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What does a billion quid look like?

9 years ago

I’ve been wondering what a billion quid looks like for some time now and it seems a  bit like these ‘how old the sun is’ or ‘how far to the other side of the galaxy’ type questions; very difficult for me to get my head around.

With this in mind I thought I’d put my B grade ‘O’ level maths to use and try to come up with a visual representation that I can understand.

I started with the idea of a car because I know what one looks like, so I googled the UK’s most popular car and for 2014 that is the very majestic and entirely suitable for Mr. Ashley’s needs, Ford Fiesta.

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Further research revealed that the 2014 Fiesta is 4.41m long and 1.72m wide.

I couldn’t find exact details of the pitch at SJP but it seems a preferred size for many professional teams (and I’m still including NUFC in that bracket, just) is 105 by 68 metres .

This gives us an area of 7140m2 and with the Fiesta at 7.59m2 Mike can get 940 of them squeezed onto the pitch, bumper to bumper (he’d have to get some of his people to remove the wing mirrors too but hey, no problem, zero hours contracts and all that).

With a bit of wheeling and dealing it looks like a standard FF can be bought, brand new, for just under 11 grand so to simplify matters I’m going to say £10,638 (and 30p) per car as I imagine, if he ever decides to convert his entire nest-egg to small family cars, he’s going to get a pretty keen discount.

Happily, if we multiply that price by the number of cars that can be fitted on the pitch (940) we find that the grass at St James Park can be completely covered in a single layer of brand new Ford Fiestas for exactly ten million quid. That’s slightly less than a Cabella but two Janmaats by the way.

For a Perez you’d need to fill one 18 yard box and the centre circle as well as park a line of cars in the opposite 6 yard box (which could well appeal to Mr Carver as a defensive option if he’s still around when the likes of Man City visit next, although he’d be better advised to choose Transit vans IMHO).

Ten million quid, I hear you say. But that’s a lot of money!

Yes it is to you and me but remember this is about Mr. Mike ‘let’s sell our best players and loan the rest out because we can save money like that and all we need to do is stay mid-table and avoid qualification for Europe to keep reaping the financial rewards of being in the Premiership, isn’t that what the whole point of owning a football club is all about?’ Ashley, who is very interested in money.

So interested in it in fact that he collects it and so far, apparently, he’s managed to collect four billion (4,000,000,000) of it. Pounds that is. Quid, GBP, £££.

Ok, more maths; ten million gets you a single layer of Fiestas at 1.48m thick so by multiplying by 100 to get our billion quids’ worth we arrive at the image of a tightly-packed stack of little cars 148m high.

Now, I wanted an image I could visualise, or at least describe easily so I tried to find a building or landmark in Newcastle that is around 148 m tall. Greys Monument is only 40m tall and The Angel of The North, surprisingly, only 20m tall (both according to Wikipedia).

Then I found out that from the water (watta) in the Tyne to the highest part of the Tyne Bridge it’s 59m.

Not only that, Mikey hasn’t just got one billion quid, he’s got four billion of them which (hang on, more maths-148m x 4) would get him a stack of Ford Fiestas that completely covers the pitch at St. James Park, 592 metres high or, the same height as ten Tyne Bridges one on top of another, as viewed by a trout.

I told you it would be easy to imagine 😉


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