Mike Ashley revealed he was following the Arsenal model at Newcastle United a few years ago.

When Derek Llambias was at the helm at St. James’ Park he claimed that the United owner was copying the Gunners’ blueprint.

Their selective interpretation of the Arsenal model was the bit about buying players who would increase in value, rather than paying for players who were the finished article.

This was always stretching it as speculating £10m or more on Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain when they were still in nappies, was a little different to the kind of budget shopping Ashley was insisting on.

Plus of course the bit about finishing in the top four and Champions League football every season is still to appear.

(To feature like Dean, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

Of course, we have all come to realise that under Mike Ashley his PR machine will simply try and make Newcastle fit the facts afterwards.

United were also said to be copying the Villa model before the Arsenal one but that one was then swept under the carpet.

However, they do occasionally still roll out the Financial Fair Play (FFP) weasel words every so often. Talking as though spending as little as possible in the transfer market while making massive profits is some kind of way to run a model club in line with FFP regulations. There is a massive difference between living within your means and starving a massive club of transfer funds in order to bank big profits, gambling you will stay in the Premier League.

Which brings us to Blackpool. Blackpool????…I hear you say, what on earth have Blackpool got to do with a club like Newcastle United.

Well there is the ‘sharing’ of Wonga as a shirt sponsor, though that isn’t my point.

I would like you to instead cast your mind back to the 2010/11 season.

Newly promoted Blackpool were due to begin their first ever season in the Premier League and Chairman Karl Oyston spoke out about the greed of players, justifying only spending around £5m in transfer fees to try and compete with the top division clubs. Oyston’s moral crusade seeing him declare:

‘Sometimes I think ambition goes out of the window in favour of personal financial gain.”

Against all the odds, Blackpool almost pulled it off. They finished only one point off safety, which no doubt amazed the likes of Karl Oyston and the rest of his family who controlled the club, never expecting this to be anything other than a one season opportunity.

Other clubs of course have approached promotion to the Premier League carefully, the likes of Burnley first time around spent relatively little (*** Though also giving free season tickets to those who had them the previous year in the Championship), as they have done this time again in terms of transfer spend. West Brom have also done this a number of times, being careful with the money and making sure that if they didn’t stay up then they would be in a  powerful position to head back up if they did get relegated.

Blackpool wasn’t anything like this though.

When the accounts were revealed after their one season in the Premier League, it showed their turnover had rocketed from the previous season due to the £39m they received from TV.

The turnover in that Premier League season was £51m and after relegation the Oyston family took £23.5m out of the club, which included £11m in pay to Owen and Vicki Oyston.

They saw it as their chance to pull as much money out of the club in one go, rather than looking at it as a long-term chance to grow the club and potentially make even more money in the future. You only have to look at what clubs such as Swansea have done once they’ve got into the Premier League, sensible investment in the team has paid massive longer term rewards and they are now an established and (relatively) successful top flight club. Expanding the stadium, outspending Newcastle in the transfer market and even winning a trophy on the way.

As for Blackpool, they are now in freefall and rock bottom of the Championship. The parachute payments swallowed up and the best players sold, their fans left devastated at what could have been.

This is what Mike Ashley is doing at Newcastle now in my opinion.

He is gambling every season by investing as little as possible in the team. After that potential future changing season when we finished fifth, the only senior player Unite dbought was Vurnon Anita.

newcastle unitedLast season Mike Ashley didn’t allow a single player to be bought.

The difference between Newcastle and Blackpool of course is that short-term greed meant relegation for the seaside club and no return.

In Newcastle’s case we have survived in recent years in the Premier League but little more, still having a core of players able to achieve that, though of course the potential is massively stifled. Always the risk of getting into a relegation fight as happened in 2012/13

The third best supported club in England with the 19th (7th in the UK) biggest turnover in the World is clearly capable of much better of Premier League survival with sensible investment.

Even when Ashley did manage to get us relegated, the relative size of our club (fans) helped ensure instant promotion. While Blackpool get by on 10,000 crowds in the Championship, Newcastle posted a remarkable near 44,000 average in their second tier season.

With profits of around £50m due to be announced shortly for last (2013/14) season and this January transfer window activity/inactivity ensuring another big profit for this season, Mike Ashley is gambling and winning again.

In the meantime though the club and team are falling further and further behind the clubs we should be looking to compete with in the top six or seven, instead a battle for tenth with Stoke is the limit of our ambitions under Mike Ashley, with the possibility of falling through that relegation trapdoor once again if the Newcastle United owener gambles once too often.



  • john oneil

    If only fatty would just eat one too many pies and explode……

  • GToon

    john oneil just like in monty python!!!!

  • wor monga

    Come on you can do better than that…linking us with
    Blackpool…I love the place, it’s all about fun, and having a good time…but that’s
    as far as it goes…

    their time in the PL has come and gone, and this article is
    quite a few years out of date, I’m afraid….we are fighting to establish ourselves
    in the top ten of the Premier League in the 2nd highest league rated
    in the football world, and they are…

    ….well…not quite that…are they Dean (Wiz)?!!!

  • mentalman

    Why must we be subjected to this drivel everyday, are the mag readers/writers trying to get into the record books with how many times a story can be regurgitated

  • dav_art

    So the argument here is that if relegated Mike Ashley will pull as much money out of the club in one go and Newcastle United will free fall through the divisions. Hmm…

  • toonterrier

    Spent a lot of my early years holidaying in Blackpool and loved it. A lot of this article is spot on. Its all about money and how much Ashley can take out of the club without us being relegated. Same plan as Blacpool had but they paid the price for being too greedy. Still have a lot in common with the seaside town. They have the tower.we have a fat lump..

  • pissed off mag

    when ashley has his fatal heart attack what a piss up we will have itll be fantastic.

  • No Brainer

    dav_art yes that is what he is saying.
    Though as we were relegated and he lent the club £18m so instead of taking money out during relegation. He puts it in that’s the only evidence in this situation of what he would do but Dean tries to make people believe his lies. He is a proven liar.

  • john oneil

    Exactly, ooh perhaps just one more…boom
    imagine…….

  • Demented_Man

    No Brainer dav_art A bit like Ashley, eh?

  • nufcslf

    There’s something to look forward to. Where can I get ticket??? If I get on a plane now from Vancouver, should just be about back home for the Stoke match tomorrow. On second thoughts I will have a lie in and check the result when I get up. Sadly enough I will be listening to it on SportTalk radio at fu**en’ 6am our time. Cashley out!!!

  • Jarmin Geordie

    wor monga Blackpool “it’s all about fun and having a good time” it’s a while since Newcastle supporters had that. “we are fighting to establish ourselves in the top ten” ffs how many years have we been in the Premier league and what happened to the 5 year plan, can you remember that Monga?

  • Toon Magpie

    He may well be following Arsenal’s route, they haven’t won much for a long long time.

  • cwtoon88

    Toon Magpie they won the fa cup in may last year

  • cwtoon88

    Good article, think you can be hysterical usually but an interesting point and the worry is the more we survive the more ashley tries to do it on a cheaper budget

  • newcastle7

    Ashley has not taken a penny out of our club and never had a wage or dividend.What he has put in is £264m to be abused by the likes of yourself and other people on this anti Newcastle site.
    If you want to cticise put some money into the club,buy it or please shut up and getting on with supporting the team.

  • Jim Joe Billy Bob

    newcastle7 Wonderful! and I thought satire was dead. Keep taking your medication, you will eventually overcome your inner demons.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    MASH owns NUFC and MASH is Mike Ashley.
    He also happens to be the majority shareholder in SD, a public listed company which benefits financially from wall to wall free advertising at St James’ and has the NUFC merchandising/retail operation. A conservative estimate of the value of those benefits over 8 years would be 80 million at least. The shirt sales alone when he took over were worth 3.4 million a year.
    If anyone thinks this guy has not taken a penny out of the club then they go need see a shrink asap.
    True fans? All Ashley supporters are doing is supporting his growing wealth. 8 years of ownership has given us absolutely nothing.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Toon Magpie More than happy if we were in their position season after season.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    dav_art ‘Interest free loans’ – payable on demand though.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer dav_art He paid himself that money back  back immediately after we won promotion. Do any of you bother trying to learn the facts of what is going on here???

  • Sickandtiredstill

    wor monga Fighting to get ourself back where we were when the fat crook bought us you mean? Relegated once. barely managed 10th once. Once 5th. In the other years of his ownership we have been nowhere.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer dav_art NUFC has more ‘debt’ now than it did when fatty bought us. The only difference on that debt s that we owe him it instead of Barclays etc. It’s also a debt which has not reduced in 8 years. It;s a deal Wonga would be proud of.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7  Some idea of the pennies he;s not taking –

    “In fact, despite the loyalty of the Rangers fans seeing £7.6 million spent on retail in the year covered by the accounts, the club’s share of that spending is a paltry £590,000. That means that for every £10 spent by Rangers fans on merchandise, the club receives only around 75p.
    “The accounts also reveal that Rangers Retail has an obligation to purchase stock at a higher price than it is able to be sold at. In the second half of the year covered by the accounts it appears that the portion of profit due to the club is an unbelievable £2,000.

  • newcastle7

    What I have said is Ashley has not taken a wage or dividend out of the club.This is indeed correct and you spin doctors who put the boot in at every opportunity like to make things up.What he could do is charge £15m interest for his interest free loan a fair rate for a long term loan over £100m and pay £15m for advertising just to shut you guys up.If you guys are at Palace on Wednesday(some chance) there is a good shrink in Harley Street.Simon

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 What exactly is being made up?
    15% interest rate? if you think that is ‘fair’ then you must be using the Ashley/Wonga method and are certainly oblivious to commercial borrowing rates. Mortgage rates haven’t been anywhere close to that in over 30 years not.
    Retail – well I see you won’t even go there. Seems you have no problem with the owner taking our retail operation to benefit another company (and therefore himself) as well as advertising it wall to wall for no income to the club, then state he’s getting no return on his ‘loan’. keep that head buried in the sand why don’t you. 

    This is what he’s done to Rangers as an example of the numbers involved –

    “In fact, despite the loyalty of the Rangers fans seeing £7.6 million spent on retail in the year covered by the accounts, the club’s share of that spending is a paltry £590,000. That means that for every £10 spent by Rangers fans on merchandise, the club receives only around 75p.
    “The accounts also reveal that Rangers Retail has an obligation to purchase stock at a higher price than it is able to be sold at. In the second half of the year covered by the accounts it appears that the portion of profit due to the club is an unbelievable £2,000.

  • No Brainer

    What you clwarly don’t understand is tgat whst rangers fans recieved was profit so within all the rest monies sports directs profit from that operation is less than 590,000 as at the time of righting rangers owned 51% and spd 49%
    People twisting facts again

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer Spending, not profit. And such a deal kicked in during the second half of the year the statement refers to, hence the 2000 portion of profit.. No twisting, the facts are bad enough all on their own.
    The only reason fatty wants Rangers, apart from asset stripping and another advertising platform, is that like us it is one of the few clubs left that the supporters just won’t stop going to. No matter what he does to their club.
    Obviously you are one of those he sussed out long ago.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 Or words from SD themselves and they relate to wage/dividend also. Using your thinking, the guy is a multi billionaire by taking no money from anywhere, huh?

    “The vote is not a ringing endorsement for the governance set-up at Sports Direct.
    “We are not convinced that the board is independently-minded enough to exercise sufficient checks on the majority shareholder, in this case Mike Ashley. The board needs to demonstrate to minority shareholders that it is also considering their interests.”
    Mr Ashley is the founder of Sports Direct and serves as executive deputy chairman. He is not paid a salary by the company but has raised hundreds of millions of pounds by selling shares.

  • No Brainer

    How do you do that family fortunes noise
    uhh errr
    Taken back in two parts the second of which is expected to be in the forthcoming accounts
    why do you make stuff man you must be sick and tired of being disproven.

  • No Brainer

    All loans are payable on drmand crackerjack

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer Baahhhhhh. You can convince yourself of anything this bloke does.
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jun/02/newcastle-debt-banks

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer No they aint you muppet. Is your car finance or mortgage payable ‘on demand’? 
    Aye, if you default, no if you keep making the payments.

  • No Brainer

    Yes 15% even now is a hoing interest rate for a company which us equivalent of a full years TURNOVER especially when 50% of that revenue can be jepodised by something simple as sickness or injury to key staff pkayers and employment of replacement staff prohibited

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer get a grip, as I posted to another deluded soul, this is what SD themselves thought of his influence in 2014 –
    “Shareholders may have voted the bonus scheme through, but the substantial minority who objected cannot have their voices ignored by the board of Sports Direct.
    “The vote is not a ringing endorsement for the governance set-up at Sports Direct.
    “We are not convinced that the board is independently-minded enough to exercise sufficient checks on the majority shareholder, in this case Mike Ashley. The board needs to demonstrate to minority shareholders that it is also considering their interests.”
    Mr Ashley is the founder of Sports Direct and serves as executive deputy chairman. He is not paid a salary by the company but has raised hundreds of millions of pounds by selling shares.

  • No Brainer

    Has he buolt a massive company it also seems that that report was wtong during this time record profits and dividends have been delivered to shareholders and staff have taken part in the largest increase in share ownership of the stock exhgange ever.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer dav_art He lent himself (his wholly owned club) you mean! Yes, to protect his investment due to his ineptitude in getting the club relegated, FFS!. 
    He got stung when he bought us, not knowing he had to repay the mortgages in full (on St James’ and the training ground).
    The story isn’t about relegation, its about if and when he sells. There won’t be any mortgage or loan repayment schedule – he’ll want his moola back in full. That’s the benefit (to him) of his ‘loans’ and not structured debt.

  • No Brainer

    Sorry you are just stupid a mortgafe is a mortgage not a loan which is why building societies and councils provide them befire banks where able to ring fence money to secure property. Three months is the minimum notice.
    as for a car loan then yes if its a loan and has no staute identifying security then yes it is payable on demand. Normally they will take the car back immediately but that may not cover the full outstanding debt
    can we talk about football you fruit cake

  • No Brainer

    Mire rubbish as soon as it was passed he himself pulled out of tge scheme and it all goes to staff
    again you miss the point that this will deliver up to 200m into the hands of the full time shop staff

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer What a load of old bollix. Revenue was last reported as 129.7 million.
    How on earth could NUFC lose close to 65 million therefore, by injury or illness? Half the squad has been crock this season and we are due to post profits North of 50 million FFS!

  • No Brainer

    Relegation fool do the keague table without cisse pal going to the natch today?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer Aye its rubbish. Corporate Governance and Mike Ashley. Just look at whats happening up the road and you can see it all in action, out in the public for a change.
    200m into minority shareholders and some staff by the way. There is another court case going on by those staff who got absolutely nothing. 
    Fatty got his share.

  • JarraChris

    newcastle7 

    What Loan? Nae one forced Ashley to buy the club 10 years ago. IF there was a £100 & odd million debt when he decided to buy the club it was HIS DECISION TO DO SO FFS!
    If he wasn’t prepared to take the debt (if there ever was one) on right from the start then he should have told Hall & Shep to FOOK OFF!
    You can’t have it both ways FFS! “I’m Mega Rich Mike Ashley and I’ve bought NUFC for Millions of £’s, I’m a Premier League Club Owner and can do with it what the FOOK I want Good or Bad! By the way though I’ve lent MY CLUB £100 & Odd Million quid (supposedly?) because when I bought the club it owed Millions of £’s in debt. But don’t worry I’ll not charge myself interested on it!
    STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS FOOKING DEBT! IF THE CLUB HAD DEBTS THEN HE TOOK THAT DEBT ON EYES WIDE OPEN! IT IS HIS DEBT!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer more fact for you to choke on –

    90% of SD workers are on zero hours contracts by the way.

    “Sports Direct continues to face further legal action from zero-hours workers who were excluded from a multimillion-pound bonus scheme which was only handed to “permanent” workers.”

  • Sickandtiredstill

    JarraChris newcastle7 Too true, mate.  His [email protected] lickers doesn;t want anyone to see that very simple point.