Nothing will ever change for me where Mike Ashley and Newcastle United are concerned.
He has presided over 10 years of zero ambition on the pitch and a very complex (and negative for the football club) relationship off it, with his retail empire.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but say that it would be brilliant entertainment to be in court this week, where a business associate is trying to get £14m from the Sports Direct supremo, claiming a verbal contract was agreed during a drinking session.
As you can see from these court exchanges (below) earlier today (Wednesday), Mike Ashley was in outrageous form, he just loves rubbing up against the establishment and really doesn’t give a whatever when it comes to giving answers in court.
In fact, the only thing that is potentially more comical than Mike Ashley, is the current fascination the Portuguese sports media have for Newcastle United.
I have come to instantly disregard any transfer story I read that stems from reports in Turkey about a player moving to or from Newcastle. No player (to my knowledge) has gone to or from Newcastle/Turkey, at least not in the 22 years since Barry Venison was recruited by Graeme Souness at Galatasaray.
However, this particular transfer window has seen the Portuguese media come from nowhere to be head and shoulders above anybody else, including Turkey, when it comes to Newcastle United and ridiculous transfer stories.
In the case of Portugal, I remember Sir Bobby signing Hugo Viana and Helder coming on loan for a few months in 1999 and scoring against the Mackems but…after that I’m struggling.
It has been laughable the number of exclusives in the Portuguese newspapers, the typical story being a big money offer for one of Benfica’s reserves. Andreas Samaris has struggled to get his game the past two years and only started nine league matches in the season just ended, yet Newcastle allegedly offered over £17m for the unwanted 28 year old midfielder, which would have been a new NUFC transfer record.
That though pales into insignificance with Wednesday’s exclusive involving Bas Dost.
Bas Dost is like a family friend to us, first linked with a Newcastle move over five years ago when he was in Holland at Heerenveen and then pretty much every single transfer window since, including his four seasons at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, the striker only starting 37 league games there in his final three years.
Moving to Sporting Lisbon last summer for £8m Bas Dost has scored a load (34) of goals in the very low standard Portuguese league.
The 28 year striker who has started only three games for Holland, has seen his value remarkably rise according to today’s Portuguese exclusive, as well as Mike Ashley’s willingness to not just break Newcastle’s transfer record but smash it into tiny pieces.
The Portuguese media claiming that Newcastle have offered, don’t laugh, £35m for Bas Dost!
Newcastle allegedly offering to more than double their long standing transfer (paying) record and the forward’s value increasing more than four times over in 12 months, simply because of scoring goals in the Mickey Mouse Portuguese league.
Read the Mike Ashley stuff below and try and decide which is more amusing…
Oscar Williams-Grut who was Tweeting from the courtroom as Mike Ashley was quizzed on Wednesday:
Accompanied by PR man and right hand man Keith Bishop. They have headed into private consultation room.
QC: it’s fair to describe Sports Direct as your company isn’t it?
“I am not Obi Wan Kenobi in charge of the Death Star.”
“Stop trying to paint me as this person who decides everything at Sports Direct: it’s not correct.”
Mike Ashley says he receives emails but doesn’t send them.
QC quizzes Ashley on why no phone provided as evidence.
“I periodically lose my phone, damage my phone, have my phone stolen.
“Whatever happens to mobile phones, happens to me and mine.”
Says he has box of 50 mobiles in his office as back up, down to about 20 now
QC now moving to question of Mike Ashley doing business in “informal settings whilst consuming substantial amounts of alcohol.”
“Definitely not as a norm otherwise I’d have to live in the pub wouldn’t I as I’m making business decisions all day.”
“It’s very boring and lonely in Shirebrook (at SD HQ) – that’s why we go to the pub”
Now discussing meetings at members club/casino 50 St James.
Mike Ashley on Jeff Blue:
“You think that liar is more reliable than me?”
“At that time we didn’t have appropriate central London offices.”
Mike Ashley says the meetings were updates from departments. More of a tick box exercise. Says he wasn’t making decisions.
QC: Frequently consumed alcohol: agreed?
QC: Typically how much did you drink?
Mike Ashley sighs:
“If I was drinking wine with food & not beer it would probably be four beers & then wine.”
“If I stayed on beer it would probably be six beers.”
Mike Ashley on large stake in Sports Direct:
“Everybody thinks I’m just going to sell it off and go to the beach. I’m fat enough as it is.”
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