In response to a brilliantly thought provoking argument by Notts Toon, as featured here in The Mag, I wonder whether relegation to the Championship is the best way.

I confess to enjoying our Championship season.

(To feature like Rex N, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

We had a decent coach (Chris Hughton – pictured above) at that level, employing modern management techniques that were light years ahead of Ashley retail outlet and subsequent coaches. After being effectively banished during the Keegan years through not being able to afford a season ticket, it was a chance to introduce my children to NUFC in anything other than a cup match.

The football was honest, the divers were the young loan players from the Premier League. Away supporters enjoyed visiting our ground and I experienced the positivity of supporters at places like Barnsley, Doncaster and Scunthorpe. Our players committed to the cause.

Financially, Ashley would have been hit had he not sold or released about £40m worth of talent with a resultant wage saving.

Ashley has toyed with supporters since protests surrounding Keegan’s resignation on a point of principle, the subsequent tribunal finding that representatives of the club under Ashley had lied.

Ashley’s minions have helped turn a loss making club into one that makes profits. It doesn’t say much for Ashley himself that profits at an operating level, i.e. before transfer activity, amount to a paltry 3.6% of revenue after 8 years of trying.

The real profit has come in designating Newcastle United as a feeder club, selling the likes of Cabaye, Ba and Carroll to clubs that have some sort of ambition. In the meantime, those who dared to have principles have suffered through a lack of aspiration to domestic cups and mediocrity in the Premier League, with a dull brand of football to match.

The only reason I can find to disagree with the article is in the question, who would buy us at a price Ashley is prepared to accept? Any promoted team has to invest significantly, as Southampton, Stoke Swansea and others have done in order to stay up.

Newcastle United is more attractive to a potential buyer as a business with turnover in excess of £130m than it is as a business with £25m gate revenue, £16m parachute payments for a couple of years and a commercial stream that would yield a further £10m or so.

Where a buyer may come from is anyone’s guess. Most likely would be an oil rich magnate. It could be someone who already owns one of the lucrative American sports franchises and has proven how to turn an established brand into a viable asset.

Who knows? Ashley himself could rehabilitate, after all, Joey Barton conducted himself with humility and dignity on Question Time after all his previous. Yes, this is as unlikely as any of his cheapened brands of walking boot making it up a shallow Lake District climb, let alone Everest. No professional golfer would expect to survive a round at the Masters with a Donnay driver.

Just as Ashley preys on labour with zero hours contracts, just as he has destroyed quality brands, he has exploited the loyalty of Newcastle supporters to push his brands globally in the Premier League, he could also ruin the future image and prospects of the club that is central to the life of one of Britain’s greatest historic cities.

To exact his revenge for public humiliation over Keegan, relegation would be a price, albeit small in the context of his obscene personal wealth. The bigger price would be to his cherished retail outlet. It is just about conceivable that he comes to appreciate the benefit of stewarding a successful club.

The long-term prospects for Newcastle United are therefore best served in the Premier League. A Championship Newcastle United would be ground under the considerable weight above his heel. His selling price would be a barrier to withdrawing without inflicting further punishment.

Relegation would be a small price to pay for our traditions of industrious, sometimes attractive football, to be preserved. There is no guarantee this will happen. Our best hope for ridding ourselves of the anarchist’s answer to ISIS is preservation of our Premier League status, leaving him with a capital gain that he can smile over.

It is said that the love of money is the root of all evil. Ashley has money in abundance and seems to crave more. Much as Notts Toon’s argument resonates, perhaps the best answer for those of us with pride in our city is for the beast to feed and move on.

Rex also runs his own website (toontoon.co.uk) which you can visit HERE and you can follow him on Twitter @ToonToonCoUk



  • Tony79

    To be honest we want to be working towards fan ownership long term.

    It works i Germany and it prevents us going from one disaster to another.  Lobbying parliament for legislation around fan ownership, or 51% stakes, funded locally over the long term is the way forward.

    This should be part of the AshleyOut campaign

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Who can tell what goes on in the mind of an ego/megalomaniac? The relegation and millions wasted on a string of dodgy appointments are, after all, completely his own fault.
    Even Llambias walked after the second JK arrival, though that is quite possibly (most likely even) because of the behind the scenes shenanigans going on at RFC which we have now became aware of.

    All in all – selling a PL Club has to be the most viable financial option for him. Perhaps the significance of the ‘not before the end of the 15/16 season, at least’ comment is because that will see another increase next year in our tv revenue, to be followed by the huge new Sky deal. 
    A profitable PL Club, with media income alone of 130 million (suggested figure) is surely what he is and has been ‘gambling’ on? That and of course almost 10 years of blatant worldwide advertising for SD.
    He’s got there with no further personal ‘investment’ despite chancing his arm on another relegation possibility and despite the dross he has served up.
    Unlike his retail ambitions, I don’t believe he has any desire to own a competitive successful football Club – just a self sufficient one. He’s inherently too cheap to risk any further money of his own.
    The question would remain, simply, how much would he want? He famously stated and is on record as saying he didn’t buy us to make money (yeah, right!).

  • dave1892

    Agreed. I see the angle, but the championship is a horrible league to get promotion from, and most fans in that league would not buy the relegation argument. Ashley is much more likely to sell when he can get a premiership price. Support the boycotts!

  • Andgeo

    We just need rid of fatty quickly. Ashley out!