The Mike Ashley PR campaign is admirable in terms of just how outrageous it is.

The Chronicle confirmed that Rafa Benitez hasn’t talked to Mike Ashley since May and yet only 48 hours before the season kicks off, after summer months where he has hung Rafa out to dry, Newcastle United’s owner decides to time quotes that batter manager and fans alike.

When we turn up on Sunday for the Spurs game, I fully expect there to be new Sports Direct banners at every turnstile, proclaiming ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’. Maybe to complement fans finding out that Sports Direct is the (non-paying) shirt sleeve sponsor…?

It was Adolf Hitler who was credited with coming up with the propaganda belief of  ‘If you are going to lie, make it a big one’.

The Mike Ashley quotes released today, show that he and his PR people think you can fool enough of the people, enough of the time.

Ashley talks of Newcastle not being able to compete because they don’t have a £40m a year stadium rights deal, that competing with clubs effectively owned by ‘countries’ is impossible, that he can’t just ‘write a cheque for £200m’.

How many clubs in the Premier League are owned by countries and/or get £40m a year from stadium naming rights?

There might be one or two but I can guarantee that none of them will be clubs that Newcastle fans hope/expect to be competing with in the short to medium-term.

It is laughable really.

However, a certain sector of the media, including Sky Sports who work with Ashley when it comes to this type of thing, will report the quotes without any kind of critical analysis. Sadly as well, a number of Newcastle fans will also be gullible enough to want to believe the Mike Ashley PR offensive, as though this is some part of reasonable way of running a football club.

What exactly sabotaging even Rafa free transfer and loan deals, has to do with cheques for £200m and the clubs run by countries, is anybody’s guess.

This is simply yet another disastrous Mike Ashley gamble, or should I say, a double gamble.

Can Newcastle survive this season in the Premier League on a net spend of £17m (so far)? Then the second part of the gamble which sees Ashley testing Rafa Benitez on how far he can push him without the respected manager saying enough is enough.

Rafa Benitez never expected to be handed £150m or £200 BUT he did expect to be allowed to bring in players in January and then have the ability to bring in players this summer who would clearly improve the starting eleven.

Mike Ashley, and Mike Ashley alone, has pulled the plug, to blame Lee Charnley is like ringing up a call centre to complain when your gas & electric supplier puts their prices up.

Ashley says he doesn’t have access to significant amounts of cash but that is laughable, whenever he wants to speculate in a part of his retail (and property etc etc) empire then he finds the cash.

Two years ago, The Telegraph (see below) reported that Mike Ashley had personally funded a property deal in London to the tune of £200m. Saying he did it through his personal holding company ‘Mash Holdings’, which Newcastle United is a part of and which includes his shareholdings in various companies, including the 100% of NUFC.

Huddersfield are outspending Newcastle this summer almost certainly by using some of the cash they will be receiving this season due to participation in the Premier League, the club relying on their owner(s) putting the cash up in advance, or loaning it through normal commercial means – they won’t be alone in doing this.

Mike Ashley could do the same using either route, by raising cash himself or using his financial muscle to loan the money at preferential commercial rates for Newcastle United.

Or what about something even more radical, such as Sports Direct actually paying for the massive free promotion they get from NUFC.

People don’t quite realise just how valuable this is, it doesn’t just equate to a ‘few’ advertising hoardings at St James Park.

Every signing sees photographers having to use a backdrop including Sports Direct, any footage taken at the training ground has SD at its most prominent, not forgetting Rafa and his players were sent to do a promotional visit at a Sports Direct store in Dublin during pre-season.

In 2016 the club announced that Sports Direct would start paying a market rate for these previously free services, only to then seemingly indicate earlier this year (April 2017) that this is not now going to happen.

Most rich owners desperately strive to get more money into their clubs, Mike Ashley does everything to starve Newcastle United of funds.

Imagine if Sports Direct paid £10m/£15m this summer for the services NUFC will supply this season, enough to then buy Lucas Perez or some other striker who might score goals as well as Dwight Gayle?

Even more radical, just imagine backdating that for the previous 10 years and also chuck in something for when Ashley renamed St James Park the SD Arena for nothing (to the club).

Football is a business as we are often reminded and as Mike Ashley fully knows, businesses at times need investment at the start/a certain point to get things going. Newcastle United are no different, the squad needs urgently strengthened now, then in a year’s time it may need a lesser amount spent to build on that.

Gambling on Newcastle maybe just staying up and then thinking that at least if they don’t he will have money then to fund another promotion campaign, isn’t how he runs the rest of his business empire.

Newcastle United desperately need an owner who is ambitious for the club to succeed on the pitch, with a long-term plan of how this can be funded, with a skilled person relied on to implement that plan and spend the cash wisely.

Needless to say, we have one of those three in place but clearly no chance of the other two happening any time soon/ever.

With these quotes today we surely now can have no doubts that Mike Ashley is actually enjoying this, all of these people (Newcastle fans) who caused him grief and embarrassment and now he is loving the fact that he’s taken them to a point where it looked better times ahead, only to then open the trapdoor.

Mike Ashley – 11 August 2017:

“It’s Newcastle United, it does not have a £40m a year stadium naming rights deal.

“I don’t want fans to watch this and think that’s great he’s getting £150million in the morning, he is not.

 “I’m nowhere near wealthy enough to compete with clubs like Manchester City.

“I don’t have the ability to write a cheque for £200m.

“In theory I’m a multi-billionaire but in reality my wealth is like wallpaper, it is all in Sports Direct shares.

“I don’t have that cash in the bank.

“People on the outside looking in, think in wealth terms those funds are in the bank.

“They’re not. I am nowhere near wealthy enough.

“Basically, it’s a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not.

“Rafa makes all the final decisions, Lee answers to Rafa, we are crystal clear.

“He (Rafa) makes decisions on players out, players in – but he has to do it with the money the club have.”

The Telegraph – 19 April 2015:

‘Mike Ashley has moved into London’s luxury property market by backing a deal to redevelop a storage depot in west London.

The Sports Direct founder is understood to have funded a £200m deal to buy the Clearings in west London from department store chain John Lewis.

The Clearings is a storage depot in the heart Chelsea, but the site has planning permission for a luxury residential development comprising of 62 flats and seven townhouses.

The site has been bought by property developers Citygrove and McLaren. By providing the funding for the deal, Mr Ashley is in line to bank hundreds of millions of pounds from a development that could be worth £900m when it is finished.

Mr Ashley is thought to have backed the deal through his holding company Mash Holdings.

The latest results at Companies House show profits for Mash Holdings more than doubled from £256m to £543m in the year to April 30, 2014.

This surge in profits was driven by Mr Ashley selling down his majority stake in Sports Direct. The accounts for Mash Holdings show Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, raised £283m by selling off shares in the FTSE 100 high street retailer.’



  • Biggs Darklighter

    It is ironic that the fat tyrant mentions commercial revenues given the huge handicap his ownership and free sports direct advertising places on our club. He needs to go now, if we don’t get rid of him we will have another 10 years of underachievement

  • ToonNL

    “Every penny the club generates he can have… but it won’t generate enough. Newcastle United does not have a £40m-a-year stadium naming rights deal”

    Ah so there’s the rest of that sentence. I’ve been wondering for months where exactly the but lay…

    • Mark Potter

      Really? You didn’t know there was a limit on what the club generates? There is no money tree in Leazes Park.

  • Jimblag23

    This man is truly scandalous.
    Rafa will be gone quick shot.
    Possibly he may relish the challenge to see what he can do with no money, no other top manager has ever pitted themselves against such odds in the PL.

    The only hope is that this is all orchestrated with Rafas knowledge so as to not be taken to the cleaners by selling clubs.
    0.001% of me believes that though.

    This Mike Ashley programme on Sunday may be explosive, I could imagine it being a car crash and Rafa gone the next day.

    • Mark Potter

      But he has got money, Rafa said so. Including enough to buy Lucas Perez. The only limit he mentioned is we definitely couldn’t afford a £25m player, and probably couldn’t afford the wages of a £20m player.

      We have a minor problem with the squad – 25 (the maximum allowed) adult players given squad numbers. But last August we moved on 8 players, including Krul, Riviere, Saivet etc. I see no reason to doubt that some of those given squad numbers today will be gone before the squad has to be confirmed, on the day following deadline day. Haidara, Colback and Saivet should be gone, and that frees up three adult places in the squad.

      Any under 21s brought in, don’t count. I believe that applies to Kenedy.

  • Waxi

    The fat man will put 200 million into a property deal as he knows in the big city his investment will sell for ten times that. Football on the other hand is a big risk and people lose a lot of money so either he sells up to another billionaire who does not mind losing a bob or two or the next ten year will be the same as the last.

    • Dagga

      Exactly, and I’m sure he would sell up if the price was right but there doesn’t seem to be anybody chomping at the bit to jump into his shoes. He’s not doing anything different to most of the other clubs in the division bar the big 6 or 7 clubs, but people here think we are Newcastle Utd so we should be spending big just like them. Our fall from grace came before Ashley came on the scene and yes he hasn’t proven to be the great saviour everyone wanted but at least he isn’t bankrupting the club and despite the many moronic ill conceived rants of people on this site and others he isn’t asset stripping the club either. If we can stay in the premier league and retain the services of Rafa Benitez or some other premium manager then in 3 to 4 years then we could be challenging to break into that top 5 or 6 but that is a big ask as the so called better managers want relatively limitless budgets to work with.

      • Biggs Darklighter

        This sort of ignorance is what got us relegated. Football never works with a long term plan. The football world is evolving too quickly. The club should be investing some of the coming seasons TV revenue now, and sports direct should be paying for the advertising they get. By thinking ‘long term plan’ we keep missing the boat.

        The fat tyrants quote about bolting the horse onto the cart sums him up. He thought he could bring in players on the cheep and then add a manager (mcClaren) to bring success. What he should have done was back Keegan. Had he backed Keegan, we would be competing with the big boys. Likewise the time to invest is now, back Rafa and he will bring success. Success for us on the pitch, and success for the fat man in multi million pound transfer sales and to revenue.

        Ashley needs to go, he just doesn’t get it.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      Or we get rid of him permenantly

  • magpiefifer

    Ashley’s comments are at best disingenuous,at worst lies – and I know which category I would put them under!
    Does he really think that NUFC fans are totally stupid!?
    His remarks about Man City/stadium naming rights etc are so ridiculous that only the gullible (Sky Sports!?) would be taken in.Anyone can see the Sports Direct advertising splashed all over SJP (and Benton etc) – therefore denying any revenue source from a legitimate sponsor.
    I am so angry at the antics of this ‘barrow boy’ who thinks he can do what he likes – and shortchanges the Newcastle United supporters with his financial straightjacket.
    This interview just reinforces my reasons for not attending SJP and I will not be there until Ashley disappears.
    How long Rafa will put up with this scenario I can’t say,but I’m very surprised that he is still our manager.

    • Clarko

      The Sports Direct advertising is a result of the interest free loan (~£129m) payed to Newcastle by Ashley and companies under his control (Sports Direct). As Newcastle are not a “big” club we cannot attract “big” stadium sponsors, right now it’s more financially sensible to keep the “free” Sports Direct advertising rather than sell that space and have to begin repaying the loan.

      • BadMag

        So the loan is being paid off each season then?

        it must be almost gone now then?

        • Clarko

          No, I don’t no where you are getting that idea from.

        • Clarko

          I didn’t specify that the advertising is the result of the loan being interest free. None of the loan has been paid back.

          • BadMag

            Sounds about right for our disgusting overlord, any toon fan who defends his actions is a Makem

          • Clarko

            What is disgusting about loaning the club ~£129m interest free? What is disgusting about not forcing the club to repay that loan?

          • Marveauxless

            In the last 6 years Newcastle have turned a profit of around £100,000,000 after tax; our net spend on transfers over that same period is around £40,000,000 and yet Newcastle’s debt to Ashley has increased over that same period. Where is all of that profit going? Why are we in more debt now than when he took over despite the club being in a much better position financially?

          • Clarko

            I assume you’re getting these numbers from Swiss Ramble? If so those numbers are from the 10/11 season to the 14/15 season, selectivity ignoring the relegation in 08/09 and the subsequent season in the Championship 09/10 and the recent relegation in 15/16 and the following Championship season in 16/17 which have huge negative financial implications. There is also the £93.26m net spend we had in 15/16 which would not have been included if you are indeed taking your numbers from the Swiss Ramble article.

          • Marveauxless

            Not at all, all of this information is available from Deloitte
            2011: + £33 million
            2012: + £1 million
            2013: + £10 million
            2014: + £19 million
            2015: + £32.4 million
            2016: + £4.6 million
            Total: £100 million

            Net Transfer Spend:
            2010-11: minus £24 million
            2011-12: + £11.6 million
            2012-13: + £13.5 million
            2013-14: minus £19 million
            2014-15: + £17.2 million
            2015-16: + £73 million
            2016-17: minus £30 million
            Total: £42.3 million

            TheMag doesn’t allow you to post links in the comments but this information is all readily available with a quick google

          • Clarko

            Again the reasoning is still the same, you are selectively ignoring the relegation in 08/09 and the subsequent season in the Championship 09/10 and the Championship season in 16/17 which have huge negative financial implications.

            Operating Profit:

            2005: minus £7.5m
            2006: minus £11.4m
            2007: minus £26.0m
            2008: minus £24.7m
            2009: minus £37.7m
            2010: minus £33.5m

            Total: minus £140.8m

          • Marveauxless

            I’m not ignoring last season’s financial results; Newcastle made a profit of £4.6 million last season in the Championship.
            And again, where is that £100 million profit going? It hasn’t been spent on repaying external debt because there is none; it hasn’t been spent on repaying Mike Ashley; there have been no major redevelopments at the club and only 40% of it has been spent on transfers.
            It is impossible to operate with a minus £40 million overdraft, prior to 2011 the club would have maintained a neutral/positive cashflow and balance with loans and bonds, all of which are now owed to Ashley. The money hasn’t been used to bring the bank balance back into the black because it was never in the red; a club cannot function with 0 liquid assests

          • Clarko

            The accounts for the Championship season 16/17 have not been released, so you cannot know the operating profit after tax.

            Operating losses/profit after tax under Ashley:
            2007: – £34.2m
            2008: – £20.3m
            2009: – £15.2m
            2010: – £17.1m (Phrasing “overall loss for the year after player trading”) 2011: – £3.9m
            2012: + £1.4m
            2013: + £9.9m
            2014: + £18.7m
            2015: + £32.4m
            2016: + £4.6m
            Total: -£23.7m

            Sources: Newcastle United official website, Swiss Ramble – Newcastle United’s Finances In Black And White, Swiss Ramble – Newcastle United – What A Waste, Swiss Ramble – Newcastle United – In A Rut.

          • Marveauxless

            My mistake but still in 2010 our operating profit was -£140 million. Today it stands at -£40 million yet our total debt is exactly the same as it was 7 years ago, so I ask again where has that £100 million went?

          • Clarko

            You’ve lost me. We have a net loss under Ashley, there is no “£100 million”.

          • Marveauxless

            In the last 7 years we have made £100 million profit. That money does not vanish into thin air just because you have made a net loss over a longer period of time, it has to go somewhere; usually it goes to paying the debt one has accumulated during the period of loss accumulation however this cannot be the case with Newcastle United as the club debt remains the same as in 2010. Where are these liquid assets held?

            The total net loss under Ashley is significantly lower than it was 7 years ago yet the club’s financial obligations remain exactly the same as they were 7 years ago. This is mathematically impossible in a closed system unless the profits of the last 7 years have been removed from the club.

            Equity = Assets – Liabilities
            If your assets increase and your liabilites remain the same then it is impossible for your total equity to remain the same, yet somehow this is the case with Newcastle

            Say you owed your friend £140. You then earn £100, spend £40 on food, etc and you have £60 left over. What do you do with that £60? You can give it to your friend to reduce your total debt to £80, you can spend it on fixing up your house or you can put it in the bank to keep for yourself.
            Now clearly Newcastle have not given that money to “their friend” to reduce their total debt, nor have they spent it on improving the club’s facilities and Ashley says the club’s accounts are empty so where has that £100 (million) went?

          • Clarko

            You’re wrong, in “the last 7 years” Newcastle have made £30.8m profit after tax (using the numbers from 2009-2016 i stated above), that is selectively ignoring the 2017 accounts (as well as the 2007 and 2008 accounts) which are yet to be released (but will be negative).

            You’re ignoring cash balances (cash in the bank), previous external loans, gross debt, net debt, ect. It’s all in equilibrium, from 2014 to 2015 our net debt was cut £14million from £95million to £81million, that was a result of our cash at bank increasing from £34million to £48million. Our Gross debt remaining the same at £129million. It’s all accounted for, read the Swiss Ramble articles.

          • Biggs Darklighter

            Precisely

          • Clarko

            See my reply to see why that comment is invalid.

          • Biggs Darklighter

            What is disgusting about only giving Rafa £17m to spend this summer?

            What was disgusting in Ashley’s treatment of Keegan?

            What was disgusting about Ashley’s treatment of Shearer?

            What was disgusting about giving us J.F.Kinnear?

            What was disgusting about not investing when we finished 5th?

            What was disgusting in Ashley’s treatment of Chris Houghton?

          • Clarko

            Newcastle have spent £33.12m this summer, the transfer window is still open.

          • Zin

            So i lend you £100 I want to plaster your garden with adverts for lending you that £100, you are not allowed to pay that £100 back you have to keep the advertising for as long as I want.. Then i want the £100 back.. deal?

          • Clarko

            Make that £129m and we have a deal.

          • Guest 2

            Gee – if we had to repay then the ‘loan’; might actually have reduced over the previous 10 years! Instead, when fatty does actually move on, he will get every penny back as it is a club debt, not his.
            Go figure!

          • Clarko

            So you would rather have money taken out of the club every season?

      • Biggs Darklighter

        And you believe this? Much of that debt was racked up through relegation, who should pay for that? He should, it was his flipping fault entirely!

        • Clarko

          I don’t understand your point. The £129m worth of debt was a result of past ownership, Ashley and companies under his control repaid that debt when he bought the club.

      • Zin

        A loan is not interest free if you pay for it with advertising doh

        Unless the loan is getting smaller?

        well?

        • Clarko

          Again, the loan is technically interest free, Sports Direct receive advertising as a result. The alternative is having interest, the debt increases, forcing Newcastle to pay the loan back and taking money out of the club.

      • magpiefifer

        Defending the indefensible,as usual!

        • Clarko

          Ignorant.

          • magpiefifer

            What a very incisive self-description.!!!

          • Clarko

            Good one 👍🏾

      • Guest 2

        Wrong. Very wrong! SD have not provided a single penny to NUFC. Their shareholders have however benefited much.

        • Clarko

          Official club statement:

          “Term loans from the owner, Mike Ashley, and companies under his control, remained unchanged at £129.0m and continue to be interest-free.”

          • Guest 2

            So? MASH was the vehicle used for the ‘loans’. Nothing whatsoever to do with SD, a PLC.

          • Clarko

            Companies Act 2006: Certain transactions between the company and its directors which were previously prohibited by law have become lawful subject to the approval of shareholders (for example, loans from the company to its directors).

          • Guest 2

            WTf you rambling on about? SD have never contributed a single penny to NUFC. Free advertising and a stitched up merchandising deal they benefit from though.End of.
            Tell me, who are the ‘shareholders’ of MASH and MASH BETA?

          • Clarko

            I brought up the Companies Act 2006 as a pathway for Sports Direct loaning Mike Ashley money, which in turn can be used for Newcastle United, thus explaining the official club statement and Sports Direct’s involvement with the club.

            Educate me on MASH and MASH BETA and why the above is wrong, evidence and articles would also be appreciated.

  • Naked Geordie

    Smoke and mirrors my dear friends. The market is massively inflated at the moment and we aren’t going to over pay for any player. so by saying we don’t have much money to spend will stop us, from being forced to pay over the odds. That’s one theory anyway

    • Jimblag23

      Ahh, someone else with that theory. I’d contemplated that.
      I doubt it though.

    • Steve Smith

      The market is only going one way. The prices will not fall until the tv money does.

  • Burt Humperdink

    I was always under the impression that the owner couldn’t put their own money into it anyway? I would love to know how the PSG ownership can explain the £200m spent on Neymar when Ligue 1 doesn’t even get the big TV deals.

    I tend to agree with consensus there are some mad fans who think we should be challenging top 6 when it is a different time now. With 2 oil baron owners and Man Utd having a built in system that guarantees them way more capital. Those fans are deluded and a part of the problem.

    But we could at least compete with mid table sides. Heck to be precise if we brought in Perez (13m), Kenedy (loan) and a central midfielder like Delph (£12m) for an additional outlay of about £25m. Then moved on Hanley, Krul, Saivet and Riviere for about £6m total most fans would consider it a sensible window.

    • Dagga

      Agreed but the problem is the deadwood are on over inflated wages and although one or two of the mid table clubs have broken their transfer records in this window you are only talking in the high teens early twenties of millions and that is despite having a much bigger slice of TV money than we have at present. But many on here think nothing of gambling £20-30million of someone else’s money. Yes Ashley found £200million for an investment but I bet he didn’t pay in suitcases full of notes. Its all just theoretical money being transferred around on banking systems. In the land of football the greedy agents will require hard cash so you have to have the funds pretty much at the ready.

      • Biggs Darklighter

        He sold the shares for CASH!! What else do you think he got for them? Bananas? Wake up man, he is ripping the club off and has been for 10 years.

    • Biggs Darklighter

      That won’t happen though. The way these clubs are getting the finance in is through inflated corporate sponsorship.

      NUFC will generate income similar to the top clubs from TV and gate receipts but on the corporate side we fall way behind. We are actually disadvantaged as much of the corporate revenue we could be generating goes to sports direct in the form of free advertising. This is the only reason we can not compete, and that reason IS Mike Ashley.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Yes,were the polar opposite, we’ve got deflated corporate sponsorship.

  • Stephen West

    Happy days!

  • The Newt

    The state of this club makes me so sad.

    None of us have unrealistic expectations anymore, all we want is to compete at slightly above the relegation zone. For those saying we can’t compete with mid-table PL clubs…we were in the prem for EIGHT seasons before relegation in 15/16. How come so many of those seasons were relegation scraps, and we rarely (if ever) splashed the cash as much as teams like West Ham and Stoke?

    I feel sorry for everyone who signed up for season tickets. There was enough hope and optimism that we would push on this year and have a positive season (no need for £200m to progress and stay up, just 3 or 4 key players with all that built up prem money and big transfer fees for Siss, Gini etc)…but 2 days before game 1, with tens of thousands of season tickets sold…we finally get the truth. He has well and truly taken every fan for a mug once again.

    Our one hope is Rafa, but I wouldn’t blame the man for leaving.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      No need for £200m but the likes of Man City can literally steamroller deals. We’ve just lost out on Kayode with City waving a wad of cash at the last minute. It’s frustrating for the board.

      • The Newt

        It’s a crazy market, but we haven’t purchased a player for close to 12 months…so i’m sure our list of potential targets should be very very long, regardless of setbacks. Regardless of how things are in the market, the owner and board have shown contempt for the fans by allowing this interview a day before the first game ot the season. He obviously has an agenda for giving the interview, it’s his third in 10 years of being owner. He doesn’t exactly talk to the fans on twitter every day about things, he just pushes his message out when it suits him.

        I’ve seen you defending what he’s done for the club, and yeah maybe he has put money in. But maybe he hasn’t, and the free advertising etc is all worth money in a less tangible way. We will NEVER understand exactly what he’s done, so there is little point arguing the toss on that. But nobody is stupid enough to run a football club thinking that they’ll not have to spend some cash; if he didn’t know that then he’s not as smart as we all think, but he could have sold the club many times over if he decided it wasn’t for him (i doubt he would have sold at a loss, but he could afford £100m if he really hated being owner).

        Ashley is a ruthless businessman, he knew what he was doing when he bought NUFC. The amount of free press he, and subsequently his trash shops have gained from being associated with a football club has done him pretty well i’d say.

  • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

    Only NUFC could have a skint ‘billionaire’ as an owner, glad I stopped going and he won’t get a penny of my cash. Can’t work out how The Mag can criticise fans as gullible, I presume they mean people who go the match? Bit unfair as they get turned on by constant articles about our great crowds and attendances yet criticise them in articles like this.

  • Leicester Mag

    The usual toxic mix of smoke / mirrors with a dash of crocodile tears. Club appologists can dress this up whichever they choose but the stark reality is that there is no positive future under Ashley. A future yes but one perpetually in Limbo, little more than an advertising board for the temple of tat. Welcome to amoral naked capitalism at its finest.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Nothing wrong with capitalism.

      • Leicester Mag

        I suppose then in the name of capitalism you see no issue with modern slavery? just one end of the spectrum perhaps? Capitalism in general works but unfettered capitalism is as flawed and wrong as any other extreme

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I don’t think we are talking slavery here. The idea of Rafa in chains can only be a metaphor

          • Zin

            Makem troll

      • Guest 2

        Plenty, if it spawns appeasing parasites like you.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Entrepreneurs is the word. People who create wealth and employment with innovation, nothing else can do that (apart from war but that’s messy)

  • heretickle

    He wants Rafa to walk. Plain and simple.His ego will not accept a personality bigger than his at St James Park. How could he ever stomach or tolerate Keegan, Shearer or Rafa when he expects to treat all staff members as if they work for Sports Direct.

    • Guest 2

      Exactly. he’s like our own Trump.

    • Jezza

      I agree. I believe Ashley is intent on constructively dismissing Rafa the same way he did with Kevin Keegan. I also believe the trigger for this attempted constructive dismissal occured in the Thornton Heath area of South London on 22nd December last year.

  • Biggs Darklighter

    “Mike Ashley, and Mike Ashley alone, has pulled the plug, to blame Lee Charnley is like ringing up a call centre to complain when your gas & electric supplier puts their prices up.”

    Pretty much sums it up.

    If Rafa ends up going it has to be all out war on Ashley.

    • Zin

      Well said man

    • Mark Potter

      War? Get some perspective. You don’t kill people and bomb buildings over whether the club can afford to buy another striker.

      By all means, wave your sheets with illiterate messages for TV to show what knuckle draggers we have as “fans”, but don’t be surprised when most people ignore you. It didn’t work before, it won’t work again. 40,000 people bought season tickets because they want to go to the games and support their team. They don’t want to stand outside near the Metro, shouting abuse at people as they walk past.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Newcastle owner makes frank admission about Rafa Benitez’s transfer funds

    Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has admitted he is unable to compete financially with clubs like Manchester City, meaning Rafa Benitez does not have enough money to spend in the transfer window.

    Newcastle boss Benitez has cited his frustration at the club’s transfer dealings, despite assurances from Ashley that he can spend every penny the club generates from returning to the Premier League this season.

    Ashley – speaking in a rare and exclusive interview with Sky Sports that will air on Sunday – understands the Spaniard’s unhappiness at not being able to land his preferred targets this summer, but says he is simply not able to compete financially with the biggest clubs in the Premier League.

    “If you said to me I am wealthy – in theory I am a billionaire or maybe a multi-billionaire – but in reality my wealth is all in Sports Direct shares,” Ashley said.

    “As I said the other day, it is like wallpaper. I don’t have that cash in the bank so I don’t have the ability to write a cheque for £200m. I don’t have it, it’s simple.

    “I would have to sell the Sports Direct shares to fund that. The way it is sometimes portrayed in wealth terms is as though it is in the bank, it’s not.

    “And I have to make it clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Man City and others where it is a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries. I cannot and I will not.”

    Ashley would like to give his manager more funds to strengthen his squad, but says the club does not generate enough money at present, meaning Benitez has to spend within Newcastle’s means.

    Asked whether Benitez has enough funds this summer, Ashley said: “Not enough, it’s very simple, it’s not enough. Rafa knows that and it’s not a secret.

    “Every penny the club generates he can have, but it won’t generate enough. Newcastle United does not have a £40m-a-year stadium naming rights deal.

    “I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great Rafa is getting £150m in the morning’ – he’s not.

    “Rafa has [managing director] Lee Charnley’s help. And Lee Charnley answers to Rafa and not the other way around, let’s make that crystal clear. Rafa makes all the final decisions on players out and players in but he has to do it with the money the club has

    • Steve Pearce

      So the point of this is?

      Well all I can say is that you must taste Mike Ashley’s breakfast before he does,,,,

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        The point was to quote the actual interview rather than read Jim’s rather stupid take on it. Take a look, the video of the interview is there to see

        • Zin

          The interview was embarrassing and aimed at Rafa, Sky sucked up to him and didn’t ask a single question that the fans want answering.

          you are nothing more than a makem troll, coming on here and sticking up for a parasitic owner

    • Guest 2

      Funny, when SD floated he suddenly had cash in the bank to spend on buying us. He’s now worth considerably more but now can’t access it? Appeaser.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        That’s because he rather cashed in his chips at the floatation of SD. That’s who it works!

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Jim, what a pathetic article, this came out yesterday and I wondered why the Mag hadn’t posted it but it took you guys all this time to put a negetive spin on it.

    So Mike Ashley invested in some property a couple of years ago? So what? If it comes good he may have more cash to invest but it’s still being built and will be 2020 before it’s generating cash.

  • Jamie Paling

    This ‘let’s blame mike Ashley for every single bad thing that ever happens’ is getting boring.
    I’m not saying he hasn’t got a lot to answer for but the bloke can’t do anything right.
    He met with Rafa Benitez in may, Rafa came out of that meeting happy enough with whatever figures were promised for buying and wages because he stayed. I think he’s getting what was promised but the reality is the markets mental and what would of bought 5-6 first team players 2-3 years ago will get you one or two now.
    Newcastles biggest problem is that Lee charnley doesn’t seem to be able to get deals over the line which ultimately will be what frustrates Rafa.
    Why are we going to into meltdown before a ball is kicked? This is exactly what the media want from Newcastle, a roller coaster club in crisis because the fact is the club gives them f*ck all to feed on now.
    Rafa has never said that he’s not getting the money promised to him, he’s just saying that they’ve missed out on a lot of players but they’ll keep trying.
    There’s 2-3 weeks left in the window, Rafa will sort it.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Pull your head out your A$$

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Micky, learn some longer words, it’s like having the village idiot in my phone.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          A$$HOLE

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            That’s right Micky love, stay in character

          • Zin

            Makem troll

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Jim, you wrote this: “Imagine if Sports Direct paid £10m/£15m this summer for the services NUFC will supply this season, enough to then buy Lucas Perez or some other striker who might score goals as well as Dwight Gayle?”

    Imagine what the city regulators will say, a majority shareholder in sports direct steamrollers his minority shareholders into an over-valued contract with a football club that shareholder happens to 100% own!!!!!!

    Jim, think things through for gawd’s sake.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      That`s a load of Shyte Blobby

      💩💩💩💩💩💩

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I don’t expect you to understand Micky Love

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          i understand ok you piece of 💩

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Clever

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Keep telling yourself that Micky love, of course you understand, it’s not beyond you at all.

          • Randomer1

            That wouldn’t happen bobbi because £10-15m for full naming rights isn’t over-valued! If anything it’s undervalued!
            The only thing over-valued is sports directs shares due to the amount of free publicity they get via NUFC. Perhaps the city regulators should investigate that instead… 🤔

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It’s hard to argue that. Wonga’s sponsorship deal at £8m p.a. included naming rights of the ground, it’s hard to suggest naming rights alone are now £15m.

            Would you buy shares in a company where the majority shareholder can steamroller bad deals through which favour his own companies?

          • Zin

            They dont pay for advertising and you endorse that…
            Makem troll

          • Mark Potter

            You don’t know they don’t pay for advertising. It’s an assumption made by the Mag.

            But here’s the thing. Newcastle make more money from commercial sources than Swansea, for example. Is someone at Swansea getting “free” advertising? Not to my knowledge. So the total value of the advertising that Swansea gets must be less than their total commercial income. Probably much less, if Swansea do things like hire their facilities for weddings, company events, concerts. Newcastle made nearly £0.5 million from the Kings of Leon concert alone, for example. So non-sponsorship might account for a big proportion of commercial income right?

            Swansea’s commercial income in the last year they published accounts (2015-16) shows three amounts of:

            Commercial (sale of goods) £3m
            Commercial (services) £4.5m
            Other (services) £3m

            Sale of goods will be replica shirts etc. All of the stadium advertising/sponsorship deals must come within Commercial services, and be less than £4.5m per year.

            Do the maths. Average premiership players now receive more than that in wages every year. It’s a small amount in the overall finances.

            This is the problem with Ashley haters, they cannot get it into any sort of reasonable perspective what the advertising is worth, if he is indeed getting it “free” and we ignore the interest free loans as a quid pro quo arrangement. It is so small that it is difficult to make any reasonable case that Newcastle are any worse off financially because of it than Swansea or Stoke, West Ham, Crystal Place etc. The figures show our commercial income is actually higher than their’s.

            Plus it flies in the face of evidence that this is something that goes on in other clubs. Stoke is actually owned by Bet365, is their logo not prominent in their stadium etc.? And Wigan were owned by the owner of JBB Sports, and renamed their ground to the JBB Stadium. Since renamed to the DW Stadium, after Dave Whelan set up a new company called DWSportsfitness.

            With such apparently small commercial income at Swansea etc. How do they survive, and compete for players with Newcastle? Swansea received only £7.5m from match day income, but a massive £79m (about 80% of their total income) from the Premier League and the media deals with Sky. It’s that money which is important to all clubs outside of the top group. Sponsorship deals/stadium naming rights/advertising are small change for them. Even the additional income generated from 52,000 attendances makes little difference. Newcastle has an overall income (if we remain in the Prem) not much higher than Bournemouth and Burnley.

          • Zin

            TLDR

            Sports Direct DO NOT pay for all the advertising they said last year they were going to then we heard nothing more

          • Mark Potter

            It said in the 2015 accounts that Newcastle United provided advertising to Sports Direct and that this was free. It said that in future this would be paid at commercial rates. In the 2016 accounts it was also mentioned that the club provided advertising to SD. But it didn’t say this was free.

            You can read into this, as the Mag claims, that it must be free because the amount paid is not spelled out. Or you can accept that accounting rules don’t require inter-company transactions within the same group to be itemized, and that money was paid, else the company auditors would have insisted that the Director made it clear in the notes to the accounts that the advertising was still free.

          • Guest 2

            Did the minority SD holders vote on all of Ashley’s purchases???

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Not the one’s in his personal name. SD did lend Rangers some money but the spin off was favourable to SD.

    • Zin

      Makem troll

  • Steve Pearce

    There is one simple solution – simply sell our club to someone who has both the money to make an offer he can’t refuse and the money to buy the players we need. The alternative, should Rafa be forced out by this penny-pinching will be an empty stadium. How much longer are we going to be insulted by this disgusting beer swilling barrow boy who has the morals of the gutter. Most of we fans are hard working people who cannot even afford to attend a match and we are being kicked in the face by this human slug. Enough is enough! It is time for a radical and proactive fan’s group to be formed that are not sad and empty dreamers – are you reading this NUST?. A fan’s group that comprises members of the business community, local councillors and MPs and other persons of interest as well as ordinary fans. In fact I will take the liberty of suggesting two names of likely MPs – Ian Mearns from Gateshead and Chi Oneruha (I’m sorry if I’ve got the spelling wrong) who I know to be passionate fans. When you have a country run by a greedy dictator who tramples on the people’s basic rights there is a revolution so can’t we as a club, as fans, as a city and its people unite and force a regime change. Believe you me I would donate all my time and energy to make this happen – all I need is YOU!

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      In fairness Ashley provides some of the most affordable football in the division (for the hard working people who can’t afford to go)

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        F””king Moron

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          To be honest, I didn’t think it was Jim’s best work either.

        • Leazes Ender

          Did he say football, not as we know it…. lashings of thrashings.

      • Zin

        what a sad makem troll you are

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I generally agree with a consortium but please, don’t include the council or Mps, nothing will ever get done and each player signing will be subject to an ethnicity, sexuality and gender diversity appraisal.

      • Steve Pearce

        No – that wouldn’t work. What I am suggesting is a consortium to force regime change, not run the club. So you can tell your good mate Mike that the commies aren’t taking over after all…

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          In which case NO! Come up with a buyer but you can’t force someone out. The idea of a council involved is horrendous. Councils employ the dregs if the willing unemployable, they are not to get involved.

          • Steve Pearce

            This is not the place to air such political views. This is a place where Newastle United fans indeed unite – so keep them to yourself please. For your information I am an ex-Gateshead Council employee who took pride in my hard work keeping our green space’s grass cut and free of litter and none of my work mates were in no way either dregs or unemployable

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I think it was Churchill who said the public sector was the employer of last resort.

            Ironically, you say the commies are coming to drive Ashley out but don’t want to be political.

            In terms of keeping parks and gardens tidy, roads clean etc I don’t have a problem with councils and their staff. The problem is when they try to dabble in lives and business, the people employed in council offices are not up to that sort of thing, basic adding up us beyond most.

          • Steve Pearce

            The commies are not going to drive Mike Ashley out. Incidentally bobbi – you are by far and away the most unpopular commenter on this site and I am never going to waste my time replying to you in future….

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Ahhh ha, the commies aren’t coming but who can force Mike Ashley out. The bank? well they don’t have much owed to them as far as the figures show.

            Only a new owner who buys MA out can take over the show, MA has the right to say no.

            As far as unpopularity, does that matter. Leazes seems to love me, he has pet names for me and everything.

          • Guest 2

            Love to hear you tell people that when you need the Police, Fire Service, or NHS.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            some public sector jobs are required, I’d agree, a lot aren’t. Not really the forum for that, my point is that a football club is not something a local council should be getting involved with.

          • Leazes Ender

            Quotations mean nothing, Churchill never had a job in his life, and denied universal suffrage to those that did work, he was eventually forced into the twentieth century by events not desire but expediency.

          • Guest 2

            This comment of yours sums you up. Jumped up self aggrandising appeasement monkey with nowt but contempt for the ‘dregs’.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Not really, I just think the local council should just get on with the job of keeping the roads clean, streetlights work etc etc, they don’t really do that very well so they shouldn’t be getting involved in complex matters.

    • Leazes Ender

      Why has it taken people so long to wake up to Ashley…. nothing has changed, he positions the club to struggle at tenth…… and this year its fourteenth.

      • Steve Pearce

        Well said Leazes Ender – well we’re certainly waking up now and we’re going to unleash the mother of all nightmares on Mike Ashley!

  • HenrySlade

    I know we can’t compete with the likes of City and Chelsea, but a net spend of £17m is just pathetic.

    Ashley is feeding us a sh*t-sandwich, and now he’s put out a statement saying that there’s nothing else on the menu.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I thought it was Shark Sandwich?

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Sadly we can’t just ignore City as it affected is just this week. Olanrewaju Kayode was pretty much sorted, clubs and players agreed then City got wind of it and blew it out of the water, for what? The player won’t play for City but City know we will not have him.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        QUISLING

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          It would seem so, more likely the agent.

        • Leazes Ender

          He’s not called Quisling…. he’s Called David Lee.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Citeh aren’t worried about us,what are you on about,you’re talkin’ like we’re some sort of serious rival.Get real and out of your Ashley fantasy world.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Of course not but if there is a player city feel they MAY want and we get in the way as in Kayode, then they trample all over us, why else did they do it?

  • Brian Standen

    Jesus. It’s Spurs at home tomorrow and we are still jibing back and forth about Ashley and his Rafa transfer budget or lack of?
    Can we not just look forward to the football?

    • Leicester Mag

      We are talking about because Ashley choose to speak about yesterday. Don’t think for one second he did not calculate the likely reaction. He’s the grand puppet master with 50k people being played with on the end of the string.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Fighting a losing battle, this lots a bunch of Ashleys idiots

        • Zin

          I am shocked that people on here defend him and pontificate his running of the club. Deluded happy clappers

          • Leazes Ender

            Its not a lot of people, its only two of them as far as I can see….. using multi names.

          • Mark Davies

            Hi, can you define a happy clapper as it seems the in phrase on here at the moment for people who go?

            I dont support Ashley at all but I do support the team and cant wait for the season to begin properly when we kick off.

            I would rather do that than pay the monsters at sky who have a lot to do with the state of foootball now.

            You simply cant beat being there and for me that will never change. Its a vile thing that ashley has done to our club but before the halls we were hardly covered in success or glory with amazing owners either.

            All im trying to say is that a lot of us will go no matter who the owner is, westwood, mckeag, etc or how bad we are.

            I just go to support the lads and have a great day out in the greatest city on earth. If that makes me a happy clapper then clap clap clap. Its certainly better than watching in tv or in a pub or even worse, not all all or shopping!!!

          • Leazes Ender

            You are a happy-clappy.

          • Mark Davies

            Great. Then as I said clap clap clap.

            Out of interest what are your plans tomorrow? Will you be feeding sky or not watching at all?

          • Mark Davies

            Great, then clap clap clap United clap clap clap. What are you plans tomorrow as if you arent going can you perhaps change your name to settee ender or fenwicks ender perhaps

    • Mark Davies

      Exactly Brian. Must he something wrong with us looking forward tocthe first match of a new season mate. Fancy dodging it and going shopping with the missus instead to prove we are real fans?

  • East Durham Mag

    Ok Mike We’ll just take your word for that. It’s not like you’ve ever pulled a fast one or lied before is it?

  • Leazes Ender

    Well done Jim….

    Ashley bought the labels ‘Game’ and ‘Agent Provocateur’ as well this year, his money isn’t tied up at all, and you can bet your bottom dollar that cozy journalists are not going to question him properly. No mention of the clubs money which he siphons off or the land he gives away…..

    … No sound from the clubs board either…. which other club can you think of that is run by…..

    TWO ACCOUNTANTS AND TWO SPIN DOCTORS. AND NO FOOTBALL PEOPLE.

    …. and Bob Moncur to face the fans forum.

    • East Durham Mag

      Bob Moncur to fave the fans forum sounds delicious. From club hero to club zero in a few short years.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Moncur has been at the fans forum a few times, pay attention.

        • East Durham Mag

          Hero to zero, employed by Fatty

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      He’s got other businesses, what’s your point?

      Surely by saving the jobs if those at Agent provocateur is socially better than feeding football agents?

      • Leazes Ender

        David …. he has money, he didn’t sell shares to make purchases in new ventures last year….. it’s is barefaced lying.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          How many names do you want to give me? I thought I was a Lib Dem councillor.

          He’s not saying he doesn’t have money, he’s saying the club has to generate its own money.

          • Leazes Ender

            Your brother Kevin gave the game away…. how many names has he got now…. he’s recycling some of them David…. why do you two do this, is it to make yourself popular amongst fans by creating an artificial consensus of opinion or to dodge the flak and create confusion…. ?

            The point is Ashley is lying, he didn’t have to cash in shares in order to purchase companies or buy labels this year, at the same time he refuses to even help the club he owns, imagine if he had put ten million a year pocket money into building the club insead of HAVING to put it in because he relegated it.

            Ashley is an Absentee landlord letting his property rot.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Why would he put £10m in a year. Someone said you have to speculate to accumulate, when does he acumulate?

            I own BT shares, I don’t get asked for £10m a year, they send me a little dividend as my share of spare profits.

          • Leazes Ender

            That isn’t even an argument David, it comes to something when you can’t be bothered to split hairs properly….. have you given up on the Rafalution too?

          • Guest 2

            I’d reckon that’s because BT run a business – unlike Ashley with NUFC who hasn’t created a penny of commercial revenue growth since he arrived.

          • Leazes Ender

            He hasn’t has he…. not a thing.

          • Mark Potter

            Wouldn’t that breach fair play rules? You can’t spend more than you earn. Nor can you take more and more loans, with no intention of paying them back. That situation also makes it harder to sell the club.

          • Zin

            The commercial revenue has plummeted, we are now a yoyo club. Every fact points to Mike Ashley being a parasitic owner who is only interested in advertising his shop, yet you defend him at every chance.

            Makem troll

        • Mark Potter

          He never said he has no money. He said he doesn’t have the money to compete with some of the richest people in the world, who own Man City.

          • Jezza

            It’s not so much that Ashley won’t put his own money into the club, the point is that he won’t even allow the club to re-invest its own transfer profits in new players, or any of the television money or any other revenue the club generates.

      • Guest 2

        “Saving jobs’? Oh get over yersel, man! Like he did with USC? Ran up debts, didn’t pay them, closed down then rebought it and laid off the staff.

        • Mark Potter

          There are half a dozen Directors of Swansea, as an example, and the club pays them a total of about £860,000 per year. Newcastle United Limited has only one Director (Lee Charnley) and he is paid less than £150,000.

  • Randomer1

    To be fair he doesn’t have to bankroll £200m… Bloomin £15m would do, to buy Perez… Genuinely don’t get why he’s risk relegation again for the sake of one more signing who would almost guarantee survival… 😫😫😫

    • Leazes Ender

      To think Lady May Hall mortgaged her house to help the club…. then of course the Halls helped themselves to the Cash-Cow that is United.

      This guy won’t even try to do anything…. in ten years nothing.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Apart from the £131m he paid for the shares,£129m to restructure the debt, £12m to get us promoted.

        What have the Romans done for us?

        • Soldier

          what a load of rubbish

          • Leazes Ender

            Ashley bought the club then after relegating it through stupidity and neglect had to pay wages to get it back in front of the TV cameras in the form of a loan which he (called a debt to himself)…. twice.

            Relegated twice…..twice….. it was totally avoidable…. going into seasons unprepared was avoidable. Selling good players wasn’t necessary to balance books…..

            Positioning your club at fourteenth is shameful, and Ashleys response…..

            ….’its nuffing to do wiff me guv, I wasn’t even there’!

        • Zin

          When he took over the club was £52m in debt, he has more than doubled it whilst starving the playing side and treating the fans with contempt.
          Oh and he has took an established premier league club and relegated it twice.

          If this is what romans do then we don’t want romans.

          Makem Troll

        • Guest 2

          Even Wonga provides a repayment plan…

        • magpiefifer

          That was his own fault for not carrying out due diligence!!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The £131 was his own fault, I think he could have allowed the club to get to the brink of failure adn taken the shares for very little indeed. The £129m had to be restructures, it was killing the club.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Don’t even mention the Halls in the same breath as this twt.

        • Leazes Ender

          okay

  • 1957

    If Ashley, doesn’t want to personally invest money in the club, via his bank account or by selling shares, that’s his choice and I have no problem with that. Where I do struggle is with the restricted commercial income we have as a result of his relationship with SD. He talks about stadium naming rights, but what company would want to pay a huge fee to effectively take second billing around the stadium to SD.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I think the issue of charging SD is more than offset by interest free loans. Plus, there would be an issue with the city of London.

      • Zin

        bobbi have a think about what you are saying, Mike gets free advertising for sports direct to offset the interest on loans…

        How is this free? if the “free” advertising is offsetting interest then he is paying for it with interest…

        Have you any idea how much it would cost for a decade of free advertising?

        Just how much interest is he charging on his free interest loan?

        What you are saying just makes you sound like a makem troll,
        How can you stand up for a man who has ruined our club?

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I’m not standing up for Douglas Hall.

          The sports direct advertising is worth (2016 figures) about £2m a year. When MA refinance d the debt, the LOWEST interest rate the club was paying was 7.4%, the banks were nervous to roll that over even at those rates. £129m at 7.4% is £9 1/2m a year.

          The ‘free’ part is complicated in that MA I we need nufc but only 55% of sd

          • Leazes Ender

            It was his bloody repayments, he was only saving himself money!

            At the same time giving his companies and labels free advertising…..

            THE CLUB LOSES OUT

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            No, the debt was there and had to be repaid. MA’s error and the think he should be criticised for is paying the Halls and other shareholders £131m. He could have let the club go to the brink and get it for next to nowt in the way Fenway allowed RBS to put G&H in a corner.

      • Guest 2

        Ashley provided the ‘loans’ not bloody SD!

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Yes, I know. I think his strategy is to demonstrate the NUFC advertising is adding value to SD and the more value in SD, the more his shares are worth.

      • 1957

        The point wasn’t about charging SD, that is Ashley’s prerogative as owner of the club and majority shareholder in SD.

        SD though dominates the advertising in the ground so you are unlikely to get other companies putting large amounts of money into the club to take minor billing, big sponsors want prime coverage. The disadvantage Ashley talks about by not having a stadium naming sponsor, is probably one of his own making.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          His argument was that the Sports Direct Arena would flush out sponsors but the fans’ reaction meant that naming rights was something unavailable to NUFC.

          • Mark Potter

            No, I think his argument is, even if fans would “allow” St James Park to be renamed as the Virgin Arena or Bet365 Stadium, that they wouldn’t get £40 million for it. No corporate sponsor will pay that amount of money for a club which isn’t in the top group, vying to win the Premiership and competing to the final stages of the Champions League most years.

            This is easy to prove. Take Ashley out of the equation. Name one club outside of the top few clubs which has a lucrative stadium sponsorship deal. There are none.

            This doesn’t raise a problem about Ashley, but about the fact that the top clubs can generate so much income that they can indefinitely remain top clubs. No-one can challenge them any more. And there is an argument that FFP is intended to ensure that no future John Hall or Jack Walker can come along and pump money into a club to threaten the monopoly of clubs like Man City. Even though that is exactly what Man City did themselves a few years ago.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            No, they wouldn’t [pay that money]. The other point (which you may be making anyway) is that certain clubs are operating under sponsorship of inconvenience. City, Stoke, Leicester and others are all heavily sponsored by their owners to get around FFP.

          • Mark Potter

            Certainly City. Leicester is new to me, but appears to be the case. The owners of the club, a family from Thailand operate through a company called King Power International Limited. And their ground is the King Power Stadium. They admitted to over £14m in advertising and sponsorship in their last accounts, though they don’t say how much of this is paid by King Power. So, this looks to be the most they might get away with in claiming the sponsorship is a commercial arrangement, before coming up against tax laws and FFP rules.

            But interestingly, they had also loaned the club money which they required to pay back, and the club still owed them about £5m in unpaid interest. They were also required to pay £2-3m per year for “management services” to companies related to the owners. So it’s not really very clear that the owners did actually pay alot of money into Leicester.

            It would be like SD paying £10m for advertising, then the club paying MA £10m to repay the loans. Not doing that is pretty obvious the owner is subsidising the club, which is against EUFA rules. It’s also against tax rules for MASH Holdings to just give away it’s money, even to a related company because that would be avoiding UK corporation tax. This is why the loans are in Ashley’s name, not Sports Direct or MASH

            I wonder why some of our fans moan. Do they really want the club to be owned by a family from Thailand? Who also don’t appear to invest heavily in the club – most of it’s income comes from Sky (£95m from £128m).

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Perhaps we could arrange a fans loan? All supporters pledge £260 as a specific loan to buy a player? Repayment based on league position?

    • Leazes Ender

      You don’t even have to do that,to buy out Ashley….. just attach a mortgage repayment to a season ticket in return for a share in the club…. buy as you watch.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Not a bad idea, not exactly going to get the player in this window though.

        You say £100 premium on a season ticket, great idea. Each £100 giving .0000002 of the club (100/ 500,000,000)

        I’ll suggest this to the fans forum

        • Leazes Ender

          I’ll be wors in 200 years…. something has to change!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            £200 then? That will be 100 years or 50years to control it.

          • Leazes Ender

            Something to pass on to future generations.

            Change the law on ownership with a maximum ownership percentage at ten percent.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            That’s all very well but what do you do with those clubs already owned 100 % by an individual. who is going to pay them for their shares? To take MA’s shares off him would mean the supporters coming up with £450m to take the shares off him or do we transfer it all to debt and MA charge interest and repayments?

          • Leazes Ender

            Forced floatation by law.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            So, what happens if there are not enough individual shareholders? You will leave the owner with more than 10% of the shares OR it will be owned by the underwriters.

          • Mark Potter

            So the owners of Swansea, Stoke and Sunderland are forced to change to public limited companies, and anyone, even people not competent, can buy the shares. This doesn’t at all address the issue. Who can afford to buy these shares? Not the ordinary fans. Who should buy the shares? Not the ordinary fans who have no idea how to run a business, and would bankrupt some clubs.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Yeah,I noticed big clubs like Bournemouth, Watford and Huddersfield did exactly that to fund their transfers.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Ha ha, you may need to read about Bournemouth.

        Why would you not do that? 2% interest, better than the bank. It shows intent and essentially it’s forgoing a couple of nights out for the club you love.

        You want the glory at someone else’s expense.

        • Leazes Ender

          What Glory?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Apparently it will come with one decent player, I think you said it or it may have been clever Micky

          • Leazes Ender

            Trophy signings don’t work and neither do Trophy Managers.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’m working on the notion of buying Lucas Perez at £13m. I happen to think that if we just add him, the summer would be a success. Hence, the fans buy him and get paid back with interest.

            It may skew the player of the year vote.

          • Leazes Ender

            Not if his injury record is to go by, hardly a trophy signing.

    • Guest 2

      I Pledge 260 quid to make you disappear, you bean counting appeaser.

  • Mxpx

    Article reads I want the naming rights to the stadium that’s all there is to it if we were getting merch revenue and that wasn’t going through sports direct accounts and we were getting paid for the ads on the stadium the club would be self sufficient I mean clubs with smaller stadiums than us can spend big I fully accept potentially running at a loss but we have an extra million every home game in revenue over those teams if he doesn’t want to spend he should sell

  • Steve Smith

    Nothing Ashley has said is wrong but it’s a smokescreen to detract from the fact that those in the suits have not been doing their jobs well enough.

    Penfold may answer to Rafa and we may not be able to spend as much as Man City or Chelski, but at an absolute minimum Penfold etc should be going to Rafa and setting out how they’re going to generate more income, or create more washable savings that can be invested in the playing staff.

    It seems they’re just content to take their salary and accept the club’s lot.

    • Leazes Ender

      None of them have lifted a finger to push the club forward.

  • Guest 2

    Let’s not forget his other soirees into shares in Debenhams , Game Digital, Goals Soccer and in the US, Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports as well as a stake in The Finish Line. Also the sexy undie company Agent Provocateur (oh the irony!) Nor of course the Gallowgate student development!
    Also the Club stated during last season that SD would finally be paying for advertising. Haven’t heard a squeak more about that.

    • Leazes Ender

      He certainly didn’t take out a Wonga loan.

      And tomorrow he goes on telly to state bare faced that all his money is tied up.

      Pants on Fire.

      • Brian Standen

        For once I agree!

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      So what, I’ve got shares in BT and I splashed out nearly £3,000 last month on a 4×4. BT fans are furious because they want to get a new speaking clock as well as new records for ‘160’.

  • Brian Standen

    Fact is we all know Ashley deals in false promises, he came on tv, promised top 4 and promptly got relegated!
    Now he is saying we can’t compete financially, how can we make top 4 if we can’t compete
    The guy is a lying deluded fool, my point is im fed up with it all.
    Rafa seems determined to give it a go, the team seem happy enough, let’s just get on with the football

    • Andy Mac

      You’re not the only one Brian. Insulting fan’s intelligence is something that Fatman can’t help doing. Presumably he’s still holding a grudge about “You fat cockney bastad, get out of our club ” ?

  • Mrkgw

    I prefer it when Ashley communicates with the supporters rather than us trying to second guess his intentions. But this quote about us not being able to complete and playing down ambitions of the club? Not good. Yes, Man City and Chelsea are massively well subsidised but given were we were during the era of Keegan, Robson, how has it come to this? It’s quite clear that the club has been run into the ground under this regime and its now time that Mr Ashley sold if the task of moving things upwards is beyond his capability. What happened to that so called race horse being attached to the cart? Three legged donkey for us more like.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      You make the point “but given were we were [well subsidised] during the era of Keegan and Robson”, the subsidy ran out and was made worse when we stopped getting into Europe. Ashley’s view is that subsidy cannot go on forever. He has a point but we are still in a market place that even with huge incomes, to compete at the top, you still need an inflated subsidy.

      It’s OK to think that City don’t really affect us but in the last two days, we were in for a player from the Austrian league called Olanrewaju Kayode, a real up and comer, left field signing like Cisse. We had agreement from player and club but Man City came in late, offered daft money and it looks like they are taking him with a view to lending him out to a Spanish side.

    • Jezza

      Nobody expects us to compete with Man City and Chelsea, what I want to know is why we can’t even compete with second division Middlesborough.

    • Kneebotherm8

      One legged donkey more like it.

  • Geordiegiants

    Jabba is a vile human being. He is being interviewed by his chief broadcast ass licker from sky. No uncomfortable questions will be asked, only pre approved propaganda.

    • Leazes Ender

      …..and a payment to the puppet from the wad of notes from his pocket.

      • Geordiegiants

        He hasn’t got any money, short memory Leazes.

        • Leazes Ender

          There’s photographic evidence.

          • Geordiegiants

            Must of been a wide angle lens.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Gosh, just gosh, that’s horrid stuff.

      • Geordiegiants

        Oh golly

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Edited your post I see, rightly so.

          • Geordiegiants

            ???????

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I got the wrong thread, you actually left it which is honest but pretty hideous

          • Geordiegiants

            Hideous. So is the vile cancer that is ripping through our club.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Oh do shut up, don’t compare a football owner to cancer, you horrible little boy. I can’t wait til the schools go back.

          • Geordiegiants

            He is like a cancer running through the veins of our club. The man is vile and deserves what will come to him. (Bad things happen to bad people) It’s not just NUFC and it’s supporters he thinks he can walk over like a peice of sh’t. It’s his whole toxic empire. Everyone including his closest so called allies dispise him.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            silly, silly boy

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            So, you hate a bloke that has created a livelihood for thousands of people and created wealth. Tell me, what is it you do? Fail GCSE’s? you are a rubbish person

    • Mark Davies

      Shouldnt wish anyone to die mate

      • Geordiegiants

        I don’t just want him dead, I hope it’s slow and painful. I want him to suffer like our people, don’t forget Newcastle is a place where everyone’s Mam, Dad, Grandad, Grandma, Auntie, Uncle etc etc support the club. He is purposefully harming our club, our city and our people. I want him to feel the pain of the Geordie nation.

        • Mark Davies

          Thats just plain awful mate. Its football at the end of the day. It means the world to me and everyone else but come on. Death? He isnt a paedo or murderer

          • Geordiegiants

            He is abusing kids, abusing their blind loyalty, and he is murdering our club.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Oh do shut up, you are a vile halfwit

          • Geordiegiants

            A true fan of my club, not an apologist for a parasitic cancer.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Wow, I mean wow, you are one vile chap

  • Cuh736

    Statement at the end of last season was quite clear stating that Rafa will receive every penny generated from players sales. If Rafa understood that, which I assume he did, I wonder why he is angry now. Probably because we haven’t been swift moving on players?

    • Mark Potter

      He’s angry at himself mainly. “We made mistakes” means him and his team of scouts etc. He put his main hopes on securing Tammy Abraham on loan, to avoid paying alot of money on a striker. With the intention of using his budget for strengthening the rest of the squad. He met Abraham personally and thought it was all agreed. Until other people bent his ear about the area, while he was away on international duty, and persuaded him that Swansea was a better place to live. Nothing to do with money. Rafa ranted in one interview about agents, and players’ mothers and fathers getting involved, without being specific. I think he was probably referring to Abraham.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I think two things, firstly you are right, shifting out has been difficult. second is the market has shifted by more than most would expect (even Barcelona!)

      I suspect Rafa also hoped to count the pennies up on 1st September, i.e. buy everyone first and then ship out. I suspect that may have spooked Charnley.

    • Rob Brown

      Surely the statement was that Rafa gets every penny generated by the club, not by player sales

  • Tony denslow

    It’s simple this lie of an interview just goes to prove that he regards us loyal, passionate fans as complete idiots. He needs to disappear before he gets lynched!!!!

    • Mark Potter

      Lynched? You would string him up by a rope and kill him? Because the club can’t afford to buy another striker?

      • Leazes Ender

        Its a figure of speech dozy, not an incitement to murder.

        • Mark Davies

          You’re full of vile and spiteful comments that you then worm out of. Settee ender

          • Mark Davies

            To jezzas comment as a lot keep being removed:

            Well i was born 74 so most matches 82 on i was there kidda. You going tomorrow? By the way im not here to argue just dont see why antone going now when we are dissapointing is a happy clapper but if you went in 80s etc as I did its cool even though it was doing the same under different circumstance. Ie being poor but just going to support and have fun??

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            He’s on the train to Norwich

          • Mark Davies

            Haha. Setteeinsunlunender then

        • Mark Davies

          As my comments keep being removed ill try again. Ahem…can you enlighten us as to where you will be tomorrow? Just if not at the match maybe your name should be settee ender?

          • Jezza

            Where were you in the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when Leazes Ender was going to every Newcastle game?

          • Mark Davies

            Well i was born 74 so most matches 82 on i was there kidda. You going tomorrow? By the way im not here to argue just dont see why antone going now when we are dissapointing is a happy clapper but if you went in 80s etc as I did its cool even though it was doing the same under different circumstance. Ie being poor but just going to support and have fun??

        • Mark Potter

          A nasty figure of speech. Don’t use it, if you don’t want to look like you advocate violence.

        • Rob Brown

          So how is that a figure of speech?

      • MadMag83

        You’d need a strong rope….

  • lata ta birdofpeace

    At the end of the day, the question is about ambition. The professional footballl business model is not equivalent to running a retail enterprise, pastry shop, or newspaper. It is a place for gamblers and risk takers. It is driven by sporting success which may or may not equate to financial success. Those with the aptitude and atitude for this jungle may succed. Those lacking should find another place to use their money.

    • Rob Brown

      Ambition doesn’t keep any club solvent, and to correct you the financial fair play rules have changed the professional football business model so that it now HAS to run like a normal business.
      Its not Roy of the Rovers anymore, and lets not lose track of the fact that the club runs in profit.

  • GToon

    I would imagine most rich owners of clubs have their money tied up in stocks and shares and stuff instead of in their HSBC account. The difference between Ashley and them is that they are prepared to cash their shares in and he isn’t.

    • Rob Brown

      Yeah – tight fisted git!
      120 million in interest free loans and 30 million a year put into the club to cover general running costs.
      How dare he show his face in the stands

      • GToon

        Yeah, I often think just where would we be if it wasn’t for good old Mike Ashley.

  • Stephen Paylor

    When it says Ashley backed the deal for 200 million that doesn’t mean he paid 200 million. That means he secured the loan through a bank.

  • MadMag83

    His excuse still doesn’t explain why Rafa hasn’t been able to spend all of the money received from transfers last year. Nobody is demanding we spend £200m to compete with Man City, but we need to at least be competing with the clubs that we are likely to be fighting for league survival.

  • custurd

    I would imagine a large chunk of that £200 million property investment from “Mash Holdings” was generated by Newcastle United.

    • Rob Brown

      Really?
      Look at the books – over what period of time leading up to 2015 did Newcastle United make 200 million?

      • custurd

        “Look at the books”. Because Charnley et al. are such reliable book keepers? HMRC would disagree with you.

      • HarryHype59

        Are you Fleckman?

  • Desree

    How come other teams are buying everage for astronomical fees. We can’t give our players away. Shows how bad the situation is and Mike Ashley as custodian should take accountability instead of blaming others or making wild exagerrations/comparisons. We are not even asking tge club to compete with watford and bournemouth.

    Argue as much as you want, Ashley is responsible. And I for one am sick of him playing dumb to the cameras and courts. He is a bright bloke, we all know it, stop treating your paying customers with such contempt.

    Rafa has been sold a story and I expect a man of his principles will walk.

    • Rob Brown

      Rafa is tied into a multimillion pound contract. He’s going nowhere.

      If he walks he pays.

      • wheyayeman

        If he walks his new employer pays, Rafa can walk into a bigger contract and more control pretty much anywhere