My season ticket has been in the family for over 20 years, I was 11 when I first went to a match, back in 1992.  I was hooked from that moment and have since been through the emotional mangle more times than I can remember, but nothing has been quite as troubling as this.

I met Mike Ashley shortly after he bought the club, when Chris Mort was Chairman in 2007.  He seemed nice, very jovial, generous and humble, I had lunch with him and his family in the executive box (long story) before the Derby (as in Rams) match when Fat Sam was in charge, it was a 2-2 draw.  We loved him back then, there was the promise of huge amounts to be spent and the future looked rosy, so what went wrong?

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

Chris Mort leaving was a watershed, he was a good chairman, his heart was in the right place and although he lacked experience running a football club, he understood the importance of the fans.

Unfortunately, a darkness stirred in Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias replaced him, the first of many haphazard appointments and decisions.  The relationship with us fans deteriorated and it was as if a flick had been switched; the KK debacle, Joe Kinnear, relegation, and Mike Ashley gave up.

I believe that he had bought the club on a bit of a whim, it was a bargain, he could have some fun, but then the debts emerged and he had to get a handle on the finances.  Rightly, we the fan base didn’t fully appreciate this, and the previously santa-like character became, possibly in as much of a shock to him as us, a ruthless businessman.  His ‘toy’ had become an unwieldy burden, and the happy Geordie fans turned on him as a result.

Mike Ashley is not, and never will be, a Geordie, he lives daahnsaahf and supports Tottenham, he flies in by helicopter with his security guy, then flies home again straight after the match, in other words, he has absolutely no connection with the city or the people.

He may have done, had circumstances been different, the blame for that lies both with him and with Freddy Shepherd (Just as a side point, I’m confident that FFS would have bankrupted the club within a couple of years, but that’s just a hunch, I have no evidence).

So MA had a decision to make, sell the club and take a hit, or try to recoup the money he had already spent.  As a ruthless businessman, he opts for the latter.  In order to do this he turns NUFC into a billboard for his cheap tat sports company, cultivates a method of earning money through player sales and continues to sell questionable sponsorship and merchandise, plus the tickets of course, while simultaneously reducing the wage bill.  He also uses other methods to raise funds like hosting rock concerts, the Olympics, the Rugby World Cup etc.

mike ashley

Without having any access to (or understanding of) balance sheets I’d guess that he must be close to earning back his expenditure, but that he has also realised the speed with which he has managed to generate a huge sum of money.

Again, he is faced with a dilemma, when he has earned back what he laid out, does he sell the club to make another quick £100m or so, or does he hang onto it and turn it into ‘a nice little earner’?

To a ruthless businessman like him, the latter seems a no brainer.  At no point in any of this does he consider the fans.  We are customers, but we are unlike his clothing shop customers because he knows we will continually buy his product come rain or shine, the season in the Championship proved that.

At this point, we are faced with a dilemma.

Personally, I am in a quandary.  I have 2 season tickets, they are in the best position possible in the stadium, but are bog standard, not Platinum Club or any fancy padded seats or owt, our family just got lucky back in the day.  If I give them up, some other mug will buy them and I’ll never get them back.  So, do I abandon my club (Ashley’s club I should say) and wave goodbye to a family heirloom with the best view possible, or, do I continue to hand over money I can’t afford to a bloated pound sponge?

It’s an obvious choice to many, and it should be to me, but I can’t help feel that one day, one day, this man will leave, and brighter days will return, and I’ll be able to fully enjoy football again, and the anticipation of an exciting match. When I sit down in my seat and watch the match I do enjoy it, even if we are sh**e, even if I am incandescently angry, because to be up you have to be down sometimes, but it’s about more than the 90 minutes.

In terms of the Spurs boycott, I am all for it.

mike ashley

I hope no tickets are sold and that the majority of season ticket holders stay away, but I don’t think it will have any effect.  I know people who deal directly with Mike Ashley, and the word is that he makes the decisions, he won’t listen to reason and while there are many good people inside SJP doing all they can to keep the club great, they are swimming against a tide they cannot influence.

He will be aware of it (the boycott), so he will expect it, but he knows it won’t happen every week, so his profit margins aren’t going to be affected.  If every season ticket holder gave up their ticket now, then yes, he would have to think, but that simply isn’t going to happen, it can’t, this is Newcastle.

It’s a desperately sad state of affairs, but the only time Mike Ashley will leave is when it is financially prudent to do so.  If a big offer came in from anybody, anybody at all, that was enough to negate the earnings he would receive from the next 5-10 years then I am sure he would sell, the new TV deal won’t have helped with that.

Similarly, if the club were relegated and failed to win promotion, then the sale value would be affected and he would be tempted to jump ship before he lost everything.  That might be news to some people’s ears, a destitute Mike Ashley with a £2/300m dent in his £6bn empire, but it’s not worth NUFC to me.

So, our ‘hope’ has to be that a magical billionaire who isn’t greedy (and is preferably Geordie) steps in to save the day, or we are relegated and spend 2 seasons in the Championship, or possibly the most fanciful, Mike Ashley starts to make money, enjoys his toy again, becomes ambitious enough to see the £££ of the Champions League and goes all out to earn the regular income of Europe’s prima competition.

On that last one, it’s unlikely he would ever do that for our sake, we’ve made it clear we hate him and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.  Whatever happens, we have little or no chance of influencing Mike Ashley, and his policies are unlikely to change unless he chooses to change them (in order to earn more money), so I expect to see a new manager, not Carver, a number of signings in the summer, just enough to keep us in the Prem (assuming we don’t go down this season) and the same old brief optimism followed by anger and disappointment that has become something of a routine.

I will keep my season ticket, I will continue to support the 11 players on the pitch regardless of what’s going on at board level and I will continue to grit my teeth and bare it until the greedy cockney twonk has gone.

What I’ve written above is purely my opinion of the state of affairs, it doesn’t adequately communicate my absolute disgust at the treatment of loyal fans, the desperate humiliation we suffer on a daily basis or the anger I feel towards football in general, FIFA being the main culprits.

You may disagree, which you are entitled to do, and if you have jacked in your season ticket then good on you, you shouldn’t have to pay for something you don’t want.

We are in a mire over which we realistically have no control, but we are Newcastle United, not him, and we’ll be here long after he’s gone.

  • Most balanced and well written article thats been published on here in a long time. Pretty much my feelings on things to a tee.

  • jamescolwill

    NUFCTheMag NUFCThreatLevel MikeAshleyLies NUFCTips TaylorandBesty best one I’ve read regarding situation

  • AlanGraham

    Vety good article. Take a bow son!

  • LeazesEnder

    Go on take the step over the line…. you’ll feel less dirty!

  • snodgrass2

    Why must the new owner “preferably be Geordie”? We need someone with a little empathy who knows about the game and the way the FA  and the PL work. He / She could be of any nationality. Just get us away from Ashley.

  • Andgeo

    Wd need a bloody miracle! He I’d gonna raps the club fit every penny he can take and I have no doubt that when he does leave, he will leave nothing behind. Hope I’m wrong, but we need to stop him now; he has shown that he is dishonest, doesn’t know football and can not be trusted with our football club

  • RexN

    A great article, even though I have to disagree on a few points of principle.

    The proof you seek over FFS is there, in the accounts that Ashley allegedly, and improbably, failed to do due diligence over.

    It is understandable, albeit unsavoury to some of  us if you want to keep your view. 

    For selfish reasons, I hope that you will be rewarded with serious investment by the fat man during the summer. Conversely, if you end up wasting your money, I am sure you will respect the lack of sympathy.

  • AndyMac1

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the fact you’d rather keep paying the Fatman for your prime assets is down to you and no one else. However that doesnt prevent you or any of other 50k from taking a stand, along with the rest of us, by staying away for one match which, after all, will be televised so you wont miss a thing ?
    If you dont fancy meeting up in Leazes Park then take your mates to a nearby pub and watch the game from there. No harm done, no one has taken your seat and at least you can get hammered knowing that none of your cash, spent on refreshments, will find its way to the Fatman’s pockets.

  • Stacyluvmusic

    jamescolwill NUFCTheMag NUFCThreatLevel MikeAshleyLies NUFCTips TaylorandBesty brilliant read!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    ” Mike Ashley with a £2/300m dent in his £6bn empire, but it’s not worth NUFC to me. ”
    Well we could start there for many reasons. Firstly he isn’t worth 6bn and never has been. His wealth has reduced this year for a number of reasons, though none have to do with NUFC. If anything, we are one of the steady constant profit margins for him
    What is a fact is that when he bought the Club, immediately after SD floated on the stock exchange, he was worth 975 million. He is worth close to 3bn now, a massive increase, when most of us are happy to get an above inflation pay rise!
    Mike Ashley screwed up from day one here. He made a good call in KK (questionable with Houghton though), then decided (or was persuaded) by his totally dodgy ‘football experts’ that they knew best. Verete, Jimenez, Llambias, Wise, Kinnear…..they are the villains and they are all his own fault.
    Ashley has punished and is still punishing the Club and it’s support because of his own lack of judgement. He made those choices, not us. 
    I’ve never been lofty enough to sit in a box. I doubt many of us have. I do know my first match was aged 9 and I was thrown over the wall into the old Gallowgate. Free, of course.
    I remember being passed overhead down to the cinder path of pitch side. I remember 60,000 people squeezed into the ground to welcome home the losing ’73 FA cup side, with 250,000 lining the streets outside. I remember much much more including Cup wins most people don’t even talk about any longer..
    What I don’t ever recall is a Club with no ambition at all. Here we are with one of the richest men on the planet owning us, and we resemble Poundland!
    If we hate Ashley, it’s no fault of ours. He promised much and has produced very little. His real concern was and remains the success of SD. I’m sure we have added to those profits handsomely. But that came at the price of destroying a football club and trying to divide its support through constant spin and bare faced lies.
    Just give us what you promised, Mike, and you may even be able to drink here again! If not, you’ve made your money back and more, so do us all a favour and move on to another victim. Please.

  • v0ices

    RexN no its not the club was operating at a profit at the time.

  • v0ices

    snodgrass2 totally agree don’t care if a new owner is a martian as long as he treats the club and fans with respect, don’t even mind if he makes money off the club, we should be used to it, as long as he moves the club in a positive direction.

  • Cornflake

    When I read that you won’t really consider getting rid of your season tickets, most of the article is moot. Really, when you started with meeting Mike Ashley in the box, I already knew your response. If I couldn’t really afford the tickets, as you mentioned why would you support this? The hope that one day they’ll be better? Lol, I pray your right. But at least my bank account isn’t struggling over the thought.

  • nufcslf

    Sickandtiredstill Very well put. I just don’t understand anyone trying to reason anything fat cashley when the football served up just isn’t worth the effort and suffering watching it on the telly never mind paying top money for it. Absolute madness.

  • No Brainer

    There seems to be a complete absence of rational thinkingbhere. You’ve met the bloke and suggested he is a goid fella.
    This seasin we have been so badly hampered by injury and recently suspension that is not the owners fault. You use the word hate to describe your feelings to a man who had 60% of his pkaying staff unavailable to his coach last weekend what does that make you?
    A loyal unwavering foitbalk fan , obe of a group of the best fabs in the world.
    no you where right in your assessment that we as fabs are looked at as a laughing stock.

  • No Brainer

    Kk was his mistake he never really wanted to come back he needed to as hissoccer business was strugglibg up in glasgow

  • No Brainer

    In what way is the club disrespectful to fans?
    yo man u is nit given mr ths resoect I is deservin bruv ya get me its like that In it ffs other than the ads whatcfoes he getvfor free?

  • mick57

    Sickandtiredstill We lost74 cup final. Makems won it in 73. How can you get that wrong?

  • Conman

    He has sold players without replacing. He loaned players without replacing. He has bought players who have be injured and all of this on top of an already weak and ageing squad.
    All clubs have injuries but what you have to do is make sure that you have cover. He didn’t.
    He even loaned out 5 players to rangers to draw down on the loan he gave them as quick as possible. 3 out of the 5 were , you guessed it, injured.
    The man has no scruples and will sell his granny for a buck. The author said at the time he was seeking canny. Yes, I bumped into him at the bogs away to Sunderland when we drew 1 1 and Milner scored an equaliser. I remember it clearly as he had waited too the second half had started and then came down. If only I knew then what I know now. A missed opportunity. Sorry all.

  • Demented_Man

    No Brainer Read the article again.  Where does he say the fans are viewed ‘as a laughing stock’?  Stop putting words in people’s mouths.
    Also, it’s about time you shut up about the suspensions and injuries.  The whole NUFC operation is run on a shoestring, man.  It IS Ashley’s fault that we have no adequate cover for those who cannot play, which ALL teams have to cope with.  This is mostly just greed but also because he knows bu**er all about football.

  • paul janes

    Selling Milner and not allowing KK the resultant money to spend was Ashleys mistake/fault,not employing KK

  • No Brainer

    Conman He has sold players, with out replacing them and has changed the policy on that. 
    by loaning players without replacing if you mean Santon and Mbiwa then as santon is most believed he is third choice thats not really a call is it.
    We currently have full professional back four staff from of Janmatt Taylor, Willo, Collo, Taylor Haidara Dummett with Jonas having domestic and international experience at left back.

    On top of that the likes of Satka and Streete should provide further cover if needed.

    Week and aging squad? There are only 4 players 30 and over.

    The rangers loanees are costing Rangers £1000 per week each one is proving to be their saviour, one has an illness which means the Scottish FA ban him from playing another has been injured whilst playing for them and Fergy is fit has been for a few weeks.

    He has utterly dropped one by not replacing Carver.

  • No Brainer

    Demented_Man No Brainer The reason you want people to shut up about injuries and suspensions is that these truths are factual and make you guys look really stupid, they have a direct influence on the performance on the pitch.
    Please tell me which other clubs have had two spells of so much injury this season. as well as getting to a qtr final.

    Fact is if he spent £150m on players for the next couple of seasons and we got to semi finals and second in the league you’d  after two or three seasons whinge it wasn’t enough.

    It can’t be that the guys who hounded Sir Bobby Robson out of the club have changed tact, learnt a lesson about how to be a fan and decided that they where in error then.

    YOU guys moaned about coming fifth.
    There is something wrong with your perception of sport.

  • Chemical Dave

    “And then the debt emerged”. Hey man give owa lad, people who trot this out are seriously stupid, as is the “due dilligence” nonsense. Almost the entire debt was mortgage for the stadium, how hard would that be to find in the accounts? Its been the stick to hear us with ever since…utter rubbish.

  • Chemical Dave

    Has someone stamped on no brains head ? The lads a dribbling mess.

  • No Brainer

    Chemical Dave The truth about the debt is that it was an existing part of the club.

    The business was worth £260m or so it had £113m of debt so the shareholders received the remaining £147m. its not a debt its really just Mike Ashleys purchase price. 

    People should be clear about that he used his cash to facilitate all of the clubs interested parties.

    There is no interest payable on a company bought with your own cash. The exchange of ad revenue though shouldn’t be confused as large though, it’s only worth around £500,000 per year.

  • No Brainer

    Chemical Dave Your cohorts have had opportunities but declined them each time.
    Which of any of the points i made are untrue.

  • Chemical Dave

    Where are you based no brainer ?

  • Mister Tee

    Which of the points you made are untrue?
    Not sure any of them are but they can definitely be challenged and picked apart to show the dreadful way the playing squad has been managed.
    We start the season off with the following defenders:
    Steven Taylor
    Mbiwa (about to depart on loan)
    Ryan Taylor
    Couple of young’uns
    From the start of the season we can see we looked quite healthy for defenders (3xCB, 2xRB, 2xLB and Paul Dummett who can play wherever really) until you remember that:
    Santon was injured (I think)
    Ryan Taylor was still feeling his way back from a career threatening injury.
    Steven Taylor has a terrible recent injury record and has declined in the last couple of years.
    Coloccini has missed a few games in the last couple of seasons due to injury, he nearly moved back to Argentina a couple of years back and he has declined as a major force in our defence.
    Dummett was hardly established in the first team.
    Haidara was hardly established in the first team.
    Williamson is not good enough.
    So it paints a slightly different picture on things when you take into account players coming back from injuries, players with poor injury records, players not good enough and untested players.
    We have suffered this year with injuries, there is no denying but do you not feel that the club has tempted fate somewhat by allowing players to go on loan given the injury records some of our players have had?
    2nd Jan 2015 – Taylor ruled out for season
    2nd Feb 2015 – Santon loaned out
    2nd Feb 2015 – Ferguson (LB?) and Streete (CB) loaned out
    3rd Mar 2015 – Dummet injured
    15th Mar 2015 – Coloccini suspended
    So which of your points are untrue?
    Oh yeah, the one that says Remi Street should provide cover for the first team.
    He’s out on loan mate.

  • Demented_Man

    No Brainer Demented_Man There is something wrong with your perception of reality.  There was some brain-dead pillock on Total Sport yesterday who claimed the fans had hounded Kevin Keegan out of the club!  Even Gabbiadini and Anderson ridiculed him.
    It wasn’t you by any chance, was it?

  • pissed off mag

    No Brainer Chemical Dave  no brainer talking shite again must be one of ashleys rent boy arse lickers what a prick

  • pissed off mag

    No Brainer Conman  shite

  • pissed off mag

    No Brainer Demented_Man  stop kissing ashleys fat sweaty arse no balls you arse hole

  • pissed off mag

    Chemical Dave  he talks shite dave

  • Chemical Dave

    He does but I’ve seen him offering to meet people off here in various pubs. Would be happy to indulge him but it would have to be somewhere there was only going to be the two of us there.

  • RexN

    Chemical Dave You are totally correct. The loan from John Hall was transparent in note 14 to the accounts, the remainder of the debt was transparent on the balance sheet, being the club overdraft. A lawyer as able as Chris Mort would have spotted it in 5 minutes.

  • The Mag

    Chemical Dave Dave – this is a message for everybody, not just you. This isn’t ‘Fight Club’, we don’t want to ban anybody from commenting but we will have to if aggression continues to be used in comments.
    No problem ridiculing other fans’ opinions but threats and offers to fight can’t be allowed.
    Ashley, Charnley and Carver are doing a good enough job bringing our club into disrepute without any help from fans on here.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    The Mag Chemical Dave Seriously, NoBrainer is a complete wind-up merchant. No matter what articles are on this site, he comes up with spin to defend the regime and has a go at not only the writers but also other posters.
    If there are to be bans then you should start with him.
    As for his points – one he never answers is why SD get anything free from NUFC at all?
    They have given nothing. Not a penny. SD is a Public Listed Company, it isn’t Ashley’s and stopped being so when it floated on the stock market.
    Why is he giving away Club revenue to another company’s shareholders?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Chemical Dave Me! And of course he pretended to show up, which he very very surely did not!
    He’s pro regime troll who tries to blag his way through everything from business practise, accounting, advertising etc etc.
    In fact he once claimed he worked for The Mag – as a website traffic driver!

  • v0ices

    No Brainer by telling them lies? By the awful football? By ending the season as soon as the owner and board think safety is assured so Ashley can collect the TV money. As a customer I expect a product to be fit for purpose s sporting business should entertain and strive to win, do you think Newcastle are offering a product fit for purpose? No they just realise the emotional investment made by supporters and are exploiting it.

  • v0ices

    No Brainer more tripe kk  has always felt he has unfinished business here.

  • wor monga

    I read this as a very good balanced article…from a supporter
    of the club of long standing…putting his views over without resorting to the
    usual rancour which we see on here every day.

    I completely agree with his version of the early years…where
    Ashley’s naivety and faith in the wrong people led to the situation we find
    ourselves in at present…Yes, the club was seen as a new direction toy that
    could broaden his sporting interests, while increasing his business interests…but
    when he found exactly what the true cost was, and what condition the club was
    in…he immediately went into damage limitation mode…

    The Sky deals coming on line  meant he could recoup his loan and
    run in this mode for ever providing the club stayed in the PL, and an
    experienced manager like Pardew could maintain that situation without any
    problem…but Pardew needed players experienced in the PL, and they were proving
    to be too expensive for Ashley’s plan, so Pardew had to take all the internet abuse
    endlessly, or leave…  
    Where I disagree with the article is that …there is no
    guarantee that either Ashley will sell, (seeing as the club could still be run
    on the cheap as a long term Championship side if that became necessary, and his
    other business interests could still expand without the benefit of TV coverage
    as they have done in the past)…or… that any other more benevolent buyer would
    actually come in with the intention of spending more than they might need to…on
    a now failing relegated club!

    In other words, times might not get any better without
    Ashley, at the club…you have been warned!!!

  • v0ices

    No Brainer Conman Jonas who was told to find a new club come on stop grasping at straws hope Ashley is paying you well for making yourself look a fool.

  • v0ices

    No Brainer Chemical Dave no brainer get the debt am mounts correct Muppet.

  • DFinnigan1980

    shaun_gomm NUFCTheMag echoes my sentiments. I can’t and will not, not support my team.

  • newcastle7

    There will be three hundred people boycott at most so do not see what all the fuss is.The crowd will be near forty nine thousand with it being on T.V.  with a Sunday afternoon kick off otherwise would have been a full house.Think all of you nuts saying the crowd will be twenty thousand tell you now will be 48,894 loyal supporters there mark my words.See the guy behind  the boycott will not even give his name to the press  how brave of him.

  • shaun_gomm

    DFinnigan1980 mine too. I’ll be there through thick and thin, and long after Ashley has departed. The club and supporters will endure

  • GToon

    newcastle7 I wouldn’t give my name either! Loyal supporters? Supporters of what?

  • 2someitsonlyagame

    newcastle7 If Newcastle were still playing in the championship, how many of those 48.894 loyal supporters do you think would still be going?

  • NottsToon

    This what your “support” gives license to….

  • BillytheFish

    You don’t mention Hall in this at all, and seem to blame Shepherd for all the problems.
    I remember Shepherd was in hospital on his death bed when the Hall family saw an opportunity to make millions and sell to Ashley against Shepherds advice.
    If you want retribution, go to the Halls lovely and very expensive golf and country estate they build in Northumberland off the back of the NUFC money, and see how welcome you are…………

  • BillytheFish

    NottsToon They also have tried to rubbish KK by saying he took them for £2m. In fact his contract was worth a further £6m. Supporting Whitley Bay is a much better option at present..

  • SheMag

    Agree with every word, except “you shouldn’t have to pay for something you don’t want”. Facing the same dilemma we went in the other direction and gave our season tickets up this year after 21 years I WANT to pay. I WANT my tickets. I miss the match like holy hell. But agreeing with every word you say, recognising the only thing that fat limpet cares about is money…we just couldn’t stand any of that money coming from us any more. I am bitter, I am resentful. We did what we believe is the right thing (absolutely respect the opposite view too, it’s a purely personal decison we all have to take) but we hated doing it.

  • Chemical Dave

    You are the biggest coward on thus site pal.

  • Chemical Dave

    Fair enough, there’s plenty of people I disagree with on here but this no brained character aswell as Newcastle 7 are worth investigating as to whether they’re actually genuine fans or (not for the first time) paid club representatives.

  • GToon

    2someitsonlyagame newcastle7 Most of ’em if the football was entertaining, the club had direction, communicated with the fans and wanted success. We’d roar them on no matter what.

  • GToon

    Nice article and a bit off track i know but i’ve got to ask it anyway. How much did he eat?

  • newcastle7

    The Mag Chemical Dave The only agression on here is from people to No Brainer and Newcastle 7 because people on this site cannot stand the fact that some people support the club.Suggest he goes to Bar Loco for a peaceful chat with the militants who gave Pardew horrible abuse.Some people,some fans just hope none of them there on Monday .

  • You nailed it like I have been saying, it’s more about protecting choice seats than anything, just another sheep ba-ing.

  • Yea ! Yeah ! Ben.
    Just another bleat from another sheep, concerned about loosing his choice seat, bah !

  • And the infamous bit about Ashley not doing due diligence and buying the club on a whim, should by now reside in the garbage can where it belongs.

    This was a well thought out plan, to use NUFC as an adjunct to his real empire, Sports Direct, I don’t know where the idea of buying cheap and selling players on for a profit came from, oh yeah ! isn’t that his business, retailing FFS.

    Did he project the massive revenues from EPL membership, perhaps, though I doubt if many expected them to increase to such a level, so quickly.

    Look Ashley has a nice earner in NUFC and he ain’t going anywhere unless it’s for an offer he cant refuse., now if the club were to be located in London, he would possibly have already sold it.

    Nah ! he’s gonna be around for the immediate future, get used to it.

  • TiberiusClaggpype

    Sickandtiredstill spot on, mate.