fans,just happy to continue using NUFC as an inexpensive advertising vehicle,but where I don’t see any wisdom is his lack of forward thinking in investing sufficiently to avoid another relegation.
    The man is beyond contempt.

    • Martin Rooney

      inexpensive, £275 million for ‘9mn opportunities to be seen’ per annum its one of the most expensive ratios I’ve ever known in advertising, works out at around £3 per person who sees a banner that’s very expensive advertising.

      • magpiefifer

        So Ashley has only received the advertising exposure for his £275m – oh yes,I’m zipped up the back!!!!
        Why don’t you spend more of your time learning to spell players names? It’s Saivet and Lazaar by the way!

        • Martin Rooney

          What else has he got like? I don’t wish to learn the names of plonkers that should never have been gifted a fortune at my club.

          • magpiefifer

            Why don’t you ask him!? Then again,he won’t tell you will he!???
            Cheap cop out over name spelling when you got Krul,Colback,Haidara and Hanley correct!!!!

  • TheFatController

    Good article.

    Let’s look at the basics:-
    – got taken for the hidden £70m by Hall & Shepherd
    – is always introduced as ‘NUFC owner’ even when a media article is about SD and their practices
    – has fallen out with fans and legends at the club
    – his ‘wallpaper’ is fast becoming about as valuable as B&Q value range – SD are on a downward curve, having made hay whilst the recession shined by offering cheap tat

    So his last hurrah, knowing he’ll no longer be famous as NUFC owner, knowing the legends will be saying ‘good riddance’ in the media as we all sing and rejoice and immediately build a statue of the new owner and stick it on Monument, his last hurrah must be to make a profit so he at least can turn to his bank balance as all this public humiliation is playing out.

    Added to that, imagine if he sold and within a year or two we won something! He’d be doubly broken.

    So sadly he won’t sell unless he has something (£100m profit?) to cry into…maybe if legends and fans agreed a ‘no rejoicing contract’ if he sells us cheaply and skulls off back to the business pages and drinking in fitzrovia?

    • Martin Rooney

      I’m afraid you not up with the news SD are on the way back share price up 40% since latest results statement

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      Got taken for £70m by Hall and Shepherd)?
      By God you don’t half talk utter rubbish.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Yep, you could argue it was £131m he didn’t need to spend

        • Fleckman hoop licker

          You can argue whatever you like, you don’t have a shred of credibility.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Yes, I know, facts, logic and an education count for nothing in this forum.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            You should know, your multiple log ins account for 80% of the membership.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Maths isn’t your strong point

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            I sharp worked out you’re a boring r sole.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            English isn’t your strong point

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            Like I said….

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Which is a problem given your English abilities.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            A “problem” with maths and English but no “problem” working you and your multiple log ins out.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Of course, daft Micky, loony leazes, genius Geordie Giant and jester jezza are all mine.

            I’ve changed my logins as a response to censorship, if that’s what you mean.

          • Fleckman hoop licker

            You’d have to be considerably more interesting than you are to carry that off bonnylad, your multiple log ins only have one dreary narrative – tea bagging your lover boy.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            which ones are me then?

          • Geordiegiants

            What about your new hoop licking pal Clarko?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Not me I’m afraid. If you are going to pick out every educated poster on here and assume it’s me, I’m quite flattered.

          • Geordiegiants

            Is that the educated poster that thinks spending £66m net over ten years is more than £105m

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Did you get an O’level in English comprehension?

          • Geordiegiants

            I’ll take that as a yes.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            And your answer to me is clearly ‘no’

          • Leazes Ender

            Half of them are his brother….

  • Lord

    Given MA’s reticence to speak on camera, the most pertinent thing about this interview is that it happened at all, even if it was a ‘soft one’. What was MA trying to achieve? I’m sure it wasn’t to make Sam A, KK and Chris Hughton feel better.

    Two reasons perhaps:

    1) MA wants to sell the club and this was him publicly saying ‘come and make me an offer’

    2) In light of Rafa talking about disappointment and MA ‘keeping his word’, he felt a need to give justification about the lack of transfer spend

    MA has never seemed to be one to care too much about what other people are saying and surely a quiet word with RB would have been an easier option to tackle 2).

    So maybe he is finally fed up and wants to sell up.

    • 1957

      For me the whole thing was really publically saying I’m open to offers for the club, but no one has come up with my asking price so far.

      • Geordiegiants

        I believe the Chinese owners that bought Southampton were originally in for us. When Jabba let them know how much he wanted, they F’d off and bought a cheap club, he then put out the advert (his Sky interview)

        • Danimal

          Well, at this moment what would you offer for a club that is in (or around – only a matter of time) the relegation places and could be gone by the time the next transfer window opens? Are you buying a Premier League club or a Championship one? You’d want two different prices wouldn’t you?

          • Geordiegiants

            He would of wanted more than the £210m they paid.

  • Alan Pardew

    Mike’s (Ashley) put something like £273m into the club and he’s not taken anything back. Since I’ve been here I have not really shouted his corner. Politically for me it’s a minefield.

    I want to keep the fans in a good place but I would say to them, before they get emotional about it, that Mike has invested something like 25 per cent of his personal wealth in this football club. Ask me for 25 per cent of my money and you’ve got no chance. I don’t care how good your idea is.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Exactly Alan.

      • Fleckman hoop licker

        Great post Alan, fleckman likes it so much he’s reached for the Vaseline.

        • Geordiegiants

          He will be on to Clarko to give him a good shuffle as well.

          • Danimal

            Christ, Clarko, he’s a nightmare. Like Donald Trump but without the self-awareness.

          • Geordiegiants

            Your not kidding, him and Fleckas, they are like a pair of dogs looking for a bone.

      • Guest 2

        Same way of accounting as you it appears. 25% ?
        Ashley’s currently worth some 2.1 billion at least, and got as high as almost 4 billion.
        There’s only 781 people in the world wealthier than him. Poor bairn, he must struggle.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          It was you who could bot do the sum IIRC. You didn’t know your 0.25% from a 25%

          • Guest 2

            He said 25%. And you are the bean counter who provided a formula which valued the club at 20 billion!
            You also edited your post afterwards by the way (to 0.25%).
            Still waiting on your debt number for the club prior to relegation 1.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            the valuation of that income stream, £50m with a bank of England interest rate of 0.25% is £2bn or £2,000,000,000.

            I edited .25% to 0.25% for clarity

          • Guest 2

            Your response to the poster above. HE clearly claims 25%.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It’s clearly not 25% though is it? the current interest rate is 0.25%

    • ToonNL

      This is that narrative I was talking about…

    • Geordiegiants

      Yeah Alan yeah 😴

    • Guest 2

      Yeah he just gave it, huh? He bought the club and it had a price, just like for everything. It had debt, being the mortgage on St James’ and outstanding transfer fees.

      He knew exactly what he was buying and why – and has systematically refused to provide meaningful funds with which someone like Rafa could work with.

      May as well thank Sky, supporters and sponsors for our revenue rather than fatty as he’s brought absolutely zero extra.

  • Martin Rooney

    Maybe just maybe he has no idea how to deal with this one. He knows he has a good(not great manager) in place one the fans really like. He knows he has done what the fans want and given him a managers job and given him all the money that is in the club to spend on players, he knows that he has spent most of that cash on reserves and players who will compete but not dominate the first team, he knows he has agreed to let him spend all the money that comes in from sales from Krul Saviet colback Haidara lazar Hanley etc etc. and secretly he’s fuming that having done that he sees Rafa is buying right backs that were abysmal in a mackem team that was one of the worst in living memory and left wingers for £12mn that will play second fiddle to left wingers he paid £6mn for. (18mn total) If that Rafa was so desperate for a striker why didn’t he buy Hernandez PROVEN GOALS for £16mn. Nar he wanted Tammy Abrahams wheres me smiley face FCOL the club and its fans are a basket case

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      we have supporters who moan that the owner has not given the manager more money to spend, the same ones moan that the debt to MA has gone up. These people are not from the top class.

      • Leazes Ender

        How much money has Ashley’s penny pinching cost the club? Two relegations of his own making! He ended up paying for his own incompetence and calls it ‘debt’….

        …Why should another buyer pick up the tab for the fool?

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Hmmm, the figures suggest £12m is down to a poor choice in manager for 2015/16. The rest is down to your heroes.

          If another buyer doesn’t come up with the right amount of money, they are not a buyer. Simple as that.

          • Guest 2

            Head Coach you mean? ‘No Manager at NUFC since KK until now and even that’s highly debatable – though no doubt you believe your idol ‘Mike’ that Charnley reports to Rafa..

            Who was on the ‘Board’ when McClaren was appointed (and Carver, Pardew. Kinnear, Wise etc)?

            What about the poor figures due to two relegations during that time including additional ‘loans’ from fatty?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            You’ve got the figures wrong again, it’s all there even in our previous correspondence

          • Guest 2

            So you keep saying.
            Go on then, expert. Tell me what his ‘loans’ amounted to – up to and then after relegation 1.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The loans were £139.8m after relegation 1, £18M to get through the season due to footballing reasons £11m was to pay the VAT man after the 2006 VAT issue, we had to cough up.

          • Guest 2

            Noted you haven’t provided the before figures.
            Ok, so what are you saying the club debt (100% Ashley owned) currently stands at after the latest loan?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The latest loan has not been confirmed, just a commitment to make an additional £12m available, however, assumuing that is taken up, £141m

          • Guest 2

            You really are full of it.
            29 million additional loans made due to relegation 1.
            10/11 accounts then suggested 140 million of debt, all being Ashley loans.
            11 million repaid in 2012.
            15/16 accounts agreeably state – “gross debt remains 111 million payable in more than 1 year and 18 million payable on demand” (129 million therefore). All debt being the loans.
            18 million repaid since (on demand).
            111 million + 12 million (if advanced due to relegation 2) equals what?
            Yet here you are saying the debt will now be 141 million. Or do you wish to claim he can repay himself but still leave the same amount on the books as club debt?
            Can’t have it both ways, bean counter.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            You are not really understanding the books nor what I am saying. I gave you the sums before, 2016 accounts have the loan at £129m you agree? Since, a further £12m was advanced (or at least made available, £129 + £12 = £141 agreed? You seem to be getting mixed up over the £18m that was in the ‘amounts due within one year’, that’s always been there but it’s not been demanded. The note in the accounts referred to £30m, this was £12m being added to the £18 that already existed.

            On the earlier 2008, 2009 & 2010 loans, you have to look at the whole balance sheet as debt was created out of existing debt to bank, trade creditors and a paper provision for the VAT case that Shep & Hall got mixed up in (in fairness, it was other clubs too)

          • Guest 2

            You seemingly understand nothing but your own wonky opinion.
            What other 18 million did he provide other than the part of 29 million after relegation?
            You also claimed back in April (to C Holts piece) that you understood the 29 million had already been repaid!

            Moreover, ” According to the minutes from the fans forum Mike Ashley is hoping to have an additional £18 million repaid to wipe out the additional money he had loaned the club due to relegation. This would bring the total loan amount he is owed to the club to £111 million. Any potential takeover should keep a close eye to see if he has withdrawn this additional £18 million.”
            AND
            “In December 2016, an Ashley company called St James Holdings provided a further secured loan of £33 million, with £18 million of it used to repay a personal loan from Ashley.”

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Again, yo are not following the debate correctly.

            There was a repayment back to MA after promotion from the Championship in 2010-11. I’d have to look it up but it was in the region of £11m, it wasn’t £29m as that was more like the amount he had to put in to sort out the VAT and the year in the championship.

          • Guest 2

            2008 accounts- Ashley loans were at 100 million. He provided a further 10 mil for working capital after June 30th of that year.
            He loaned a further 29 million due to relegation (and associated woes).
            He was repaid 11 million in 2012, as I have already said.
            18 million remained, ‘payable on demand’.
            The clubs own statement on release of 15/16 accounts says “On 21 December 2016 St James Holdings Limited, a company controlled by Mr Ashley, provided a further loan of £33m. £18m was used to repay Mr Ashley his outstanding personal loan with the remaining £15m providing additional essential funds for operating activities.”
            No debate, Bobbi, just facts which contradict your misguided opinion and terrible maths.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I agree with the 2012 repayment, I think we all agreed with that.

            I’m happy to agree about the loan for 15/16, I’d thought it was £30m with £12m being new money, if it’s £33m with £15m being new money, we agree.

            I’m not sure when you were arguing because we agree.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Can you put a link to the C Holt discussion, I can’t remember my dinner never mind a debate from April. Flattered that you remember to be honest.

          • Guest 2

            ‘Called research. I would have thought a pseudo accountant could do his own.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’d like to research but I can’t remember the details of a debate I had in April. I assume you have found such detail, why not give me a link and then I can say that I was right or wrong

          • Guest 2

            Look it up yourself. You were wrong, as you often are in your opinions which have little basis in actual club related facts.
            Oooh bobbi fleckman Chris Holt • 5 months ago

            I’m pretty sure, what you have on the website will be the text from the Director’s report which, as you say is part of the accounts. A look at Norwich’s figures show that the directors go to some lengths to show they have a viable non-premier league strategy including funding. Villa make a similar statement to NUFC that xia’s company will support the club financially.

            Any of the relegated clubs cannot announce they have filed their accounts, report some financial success and not address the thorny issue that some of the money that created that success was no longer going to be there.

            With regard MA’s loans, I thought the £129m was the figure from the re-financing of the H&S regime where he repaid the stadium mortgage, did a bit of a haircut on the balances payable to clubs for players, the casino loan and otehr creditors that had been unearthed. I understood the £29m from 09/10 was repaid in two tranches some time ago. Certainly the note from last year’s accounts shows a debt of £129m to MA

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            If I recall correctly, this was discussion before the accounts were on public record and the debate with Chris was why such a statement was issued?

            My point to Chris was the club will need to make such a statement to show it’s not trading illegally and there is funding in place. what we know now from your extract from the 2016 accounts and what will be clearer in the 2017 accounts is that additional funding was required by the club to meet it’s commitments. I had it that the funding required was £12m, you have cleared up that it was £15m, I’m happy to accept that so we all agree? I think I said the funding was provided by MA / Mash / or another vehicle that MA owns, it turns out to be the latter St James Holdings Limited.

            It seems we all agree.

          • Guest 2

            No, I don’t agree.You are all over the place.
            Simple. He has repaid himself 29 million since 2010 – a figure which perfectly matches the relegation 1 loans and repaid in the exact format which club statements/accounts suggested.
            You now argue the club is indebted to him for 141 million.
            Some accountant you are.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            If you are saying the debt is £111m to MA personally and £33m to St James Holdings, then yes I agree with that, it was a sloppy use of saying ‘he’ lent the money as he hid it through a separate entity.

            So agreed?

          • Guest 2

            So now you’re up to 144 million?
            Seriously man, you are confusing yourself with your own fantasies.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Those are the figures you gave?

            We ended the 2016 tax year with £129m owed to MJW Ashley, you agree?

            As you advise, post balance sheet, a loan was provided for £33m by St James Holdings Limited which replaced £18m of that owed to MJW AShley.

            So £129m + £33m less £18m = £144m being £111m owed to MJW AShley and £33m to St James Holdings Limited

            I get the feeling you agree with me ,Stu but desperately want to argue.

            If you want be to concede that the post balance sheet loan was £3m more than I’d thought, yes but I was going from memory.

            Given that we agree, what’s your gripe?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Given you have rightly highlighted the post balance sheet item that Chris Holt and I debated back in April, We ended the 2016 tax year with £129m owed to MJWA, another £15m has been introduced so £144m is owed to MJW A and St James Holdings Limited.

          • Guest 2

            Sure. Pretty good then when you can repay yourself 18 million and add that to the club debt at the same time – both of which you own 100%.
            Only amateur beancounters like you find this acceptable by the owner and actually support it – while arguing how good for the club it’s meant to be.
            And as originally argued – debt has continued to increase under Ashley’s ownership. Undeniable.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            What do you think the debt figure is? You keep saying I’m wrong, you post narrative from the accounts which suggest I’m right, I really don’t get your point.

            I think you are missing the fact that the £33m is another company 100% owned by MJWA. He’s paid himself £18m but a company he owns has put £33m in. looking at the trail, it appears that he’s put the £15m in as a personal loan to a company he 100% owns which has lent it to another company he 100% owns. Rather than being £18m personally better off (in cash terms), it’s pretty clear that he has £15m less money.

            Has debt gone up under MA’s ownership, certainly not up to 2016 accounts, no.

          • Guest 2

            Why do you keep making things up and providing your opinion (as if a fact) instead of actually looking at the facts?
            The trail leads to the accounts – and they say that 33 million was provided as a ‘secured loan’ by St James’ Holdings after the accounting period (Dec 16). There’s no 15 million of personal money whatsoever.
            The club gross debt now stands at least 144 million (previously 111 million) and NONE of it is now personally fatso’s.
            He paid himself (again) and added it to the gross club debt again. He most certainly is personally 18 million better off just as he was 11 million better off when that was repaid to him in 2012.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Hurrah, you agree that it was £129m at the 2016 accounts and the note suggests it will be £144m in 2017 (of course, that can still change)??????

            You are wrong to say the debt was previously £111m, it was £129m (at the 2016 accounts). The split is £111m & £18m as £18m was due within a year, the remainder due after more than one year.

            From memory , £111 will be payable to MA and £33m will be St James Holdings – apologies, I’ve only got phone access and can’t access the account information. Again, this is from memory but IIRC St James Holdings is a MA company under MASH, Mash is funded by MA so the money comes from MA when you follow the trail.

          • Guest 2

            More rubbish from you. The info all came from the accounts.
            18 mil was ‘payable on demand’ and 111 million ‘payable after more than 1 year’. It’s in black and white.
            I know the bloody trail. The point being any ‘personal’; money he loaned has now been fully repaid. He loaned 29 million from his 100% owned companies to repay himself 29 million personally (overall) and despite being repaid, all debt now remains on the books owed to St James’ etc NOT Ashley personally.
            Otherwise 111 million + 15 million = 126 does it not? This way he gets two bites of the cherry. Quelle surprise.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            it must be my failing to explain this clearly.

            The 2016 accounts showed £129m in total, £18m on demand and £111m after a year, agreed? The post balance sheet note / going concern notice says his related company has loaned £33m and £18m repaid to MA. So it follows that the amount owned in structured debt is £33m (on demand) to related company and £111m to MA personally.

            The point of the loan note is ensuring the company is solvent, a going concern.

            What do you mean about two bites of the cherry?

            You are getting in a pickle by relating the loans in 2007-2011 as being repaid. The first loan was around £111m, then subsequently, loans were made to pay the VAT case, pay MGM, pay football creditors and to get us through the 2009/2010 season.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            When did the debt change from MA to St James Holdings? the full £129m was to him personally, the only note I recall was the post balance sheet note about the new £33m replacing the £18m and that being from St James Holdings, i don’t recall a previous change to the lending.

          • Guest 2

            When did they change? Good question – or then again, were they ever really all from Ashley’s personal account?
            The accounts specifically say that “Term loans from Ashley and companies under his control were 129.0 million at the statement of financial position date (2015)”
            Couldn’t have all been personally his therefore, could it.
            The relegation 1 loans were not repaid fully, you gimp. they amounted to 29 million – he got back 11 in 2012 and that left 18 mil ‘payable on demand’. His money allegedly and as wildly reported (not from other group companies)
            Now he’s been paid that back too and it’s been added to the club debt. Are you stupid?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Jeez, you are an angry chap, ‘gimp’? The reason I ask is that the £129m was in MJwa’s personal name. I see £33m in the post balance sheet note from st James’s. I can’t recall a change noted previously.

            I’m not stupid but I’m not sure about you. Can I ask if you get into a lot of fights at school? How did the exams go or is it next year you do gcse’s.

          • Guest 2

            Given your obnoxious and self righteous attitude in posting I can presume you were royally battered at school.
            Try actually informing yourself of the facts instead of pontificating with opinions that are utterly baseless and pretending you are some form of business/accounting whizz.
            How the F could the 129 mil be in Ashleys sole name when the accounts state completely otherwise?
            Can;t be arsed with you. Blocked

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The don’t, the accounts at 2014 at least say its all his name, most likely 2016 too. Is the problem that you don’t want to learn?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The loan was certainly all in MA’s name in 2013, the note there was; Mr MJW Ashley also continued to provide loan facilities to the Group during the year. The total balance outstanding at 30 June 2013 was £129.0million.

            In 2014,15 & 16 the note changed slightly to read “Mr MJW Ashley and companies under his control continued to provide loan facilities to the Group during the year. The total balance outstanding at 30 June 2016 was £129.0million….no interest was paid on the loans for with the previous or current year.

            Now, the £129m from MJW Ashley was secured. New security was registered in December 2016 for St James Holdings to back up the new £33m loan but no security was released. There would need to be a note to show the £111m was repaid in United’s accounts and as St James’ Holdings only advanced £33m, the loans in place now appear to be £111m owned to MJW Ashley and £33m to St James Holdings.

            So in answer to the question “How the F could the 129 mil be in Ashleys sole name when the accounts state completely otherwise?” – on June 30, 2016 the loan arrangements are the same as in 2013 as no related party note was made to a change. According to the note that even you highlighted, a new loan was made for St James Holdings of £33m, replacing the £18m due on demand to MA personally, total amount owing to MA is now £111m with £33m owed to his company, St James’ Holdings.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            There’s someone who’s just lost an argument

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            They were clearly marked as being personal to 2014, the auditor changed and the wording became a little more ambiguous when Earnest young were replaced by Thornton s.

            Im still not sure what your argument is.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It is a good question, I’ve looked and it doesn’t seem to have changed but for the Dec 2016 loan. I still don’t see what you have a problem with.

  • Leazes Ender

    You don’t hire Jenson Button and put him on a Bicycle….. I think Benitez will be off shortly.

    • Martin Rooney

      If you have kids do you spend more on them than your football club. Unfortunately there is nobody who wants to buy United, thats because unless they spend £1bn £300mn on the club £700mn on players then the fans will call them a bunch of T&*TS, and thats just to catch up with man city and Man united truth if we keep on getting the S*** ref decisions and finish outside the top six they’ll never bring in the cash to stay around top 6 Everton in the bottom half within three years.

      • Danimal

        This is the kind of defeatist bullshit we had to put up with in the late 80s and early 90s. Once SJH’s team took over we were bigger than Liverpool, never mind Everton. Throughout the late 90s and most the 2000s, Everton were desperate to be us. Stan Seymour lives on.

  • 1957

    After the interview I wondered if Big Sham had been sounded out to replace Benitez, anyone know where I can find odds on that

  • Albert Stubbins

    as much as It pains me to admit- Rafa will not hang around for long under this sham of a regime. HE unlike Newcastle United is overtly ambitious. He goes to clubs with ambition- he has a track record of trying to win things with big clubs- often succeeding in the process. He wont be here long. what really p****** me off more than this is my all tine hero Peter Beardsley, recently stated to one and all at a recent dinner at the nine bar that big things were afoot in terms of recruitment. He said he knew for a fact that Rafa was going to be bringing in top players- now possibly Rafa has told him after the meeting with Ashley that this was going to be the case as the dinner was end of last season – it seems everyone has been hoodwinked by that charlatan ashley- even arguably its greatest ever player who is still on the payroll in his work with the youngsters. This has hurt me the most.

    • Geordiegiants

      I have to agree, when people ask me about my all time best player, I want it to be Pedro, but for a couple of reasons, i.e: Him leaving us for Liverpool and licking Jabbas kharki star fish I can’t, it has got to be Billy Askew now.

      • Albert Stubbins

        Billy was always a better player technically in my eyes anyway- AKA- the ginger heeded Maradona.

        • Geordiegiants

          Ha ha ha lol, was that before the days of spec savers?

          • Danimal

            Albert Craig

          • Geordiegiants

            Hamilton Accys finest 👍

  • Steve Pearce

    Decoding that Mike Ashley interview:

    “Right you dumb Geordie bastards – I don’t give a toss about you or your stupid club as you thick [email protected] keep turning up to matches and spend all your money at Sports Direct. I only got that Spaniard in as manager so you’d fall in love with him and buy loads of season tickets. So just stick to beating up your ugly wives and making love to your whippets as I’m a Southerner and I hate all Northerners!”

    • Geordiegiants

      Steve if he could come out and tell the truth, it wouldn’t be a million miles away from that.

  • toonterrier

    Its taken the USA a hundred years to get the total eclipse of the sun. Its taken fatty ten years to organise the total collapse of the toon. Until he buggers off we’re stuck in the dark ages.

    • Steve Pearce

      Total Eclipse Of The Toon….

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    He started off being Parsimonious in the extreme and we suffered as a result.
    He then loosened the purse strings when McLaren came in which didn’t work either and then Rafa couldn’t keep them up.
    Now it seems like he’s thought well I threw a bit of cash at it and we still went down so it’s back to being prudent.

    The fact is we can all debate what Ashley has done but in the end he just hasn’t been good enough as an owner across the board from day one unfortunately.
    Personally I think when he bought the club it was as an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of London.
    It

    • Danimal

      He should sell for a break-even price. More than he deserves. But we are supporting a shell of a football club because he fancies making a profit.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    was