I was sent this interesting article this week by @Dan_Milne on twitter.  It was written recently for Inside World Football and was an argument as to why Mike Ashley was good for Newcastle and supporters would be mad to drive him out of Toon.

The author (@Matt5cott) took some backlash on Twitter.  But it was a better written defense of Ashley than any I’ve seen.  Scott is somebody interested in the finances of football, not someone  watching the games every week, not travelling thousands of miles and paying thousands of pounds to see one draw from ten games, he’s somewhat divorced from the reality of being a Newcastle fan and the cost incurred for supporters in order to provide the reward Ashley sees and Scott waxes lyrical about.

It’s a well-researched article with many accurate facts, and convincing arguments as to why Ashley has done a good job though, which is why I thought it deserved a response more than most, because it’s the sort of thing some people might be convinced by.

History

Scott starts with a look at how Newcastle have performed in the league in the post-war years.  He builds a straw man by pointing out that Newcastle have not won the league in 88 years or a domestic cup in 60 years.  As if any Newcastle supporter is currently demanding league titles and cup finals year in and year out.  It’s clear to anyone being fair that Newcastle fans are only asking not to fight relegation most of the time, not to lose 50% of games three years in a row when we had done so just once in the 30 years prior.  We are now only the second team in Premier League history to lose as many games over 3 years.

“Theirs is not a tradition of trophy-laden triumph. “

Perhaps not, but despite not winning a domestic trophy in 60 years, there are still only 8 clubs to have won more silverware than Newcastle United.  If anything, this lack of silverware in the last 6 decades shows the unfathomable dedication and patience of the Newcastle support.  The club has the third highest attendances in the country despite this lack of trophies.  Even across the whole of Europe, Newcastle’s attendances are better than any that have gone as long without a trophy.

mike ashley

This is not a club whose fans spit out the dummy because they’re not winning silver pots.

Scott then points out that post-war Newcastle “only spent 21 seasons in the top 10 of English football”.  That’s a third.  He doesn’t then look at how Ashley compares.  If he did he would have to report that he’s done worse, just 2 top 10 finishes in 8 years, or a quarter.

The only figure Scott looks at for Ashley is average finishing position.  He ignores the current season to come up with a figure of 13.43, our unexpected last day jump up the league to 15th took that to 13.62. That number is better than the post-war average he provides of 15.85, because we all need to remember how bad we were back in 1946 and be glad we haven’t plumbed those depths under Ashley.  But let’s look at what is more likely to be in the memory of the majority of supporters, the 20 years prior to Ashley arriving.  It included 4 seasons in the second tier, in the early 90s the club was 31st and then 42nd best in England.  Yet still, the overall average finish position was 12.7.  So, for those of us not old enough to join the fight against Hitler, Ashley has dropped standards that have been set over 2 decades of football.

Ashleyout.com

This is what Scott says about Ashleyout.com

AshleyOut.com goes on to make some completely spurious accusations that have little basis in fact. “Club debt has risen, match day and commercial revenue have dropped significantly and, most importantly, our league and cup records have deteriorated,” it adds.

Newcastle’s net debt is £94.9 million, which is nominally higher than before Ashley took over. But the claim is also disingenuous. There are £18 million of loans that are repayable on demand and £110 million of longer-term loans, all offset by £34.1 million of cash in the bank.

If Scott believes that debt was lower when Ashley bought the club, why doesn’t he give any debt figures for 2007?  When Ashley arrived he transferred all the club debt to himself, poured in another £30m to cover the cost of relegation and has only been repaid £11m.  So how he does justify any claim that debt has reduced?  He seems to base it on the club also having cash in the bank, but seems not to realise that the club had cash in the bank when Ashley arrived too.  Here’s the excellent Swiss Ramble figures on Newcastle’s debt.

mike ashley

Clearly debt has grown since 2007, both gross and net. His claims can be dismissed out of hand and Ashleyout were exactly right with their statement.  Scott seems not to have read Ashleyout.com before choosing to criticise anyway though, he also states

What AshleyOut.com omits to mention is that all of these loans are owed to Ashley himself and they do not bear a penny in interest.

From the debt section of Ashleyout.com

The debt owed to Mike Ashley is provided as a loan, free of interest

Given what Scott omits, it’s odd for him to criticise Ashleyout.com for what he claims they don’t tell readers.  Ashleyout.com are clear on their aims, they want Ashley out, the clue is in their name, their raison d’etre is to criticise Ashley for all he’s got wrong, and make a case against him.  The prosecution in a court tend not to bring up mitigating factors on behalf of the defense.  Scott is supposed to be an independent journalist being fair, but he’s taking the position of defending Ashley then misrepresenting it as balance.  The fact is AO.com don’t even omit what they’re accused of, they’re very fair and it’s Scott that leaves out balance and evidence for his claims.

Matchday & Commercial

Scott returns to the subject of commercial & matchday income. Not to give any evidence that they have not decreased as he intimated earlier, but only to excuse the fact that both have indeed deteriorated.

I find it truly puzzling that presumably paid-up Newcastle fans would call for their club to raise match day revenue, which is already some of the highest in the land. In 2006-7 there were 27 home matches, raising total match day receipts of £33.6 million. Last season there were 22 home games, worth £25.6 million in total.

This meant Newcastle were earning £1.24 million per game back then and are taking £1.16 million now. This is a real-terms, post-inflation drop in per-game ticket revenue of almost 25%. With occupancy rates of 95.9% of capacity, it can only be assumed that the decline in gate receipts from 2006-7 to 2013-14 was down to substantial real-terms cuts in ticket prices. What’s the beef?

The beef is that it’s corporate reductions.  Gallowgate and Leazes end Season tickets prices have gone from £482 to £578 in Ashley’s tenure.  East stand season tickets are up over 20% from £583 to £710.  This, while Bar 1892 and Sports Bar prices have decreased 10% and 13% respectively, not to mention the reductions being thrown at executive box holders as box holders realise that even clients coming on a freebie would rather not sit through the turgid performances.

Our 52,000 capacity stadium is no longer offering the club the advantage over other clubs that it was built to offer.  In order to sell the expensive seats when the product on offer is sub-standard, Ashley has had to slash their cost, while the rest of us proles pay more each year.

Here’s the extent to which other clubs have stolen the march on Newcastle in terms of matchday income.

mike ashley

On commercial income the mitigation offered is even less convincing

Newcastle earned £25.6 million of commercial revenue in 2013-14, compared with £27.6 million in 2006-7, which is a 7.25% drop. But the sponsorship landscape has changed unrecognisably in the intervening period. Back then, Newcastle were one of England’s six richest clubs, with a turnover higher than Manchester City’s, comparable with Tottenham Hotspur’s and only a few tens of millions less than Liverpool’s. They were in Europe and had competed in the Champions League within the previous five seasons, adding to their marketability.

But even before Ashley took over, Newcastle’s qualification for the Champions League had become highly improbable with the arrival of Roman Abramovich and his billions at Chelsea. That improbability became as good as impossible with the deployment of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth at Manchester City and after the financial crisis struck, firms became more discerning about whom they would sponsor. Now, blessed by their boom-town London location, Tottenham generate revenues 50% higher than Newcastle, Liverpool more than double.

I had to read this a couple of times to see if he made any case at all.  I couldn’t detect one.  The justification offered seems to be that other clubs have done well in the intervening years.  Well yes, that’s our complaint.

Newcastle United were better placed than most of these clubs to push on, but because of Ashley, have not.  Tottenham boom because they’re in London he claims, Liverpool (not in London) boom, without any justification.  It’s an ill thought out argument that seems to place the emphasis on the financial crisis and other billionaires.  Ignoring the fact that the Newcastle owner himself is a billionaire, one of the wealthiest in the league in fact and that no other club, whether in London, the midlands, North West or North East has seen any drop in commercial income whatsoever.

mike ashley

That Newcastle still generate in excess of £25 million a year in sponsorship, retail and merchandising revenue (while Everton take less than half that at £11.8 million despite a much greater history of success) should be a source of pride, not rancour.

The fact is Newcastle have not needed [Ashley’s] money in recent years. In 2011-12, when they finished fifth, they generated £93.3 million in revenues and, despite a wages-to-turnover ratio of 68.7%, still had £11.9 million left over to spend on transfers – which they duly invested. In 2012-13 there was a £14.3 million operating-cash surplus and a net £17.7 million was spent on players

Scott seems too keen to praise the financials to be able to see the problem this performance raises for fans when making a comparison to Everton.  He sees pound signs, the rest of us immediately wonder why it is that Everton have been able to spend £28m on Lukaku while Ashley has never got close to that, never got close to spending HALF of that on one player.  Why, if we’re so much more flush with cash?  It’s unforgivable to Newcastle fans that such a smaller fish (as Scott himself identifies Everton) challenge on such a larger scale.

This is the crux of the matter, whatever the financial performance of the club, the question for fans is “then what?”  Even if Matchday and commercial income had risen exponentially throughout Ashley’s tenure, if every year the club was more profitable than the last, even if profit were based upon improved revenue streams rather than just player sales as most of the profit has been, should we not then expect those revenues to be reinvested to avoid relegation battles?  Should we turn the other cheek to the payday lender sponsor, the awful product on the pitch, the worsening and cheapening appointments in the most important areas of the club – chief exec and team manager (or coach as they have it)?

Scott ends his article on that most trite phrase that Newcastle supporters are sick to the back teeth of hearing

After the collapse experienced following Pardew’s departure, they should be careful what they wish for. If Ashley pulls the plug on his investment then the spiral of terminal decline they risked entering before he arrived, one experienced by other good clubs such as Leeds United and Portsmouth, could very well become a reality.

A more arrogant, patronising, condescending, snotty bit of advice there has never been.  Sheer ignorance can be the only excuse offering such wisdom, it displays staggering incomprehension of the club.

Alan Pardew left Newcastle United to go to a smaller club, lower in the league for MORE money, and that club paid £3m to Mike Ashley for the privilege.  That is the situation that Mike Ashley engineered.  He paid buttons, so his head coach wanted to leave, he was offered millions, so he let him leave.  Every Newcastle fan wished, hoped and prayed for an improvement, but rather than take the opportunity to go and find a better man (almost anybody), rather than use some of the profit to pay the going rate for an experienced, talented coach, Ashley persisted with an even more frugal option.  The collapse we’ve witnessed is not the result of any fans wishes, but entirely down to the ineptitude of Mike Ashley, the man he wants to defend.

The misguided view is only compounded by the fact that having spent 1700 words telling us how financially stable the club now is, he does a complete 180 in his last sentence and tells us that if Mike Ashley walked away now then the club would still face complete financial ruin.  Well exactly Matt Scott.  Why have you tried to convince us otherwise then?  Eight years of “getting the finances right” and Newcastle United are still no more stable than the day Ashley decided to promote his shop through us.

Thanks to Chris Holt for another excellent piece and you can visit his blog HERE, plus you can follow him on Twitter @MikeAshleyLies



  • oneryandunn

    NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies NUFC_Stats NUFC_Vine an excellent response/summation (and good to see slope charts being used).

  • GToon

    So that’s it in black and white for all to see. When he arrived debt was 67.3m and now it’s 94.9m. So we are worse off under Ashley. So how does Ashley think we are stronger financially according to his interview? Cos we consolidated all of our loans and used him instead of ocean finance? What a mess.

  • Alltomuch

    No mention of the free S/D advertising ?
    That if true should bring 20m a year off the loan,shouldn’t it.
    Then there is the shirt sales etc, isn’t that going into S/D coffers?

  • Toontastic

    Fantactic read mate, but one thing I don’t understand.

    If Newcastle are worse off with MA with debts just below £95 million, where has this £18 million profit came from? 

    Wouldn’t it make more sense that Newcastle wouldn’t make this much profit this season?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    RexN’s blog beat you to it and responded just as eloquently and factually.
    Scott’s piece was the most twisted piece of fact bending or presentation I have had the anger to read.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Toontastic Haha! There’s the kicker mate – it doesn’t matter how much ‘profit’ the Club ever makes, those ‘loans’ will never decrease unless he ‘pays’ himself back from it.
    The Club still owes him 129 million, that’s the unpalatable truth.

  • Matt5cott

    NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies Thanks for writing your blog on my column. At risk of ever-decreasing circles, may I respond to the response?

  • ToonBano

    There Is one major and actual obvious difference between pre-Ashley NUFC & when he took over. In the fact the club was subject to a Billionaire takeover. In which that billionaire takes on any debt, before he arrived or he actually creates through big spending on transfers, for which the club then grows and prospers. The team has licence and the funds to bring in players your average shareholder club can’t as they simply can’t afford it.
    Mike Ashley is one of the most wealthy men in the UK. His company is absolutely huge. He could afford to spend in the same mould as Abramovic, if he wanted to, seeing as Chelsea make themselves a fair whack in selling players as well as creating club wealth by being successful. Commercially and otherwise.
    Mike Ashley chose to spend nothing. In fact he has MADE money on transfers and managed to somehow. make a team worse by getting it relegated. If the club needed an administrator to sort out the finances, Mike Ashley did a great job. If the club needed an owner to take the club forward, Mike Ashley could not have done a worse job.
    We have a Billionaire owner. An owner who has the option to swap the debt we ‘owe’ him into equity. He. Old raise the value of that equity by being successful. He CHOOSES not to. The man is a shambles.
    End of story.

  • ToonBano

    NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies Matt5cott AshleyOutdotcom You can read my views and comments on this article. Defo not 140 characters #nufc

  • ToonBano

    Matt5cott NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies Feel free to read my comment and respond. #nufc

  • MikeAshleyLies

    Matt5cott NUFCTheMag I’d love to keep the discussion going

  • Matt5cott

    MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag OK, thanks. I’ve written up some 140-character thoughts so I’ll enumerate them point by point.

  • ProperBr00tal

    Matt5cott NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies you got rekt pal

  • Sickandtiredstill

    @Matt5cott MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag take into consideration a similar response to your piece, dated May 19th.
    http://www.toontoon.co.uk/are-we-mad.php

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Alltomuch Take a read of the latest from RFC regarding their retail ‘deal’. Thankfully it looks like they are going to make it all public.

  • AustraliaToon1

    MikeAshleyLies Matt5cott NUFCTheMag This is what its all about proper debate without bashing. Im intrigued #betterthangameonthepitchatm

  • ToonBano

    Also nobody asked Ashley to come in and take on the debt and sort out the finances. He CHOSE to buy this club. The man is so short sighted he didn’t even check the books. What kind of a business man doesn’t check a company’s books before buying it? However to be honest, who cares of the club had debts of £100m…..can he not afford it? He isn’t chairman hired by a board to run the club…he is a billionaire owner. Not small change, but not so big he hasn’t got anything left to play with.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    ToonBano ‘Course he did. Like he and his army of advisers  couldn’t work out the Club had mortgages? Probably all he never understood was the players fees which, like most clubs, was forward loaded.

  • MadeInBadock

    Matt5cott NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies I don’t think you understand the fans ‘ frustration with Ashley or what it’s about (1/2)

  • MadeInBadock

    Matt5cott NUFCTheMag MikeAshleyLies In the past we at least tried to compete with other teams, i.e. In cups. Ashley’s no cup policy?

  • undercovermag

    Matt5cott MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag Matt in last 20 years you are way off and embarrassing #NUFC

  • Chemical Dave

    Excellent as always Chris.

  • LeazesEnder

    ToonBano What… there was a  debt?

    Tell us about it, what was it?

  • LeazesEnder

    Sickandtiredstill Toontastic  129 million what was it for?….. .

  • Kevin Halliday

    Very well written Chris. Well done mate. Keep it up feller.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    LeazesEnder Sickandtiredstill Toontastic You and me are on the same page, mate.

  • CMRowley

    Great post, every thing I wanted to say but didn’t have the time to write.
    I’d add that any loans we had with financial institutions prior to Ashley were structured, now, the perceived debt to Ashley can be called in anytime and we are screwed.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    In summary then; Scott’s article was a well put together bag of shite written by a smug smartarse.
    Sorted

  • RaySte

    Good article but why is no one mentioning the fact Ashley admitted the club tills pay into SD? You can tell by that blokes picture he’s a reet bellend. As well I don’t know what the blokey hopes to prove by showing us our average league position. I wonder how long those sums took to work out what a waste of time. Chelsea or man city would average around mid table too I’d bet over a 50 year period, what does that prove?

    Probably a fair point about Shepherd tho, we were probably gonna go bust under his auspices. Does it excuse the fact that we sell our best players every summer, never compete in a cup and (insert grievance here)? No.

    As for Ashley I don’t know what to make of him. Hate him up to now, but I really don’t know what to make of his interview. Hope he is serious about investing this summer, he seemed to suggest that was the case. I guess time will tell.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    @Matt5cott MikeAshleyLies NUFCTheMag Point 9. Chris Mort, another Ashley ‘chum,’ left after being paid 1.26 million for 1 years work.

  • Andgeo

    Good work Chris!

  • Morpethmag

    I love it when it fans have all the correct facts figures and dates, a brilliant post, well done Chris,,,,

  • Paul Down under

    I am certainly not that well informed but…….SD do not pay? for the ground advertising does this not account for the significant revenue drop/lack of growth since 2007?

  • NUFCTheMag

    Matt5cott MikeAshleyLies Matt, Would be great to hear your reseponse to the…response by Chris. If u send to [email protected]..1/2

  • NUFCTheMag

    Matt5cott MikeAshleyLies …then we’d love to feature on the site. Thanks Mark 2/2

  • IntravenusMP

    It’s good to address the realities of NUFC finances. what is missing from the Debt figure is the other creditors and looming liabilities. Whilst common practice in football, there was a huge problem of transfer instalments that were due to be paid along with wages that were due over the close season and Barclays were not prepared to extend the facilities to pay either of these liabilities. 

    Truth was that NUFC had over-extended itself with transfer fees due and wages that were not sustainable. The directors / shareholders were not prepared to put money back in (taken as handsome divis) so someone else had to do it. The only willing ‘mug’ was Mike Ashley who was either duped into thinking he had to move so fast he couldn’t do due diligence on the club or simply didn’t care too much as he had to find a home for his recent SD floatation income that was away from the taxman. 

    The point I’m making is all the debt and the liabilities had to be taken into consideration, not just that of the overdraft and Eurobond / mortgage. 

    Ashley’s mistake was to pay Hall & shepherd for the club, it’s likely that he could have simply waited until the bank was on the brink of taking the club into administration and then pounced, paying only the debt and creditors and being £140m richer which [could have been] invested in players and hey presto, NUFC would have been kings of Europe. Reality is the structuaral problems in NUFC finances would have needed to be resolved first, these were only addressed when we were relegated and subsequently promoted with the sale of Andy Carroll.

  • IntravenusMP

    ToonBano The question you don’t answer is why would he? It makes no difference to the club but leaves him in a far weaker position should he ever with to withdraw any income from a liquid asset.

  • IntravenusMP

    ToonBano He chose to and his mistake was paying over the odds. The point remains that he was the only game in town to resolve NUFC’s issues, it’s just that he didn’t realise it. 

    Nufc were due for a very bumpy ride whatever happened. The bank were not lending more money and the shareholders were not showing an inclination to put money in so something had to give.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    Ah Fatmans friend returns with a big up for his Boss.
    Fatman bought NUFC to advertise his main business which he has done to the detriment of the club. Fatman had (and still has) loads of money to invest in NUFC but chose not to.
    Andy Carrolls cash was trousered by the Fatman due to him being a Greedy tight Arsed F*cker. Don’t try to spout the poor hard done by Ashley shite.

  • IntravenusMP

    Ollie Burtons Grandad Gosh, I’m sure Ollie Burton is going to turn out as an articulate young man with you as a mentor.

    Yes, Ashley bought NUFC as a vehicle for SD to promote itself. Is that a probelm? 

    Andy Carroll money went into NUFC’s bank account.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    God not only a Fatman apologist but a smug patronising arse as well.
    If you can’t see the problem in Fatman using NUFC as an advertising hording for Shite Direct and not investing in the club then you can add idiot to your credentials.
    Either that or Mackem wind up merchant!

  • LeazesEnder

    Ollie Burtons Grandad Ask her about the Andy Carroll money that went to Aspers Casino for a night out!

  • IntravenusMP

    Ollie Burtons Grandad I did not claim that falling short on invesment in the playing squad was OK, I’m just questioning why it’s wrong for Ashley to use NUFC as a vehicle for SD advertising.

    The purchases last summer should have been good enough to compete, we pay the 7th highest wages in the league and that should get a top 7 finish. I’d have liked a centre forward and a centre half and bemused by the loss of Santon BUT tyou also need to look at facts.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Plain wrong and you keep peddling that line. Barclays did not ask for any immediate repayment from H&S. 
    Ashley had to pay up simply because the clause in the mortgage and overdraft required immediate payment on sale, or change of ownership of the Club. 
    Ashley himself, on Sunday and in reply to the financial position if he hadn’t bought – was simply “it wouldn’t be as strong”. No hysterics about administration or going bust this time.
    Administration was an Ashley spin, picked up and spun further by media and posters like yourself.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Ollie Burtons Grandad Its wrong because its a PLC he advertises for free and defends that by suggesting it”s fair recompense – for the ‘interest’ free loans.
    They are neither interest free therefore, nor loans, as it never decreases.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP I think you have misunderstood. Barclays had not started to foreclose but they were not lending anymore and NUFC needed more money for unpaid transfers and wages. NUFC needed to get some money from somewhere and H&S had already failed to raise funds from other sources. 

    In the absence of external funding, Barclays were making moves to force H&S’s hand and the outcome would have been similar to that of Liverpool where Hicks & Gillette were forced out by RBS protecting their exposure.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Ollie Burtons Grandad so SD (MA owns 55%) gets free advertising worth around £3-4m from NUFC (MA owns 100%). 

    So at worst, NUFC are paying 2-3% on a £129m loan. 

    It’s not decreasing but surely you’d complain if it were?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill So you keep saying. But of course you have no proof of that whatsoever do you? Nope, just the Ashley spin which started that folklore off.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP It’s a fairly logical conclusion in comparison to anything else cooked up on these pages.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill Why, coz Ashely said so when first protests started in 2008?
    There’s no evidence otherwise.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill Ollie Burtons Grandad Once again, can you prove a figure like that?
    This is not just pitch-side advertising, it is wall to wall throughout the ground as well as that.
    Simple question, whatever the sum, is why does SD get anything for free at all? They have provided nothing, not one penny for that benefit.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Ollie Burtons Grandad I’m taking a comparable club’s figures. Everton & Villa are both similar sized clubs to NUFC with similar exposure – their advertising income is £3-4m.

    Why does SD get it free? Well, so SD  is 55% owned by MA and listed as a PLC. The city do not like majority owners benefiting personally from a business so if NUFC (100% owned by MA) were charging for SD advertising AND it was claimed SD do not get good value, it opens a can of worms.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill not sure of your question

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill Ollie Burtons Grandad Pitch side advertising. Not wall to wall, on the roof and everywhere advertising!

    Considering the free advertising undoubtedly benefits SD (‘significantly’ as Ashley stated in the AGM, reported on by Simon Bird of The Mirror) then Ashley personally benefits. Does he not?

    Can;t have it both ways. 

    Just like him writing to RFC as MASH – but while representing SD business. Your argument is utterly flawed and naive.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill Show us links to evidence that Barclays were going to foreclose on H&S, or that they would not extend further credit if required.

  • Demented_Man

    Smashing article, but what figures will always fail to capture is the extent to which Ashley has sucked the life and soul out of this club.
    Never mind the size of the crowd, just take notice of the apathy, resigned attitude and sheer indifference of much of the SJP crowd these days.  That hasn’t occurred by accident, and it isn’t the same everywhere.  It is a direct result of the club being used by Ashley as a mere shop front with zero ambition and zero pride.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    Toontastic Ashley likes to keep us guessing I think.  £11m of debt was paid off last time the club could afford it.  Accounts have always said another £18m is repayable within 12 months, but Ashley has never exercised that option. Even when we report exactly £18m profits.  Why take money out a few years ago, but not this year?  

    Could have been to cover the cost of relegation if it happened, or it could be to cover a summer spending spree, or like Arsenal it might just be left in place to keep the financial outlook rosy, the net debt figure offsets the amounts anyway.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    Paul Down under No, the SD stadium advertising is a monstrosity and I hate it, but there wasn’t much advertising in place there before.  Only the pitch side boards were sold previously and the money the club get from those are pittance in all honesty, the advertising up in the stands even less.

    SD being a commercial partner on the boards behind players and managers during interviews is something the likes of Wonga and Barclays pay handsomely for though.  SD don’t.

  • MikeAshleyLies

    Demented_Man Sunday showed what little it takes to re-awaken that spirit too.  Just a team trying to win a game, rather than too scared of defeat to attack in numbers.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Ollie Burtons Grandad

    The pitchside advertising is the valuable advertising. The roof wasn’t that important, we’re not exactly on the Heathrow flight path £3-4m is comparable. 

    Ashley personally benefits with his 55% shareholding of SD. If SD paid say £5m , other shareholders would rightly point the finger and suggest they may be netter off advertising at Villa.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP I am not going to post correspondence on here and I think you know that. 

    It would be best if you look at the accounts at y/e 2007 & then 2008 which gives you a better idea.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill Ollie Burtons Grandad Nowt to do with flight paths. His signage is placed at every single camera angle available, and used, when the games are televised.

    Ashley benefits because his share holding increases in value along with the worth of SD. They after all pride themselves on spending very little on advertising, and who could blame them with the exposure they get here and elsewhere?

    SD only sponsor (paid for) one Club (Oldham) yet advertise in all of the Clubs they have retail deals with. Us, RFC, Sheff Weds, Pompey, Carlisle, and of course Oldham.

    Once again – I ask you why SD should get anything for free from NUFC let alone the saturated monopoly they have here?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill You won’t because you can’t and that’s because you have nothing.

    We’ve had this discussion before. I have all the accounts from 06 to present and nowhere in any of them does it support the theory that NUFC under H&S were going to have their credit withdrawn or curtailed.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Ollie Burtons Grandad Why did yo mention the roofs if it’s nowt to do with flight paths? 

    Perimeter advertising is the advertising for the tv cameras. 

    SD get the advertising for free as that is why MA bought the club. He doesn’t charge SD (IMHO) for the reasons given many many times.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP The accounts will not tell yo that credit was being curtailed but it clearly shows a weak balance sheet.

  • NottsToon

    So why did you tell him to look at the accounts then state that they would tell him nothing? I smell bull sh*t in your argument.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon The balance sheet will indicate the weakness of NUFC’s position. It will not express the bank’s unwillingness to continue facilities as when published, MA had taken over and the pressure from the creditors cleared.

  • NottsToon

    Right, so the thing you pointed him at doesn’t give him the information he asked for. Clear now.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon It does if he’s financially literate, he claims to know enough to recognise a weak balance sheet so it was a sensible place to direct him. 

    Clear now.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP NottsToon A weak balance sheet does not equate to proving what you claimed once again (and have done for months) that Barclays refused to extend further finance to H&S.

    As I asked, prove it, or give the spin a rest.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill NottsToon I happen to know but can you prove Barclays were willing to extend further finance?

  • NottsToon

    IntravenusMP NottsToon Not at all, he asked for your evidence and you gave him your suspicion based on a balance sheet. 

    I dare say that many businesses (especially at that time), who were far less prominent than NUFC had weak balance sheets and still were advanced further credit. 

    That is my suspicion.

  • NottsToon

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill NottsToon He doesn’t really have to as he made no claim to be fair. He can have a suspicion just like you have and I have.

    Any fool can come to an internet message board and claim to “know”, but without proof it means absolutely nothing.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill nobody is going to be allowed to publish confidential correspondence to show the issues.

    Perhaps you need to take a different approach. If NUFC were a going concern ticking over nicely and producing 6 figure dividends for shareholders year on year, why were the Halls so keen to sell?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    NottsToon IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill I can’t prove Dragons or Unicorns don’t exist – does that mean there’s a chance they do?
    Same argument really – you suggest something may be true without any evidence whatsoever of it being a fact, other than media and Ashley spin and your own cryptic message of being in the know. Bollix

  • NottsToon

    IntravenusMP NottsToon Sickandtiredstill I don’t think anyone claimed that they were ticking over nicely either. We are saying that we don’t know what the full situation was, but we speculate that it was nowhere near as bad as you suggest.

    To be clear, you are the only one making unsubstantiated claims here.

  • NottsToon

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill NottsToon Once again, no one has made a claim other than you, which conveniently you cannot prove.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    NottsToon IntravenusMP And according to a very timely Guardian piece of reporting in 2010, Ashley used exactly the same method, when we were relegated. He borrowed (secured) against deferred transfer fees as well as mortgaging everything to cover an almost 48 million overdraft he racked up.

    Intravenus has been provided with this before, yet doesn’t seem to find any irony in his argument.

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jun/02/newcastle-debt-banks

  • NottsToon

    Sickandtiredstill NottsToon IntravenusMP Oblivious.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill NottsToon It’s Ashley’s spin that we were losing money? Ashley’s spin that wages were 75% of turnover? 

    You have a business that on paper is technically bankrupt, just lost a case with the VAT man seeing it owing millions (not provided for), £8.5m (10% of turnover) in interest costs, negative interest cover, negative CURRENT ratio and  no liquidity.

    Given the above, you seem to think it unlikely that the bank were in any way agitating for external funding? 

    I have to say, even if it’s just an educated hunch, it would appear my summary is rather more plausible than yours.

  • NottsToon

    Sickandtiredstill NottsToon IntravenusMP So, to recap. A random bloke wanders onto a supporters forum and claims to have inside knowledge of a scenario that has only ever been suggested before by the owner. A man who has been proven to lie to fans, the media and even his own employees in a legal proceeding.

    When the bloke is challenged on his argument his references some mystical proof that he conveniently cannot share, and then wonders why his argument is not believed.

    Sound accurate?

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill NottsToon IntravenusMP The difference being is Ashley was in a position to service this debt and had his own incentive to keep the business running. H&S didn’t have any lending in the club so the bank were exposed. 

    H&S could have walked away from NUFC and may well see their shares as worthless but had just taken millions in divis so were sitting pretty.

  • NottsToon

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill NottsToon I don’t believe that anyone said the bank weren’t agitating for external funding either. Once again, you are the one making claims here.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    NottsToon Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Does for me. Had enough of this pointless self concocted rambling.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill OK, so given the situation we were in and that the likes of Polygon or Belgravia had backed out, you don’t think for a minute that perhaps there may be some truth in what I’m saying?

    Come off it!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP NottsToon Sickandtiredstill Sounds as likely as Ashley selling his 250 million ‘investment’ for 80 million to Barry Moat.

  • NottsToon

    I think that this situation, and the situation when Ashley arrived were engineered by one man. Just as he has done to several other businesses.
    The key word there is “think”, I don’t claim to have any proof and I’m yet to see yours.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon Jeez, so Ashley engineered the losses, outrageous wages, stupid transfer fees before he arrived? You are not even thinking.

  • NottsToon

    What I’m not doing is making false claims of knowledge.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon you certainly are not, well done.

  • IntravenusMP

    NottsToon Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP I’m not claiming inside knowledge. I know a little more than most perhaps but even without inside knowledge your position doesn’t add up.

    Balance sheet was technically bankrupt, wages ratio was scary, interest cover was scary, VAT case meant we had to cough up six figures, merchandise was hardly breaking even with the brother of a director charging £1/3m for warehousing, a licence fee for naming rights was being paid to a player who had finished playing 2 years hence. It was a mess. 

    Surely you can see this.

  • Chemical Dave

    Intravenus gulper will swallow owt.

  • ToonBano

    I will throw another question straight back by saying every other owner of football clubs do whT I suggested with turning debt into equity…..so why are they doing this but Ashley isn’t.
    It ultimately comes down to the owners intentions. Other owners are focused on the club they own being successful and any such notion of getting their money back is a secondary thought if not the last thought on their mind. Ash is the opposite. Which is why we will never be successful. End of story

  • IntravenusMP

    ToonBano They have done so in order to get around the FFP rules. NUFC sadly do not have a lot of European action right now and in any case, there is no need to do so given the finances. 

    IF Ashley wants to take £129m out of the club, he can do so tax free as he paid tax on the money he put in. If he transfered it to equity and then fancied taking a few mill, he pays 45% tax. Not a good idea. 

    If he sells the club, it makes no difference so why bother.

  • ToonBano

    All Ash and his croneys have been spewing for years is they want to fit into FFP. That was there reasoning for not investing in the team. Or excuse I should say.
    Sunderland owner has swapped the debt took on into equity. Why has he done that?
    Let’s stick to blatant facts. Ash has failed the club by not investing in the team. He could show his ambition by buying new players and basically ‘paying for it’, in very loose terms but swapping the debt. The big clubs do it, even mackema have done it.
    No ambition. No class.

  • IntravenusMP

    ToonBano It makes no difference, there is no reason to do it, it’s not very tax efficient and NUFC are well inside FFP.

  • Toon Magpie

    I am not an expert at accountancy but hasn’t he got debt under control like conservatives have got debt under control even though it increases because things are more expensive these days. So he has it under control so there is no worry there.

  • IntravenusMP

    Toon Magpie He’s done it a little better than the govt! It’s a good analogy, when both MA & the coalition took over , debt was high and rising because costs were out of control. MA got the costs under control (the govt are only a third of the way there) but it means that cashflows are now in the right direction with NUFC and the govt, well, the cashflows are not as bad as they were. 

    Now the financial situation is very much under control, it’s time to push the boat out a little and get competing again.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Toon Magpie So he replaced the external borrowing with his own money, saving the Club (but of course himself too) from paying interest  – a widely debated topic given the free SD advertising angle to that.
    However, he then not only fails to grow Club revenue streams, in real terms they are worse than before he arrived. This Club’s financial success has more to do with Sky than it has Ashley and that is the one revenue stream he can get absolutely no thanks for.
    Push the boat out and get competing again? The Club has not competed since the day he walked in the door. 
    When exactly do you decide enough is enough, instead of fooling yourself yet again into believing he is offering something different? He lied, live on tv on Sunday, and yet a lot of you suddenly feel optimistic as a result of that?

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill we’ll go around in circles on this one. I say that the club was in trouble, I say there was serious trouble with wages and costs running far too high, you say all was dandy and Hall just wanted to retire. 

    As for competing since he walked in the door, for 10 years we’ve finished 7th,13th, 12th, 18th, 1st (Ch), 12th, 5th, 16th,10th 11th – we were hardly pushing up trees before Ashley arrived either. 

    If the financial success was all down to Sky, every club would be in profit for the last 5 years.

    I’m not going to suggest everything is rosey but you just have to put everything in perspective.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill No, we won’t agree on that. I certainly never said things were fine and dandy – only that you have no proof Barclays were not going to provide further credit facilities to H&S as you keep claiming.

    We can agree that we haven’t just finished in 11th place though. 

    We can agree that we avoided relegation 2 seasons ago only in the second to last game.

    We can agree that since the PL inception, we finished outside of the top 10 six times in the 14 seasons before Ashley arrived (42% or so).

    We can agree that since Ashley arrived we have been relegated once, narrowly avoided it twice more, and finished outside the top 10 for 5 of his 8 PL seasons (62% or so).

    We can agree we had two FA Cup finals; Charity Shield; involved in Europe for 13 seasons before Ashley arrived. 
    Since, we have had one League Cup and one Europa league QF.

    That’s perspective, mate.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    IntravenusMP Sickandtiredstill sorry, add 2 FA Cup SF’s and 3 QF’s . Europe was 11 seasons out of 14.

    All before Ashley

  • NottsToon

    The best part being that you can PROVE all of that.

  • IntravenusMP

    Sickandtiredstill IntravenusMP Yep and we were losing money in nearly every year of those premier league years pre-Ashley. Clearly unsustainable