This summer Mike Ashley has two choices: he either sells the club or he invests in the club. There comes a stage in any business where there is nowhere else to go. I say this as we will be undoubtedly relegated next season (45 points this season) and that is no good for Ashley.

He has to keep the club in the premiership or his free ride is over (ie: pocketing transfer fees, TV and commercial revenues) and most importantly for him the ‘selling value’ of the club. He would personally lose 100 million at a stroke with relegation.

mike ashleyThe get out of jail cards he has used in the last few years have run out;

  • no cheap imports from France any more – the clubs in France have sussed us out and we are clearly unwelcome now. Graham Carr cannot help.
  • Big money sales – he may well get some money for Krul and his money back on Debuchy (I am sure he will try to) but the rest are pretty much worthless. No easy cash there.
  • There is nothing left to cut from the club itself unless the players fail to get their 10th place bonus.
  • Presenting St James as Sports Direct billboard to the Far East or America will look daft with increasingly empty seats and will be irrelevant in 18 months when we are Championship.
  • The trickle of season ticket holders not renewing appears to be growing at an exponential rate – watch the empty seats next season – 35,000 at best.

It hit home hard on Saturday when I saw the team – 2 Ameobis and the useless Marveaux coming off the bench. It is not even if we can blame injuries – we have been lucky and still are compared to most. The fact is the cupboard is bare, everyone knows it including Ashley.

The 5 year plan is coming to fruition – the club is well and truly asset stripped and from this summer onwards is of no use at all to Ashley, as sure as winter follows summer we will get relegated.

We have nearly hit the bottom. He has to sell this summer, or seriously invest, and we all know he has not the will or people in place to do the latter.

Jonnie runs a walking and guiding company in the north of England. Visit his excellent website at Where2walk to find out more

The new issue of our magazine containing Jonnie’s latest monthly column is on sale at all good north east newsagents from Saturday but you can order now online here in The Mag Shop for delivery worldwide today (Thursday), or order a subscription HERE.

 

mag 287