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Opinion

Still Newcastle fans gullible enough to believe Mike Ashley after these past 10 years…

4 years ago
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So the Chronicle reports the Mike Ashley decision to speak with Sky Sports as “extraordinary” and “sensational”.

Why? You only have to go back to May 2015 to see our ‘publicity shy’ owner speaking openly, before the critical match against West Ham, to…Sky Sports.

What is more “extraordinary” and “sensational” is the fact that Ashley feels the need to speak with anyone to clarify this summer’s transfer activity, or lack of it, at Newcastle United.

Following the official club statement on 10 May, which quoted Ashley as saying “I’ve confirmed to Rafa and Lee that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales & other means in order to build for next season”, the media published outrageous numbers of up to  £100m in the ‘war chest’.  Call me cynical, but really??

Fittingly the statement came just over 10 years after Ashley began his bid to take control of the Club – 10 years of mismanagement, half-truths and the occasional whopper.

“Every last penny”.  Thanks Mike, but forgive me for reading between the lines. And, unfortunately, what I saw then, is what I see now.

“Promotion” saw the Club bank the princely sum of £7m, with the £41m parachute payment received during the summer of 2016 a distant memory having been spent on building the squad for the Championship.  (SAFC’s £93.5m ‘prize money’ for finishing bottom of the Premier League whilst we were winning the Championship, illustrating the real cost of Ashley’s folly with the Wally.)

“Player sales” this close season have amounted to £12m, with the likes of Riviere, Saivet, Hanley, Lazaar, Krul, Colback & Mitro clinging to the prized cash cow for all their worth. That worth, optimistically, is around £40m, but, realistically, it was never going to happen.

As for “other means”, we have seen the Club announce a £6m a year shirt sponsorship, but fail to land a sleeve sponsor, and announce 40k Season Ticket sales. Just one problem with the Season Ticket sales, many, like mine, will be subject to the long running price freeze, and four less home games this season will see associated revenues fall.

So, that £100m war chest is currently looking more like £25m. Yes, the central payment from the Premier League of £35-40m increases that number, but this will obviously, and inevitably, be eroded by increased wages & running costs.

With £33m already spent, it is clear to see that the chest doesn’t have the muscle to fight with the ‘big boys’. If we are still 2-3 players short, the numbers indicate that any further incoming signings will be sub-£10m, and potentially sub-standard, unless we can shift some of the dead wood.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone, least of all to any long-standing supporters who have often seen that life at the Newcastle United ‘is not like it said in the brochure’.

The only surprises then is that there are those still gullible enough to believe that we were ever going to spend £75m let alone £100m.  Those who after 2 relegations, JFK and the Poison Dwarf, the SD Arena & other debacles over the last 10 years, still take any notice of what Ashley, or any of his cronies, have to say.

And if Rafa genuinely believed that he would have anything like a reasonable budget to try to make us competitive…God help us all.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

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