It is quite amazing that with Newcastle United kicking off the season in only a few hours, Mike Ashley is happy to have his own agenda put ahead of focus on the team.

To counter Rafa Benitez’ (and Newcastle fans’) accusations of being let down this summer, with promises clearly not kept (so far…), the club’s owner has done a big interview with Sky Sports, with now more quotes released on Sunday morning ahead of it being screened in full tonight.

With Sky Sports’ David Craig being so close to Mike Ashley and his people, this is obviously not an ‘interview’, simply a PR exercise for Ashley and his minions.

So Mike Ashley simply reads from a pre-prepared script, rather than answering difficult questions.

The tone of the quotes released this morning (see below), is along the lines of admitting he has made mistakes in the past but he has learnt from them.

We have heard this all before, several times. It is simply an exercise in trying to deflect the public and media away from what are the real issues.

Mike Ashley is making possibly the biggest ‘mistake’ of his entire 10+ years at Newcastle at this very moment in time. However, instead of properly backing Rafa Benitez, in quotes already released from this new interview, Ashley has instead chosen to make out that Rafa is simply being unreasonable, talking of not being able to finance £200m Neymar level deals or just hand Benitez £150m to spend this summer – when the reality is Rafa has been blocked from even bringing in free agents and loan signings he had set up.

Ashley claims he made a mistake sacking Sam Allardyce…it was one of the few things he got right!

The implication clearly is that it was then supposedly a bad thing for the club that Keegan arrived. It was of course the exact opposite, Keegan got far better results and performances from a team that had been sinking fast under Fat Sam. Ashley of course failing to mention that the big ‘mistake’ was him misleading Kevin Keegan, as was proved in court, and undermining him with Dennis Wise – basically forcing Keegan out of the club because he wanted to do things properly.

Ashley also talks of how when in 2013 he and the club announced a priority that was a brand new training complex that was key to Newcastle being able to compete in the future. Mike Ashley doesn’t then explain exactly why four years later this essential new training complex hasn’t even had a brick laid, just that ‘within 18 months the wheels had come off’.

He owns the club, he runs it and employs the people inside it – it is his choice that the new training ground hasn’t happened yet, just as it is his decision that his own private development on land opposite the Gallowgate is currently going ahead with offices, shops and student accommodation which will prevent St James Park ever being expanded in the future – plus the lease on the land was part of the football club when he bought it, yet this development won’t help the club in any way.

Ashley also blames the fans for not being able to raise money through naming rights for St James Park. Well the fact that he renamed as Sports Direct Arena with not a penny going into NUFC may have something to do with that.

He talks of making a mistake thinking ‘the right thing to do was to generate as much money as possible for Newcastle’.

How does that square with handing over the massive promotion of Sports Direct and the rest of his retail empire via Newcastle United for nothing???

What SD gets is far beyond just the advertising hoardings on match days, the value is huge as SD is included in every photo shoot, press conference, video footage, new player signing, stadium tours, and even Rafa and the team were sent to do an appearance at the SD store in Dublin last month.

Last year Newcastle United stated that Sports Direct were going to start and pay a market rate for all of this, yet it still hasn’t happened, why wasn’t Mike Ashley asked that…?

Mike Ashley talking to Sky Sports:

“Very naïve in the beginning. In the middle I thought I was just about beginning to get my arms around it a little bit, we had a manager on an eight year contract (Alan Pardew).

“We had the finance right, talked about investing in the training ground and the academy, we had a strategy, buying young talent and developing.

“That was around 2013, 2014, going along quite well, and then within 18 months the wheels had come off, going back to really having to start at the beginning again.

“I probably rushed in too early. The first thing, letting Sam Allardyce go, I was probably too keen to get going and make a difference, and I was a bit naïve about how football worked.

“The first thing you feel is stupidity, because as soon as you know the hindsight of something, you know what you were doing wrong.

“For example, I thought it was the right thing to do was to generate as much money as possible for Newcastle, so when people say to me: ‘Whatever you do on an interview do not talk about changing the name of St James’ Park!’ Well I’m me, and I’m going to talk about making an error, and I should not have changed the name of St James’ Park. I should not have done that.

“Football is not all about making money and reinvesting it into football clubs, it has a very strange balance to it. I wanted to get naming rights, get money in and invest it into the club.

“The reality is, the vast majority of the Geordie fans would rather have the name of St James’ Park and finish maybe one or two places lower in the table, because they want to keep it special.

“You begin to learn that the special side of Newcastle means a little bit more than the ultimate end performance on the pitch.”

“I actually understand how cross the fans were. If I was a fan, would I have been as upset as they were? I would probably have been worst!

“It wasn’t acceptable what happened at Newcastle United Football Club, but of course I never did it on purpose. There was no gain for me at all to get certain things wrong.”



  • anyobrien

    He’s an absolute clown

  • East Durham Mag

    Lying fat b*stard.

  • Leazes Ender

    Ashley said……’The reality is, the vast majority of the Geordie fans would rather have the name of St James’ Park and finish maybe one or two places lower in the table, because they want to keep it special’…..

    Well there you have your mission statement….. Investment in the team equates to final position’…….. that’s moneyball!

    It begs the question (which wasn’t asked)…..

    …….’Why have you positioned your club at fifteenth under the best manager you’ve had knowing it means a relegation struggle, when MASH holdings have over £500 million in cash?’

  • Michael Dobson

    Disappointed with the Mag running this on the first day of the season Ashley hasn’t done right by us but Sky dripping poison bit by bit to bring us down am used to. But the Mag should not be joining in on the day of our first game surly!

    • Salty

      The Mag appears to have had an anti Toon agenda for years. Majority of fans stopped buying the printed version because of this. Would be interesting to know how many people now read it online, I wish I would stop doing so! Unfortunately it just feeds those with the same anti Toon views, who at some time let slip that they haven’t been to games for Many years.

      • Damon Horner

        See when the first match article appears. We’ve so far had Squad numbers, Rafa vs Ashley and Ashley interview.

        • TheFatController

          In fairness, the Mag is reporting on the club. And the owner has done his first interview for a year.

          On the day of the first game.

          With nothing positive to add on the footballing front.

          So, a rare and uninspiring owner interview on the first weekend of the season is not to he covered by the Mag? If they do it’s their fault, not Ashley’s for choosing the timing of the interview?

          Wow… I agree the Mag had a negative slant but on this the blame lies elsewhere for any negativity being reported. You have to be fair on that.

          • Damon Horner

            I do agree with it that this one needed reporting, yes.

            I have a feeling though he is intending to make a PR attempt to get fans onside for the new season… Don’t think it’s going to work though.

          • TheFatController

            He should just talk about having a vision – all people can take out of it is ‘he’s no good at football and doesn’t want to own the club anymore’

            Positive vibes abound.

          • Zin

            Aww poor mike, he has no money and is a reluctant football club owner

            #PrayforMike

          • TheFatController

            It’s a good job Leicester didn’t have Mike’s upbeat attitude to breaking into the Top 6 two years ago ….

          • Damon Horner

            I don’t think he should talk at all really, he spoke about vision against West Ham.

            I think fans want to see action and/or change. He’s trying to justify the way things are but as you say he is coming across as clueless.

            It’s certainly no secret he doesn’t want to own the club though.

          • Zin

            Thats what he says. truth is probably nearer he is happy to bounce between divisions

          • Zin

            He does have a vision but if he shared it the fans would be in uproar. Maximum advertising exposure Minimum Football outlay, yoyo is acceptable

          • Guest 2

            Another 5 year vision perhaps? We’ve had two and look where they got us.

          • Guest 2

            He has a vision, every day. His fat gut and Pound signs before his eyes.

          • Guest 2

            Methinks with the ongoing penny pinching he’s making a another pitch aimed at outside investors or possible new owners. One thing you can be assured of – when Ashley chooses to go on the record it’s for his benefit, no one else’s.

          • Damon Horner

            You might be right but thinking about buying business in general, who’d purchase a business for £400mil when performance is questionable, profits are down and the “customers” aren’t happy?

            It would start with addressing the above so sadly I can’t see that happening within the next two years.

          • Guest 2

            And a business with a guaranteed minimum income now of 100 million (PL of course) just from tv.
            I’m not aware of any business owner (other than failed ones) who purposefully choose not to build their revenue streams and instead give part away to another company’s shareholders

          • Michael Dobson

            The negative heading at the top of the article building up a fight between Rafa and Ashley is not in our interest on the day of our first game. Any real Toon fan can see that!

          • TheFatController

            It was for Ashley to allay the belief they are clashing, using Sky’s platform, not for The Mag to whitewash the belief, I think would be fair to say…

          • TheFatController

            And the Mag isn’t building up the fight, it has its own momentum sadly. Google ‘mike Ashley’ in an hour and it won’t be just one article, solely from the Mag, listed suggesting Ashley isn’t good at handling either his manager or his PR ..

          • Zin

            The fight has been going on since the end of last season, ignoring it will not make it go away

          • Guest 2

            Been going on since he dumped on KK and brought in his band of clowns.

          • Guest 2

            Like reality hasn’t reached you yet?

      • East Durham Mag

        Perhaps you mistake anti Toon views with anti Mike Ashley views? I hope Newcastle have a great season but at the same time wish Mike Ashley would sell up.

        • Damon Horner

          Think that the anti-Ashley and anti-club clouding is quite prevalent from all angles. I think most fans want what you’ve said.

        • Geordiegiants

          Or drop down dead.

        • Salty

          I think both are becoming one and the same. Too much re-writing of history. No fee paid for advertising? How much did shepherd and hall put in? And the latter maestros took the club for millions in salaries and dividends and had the club mortgaged to the hilt to sign Owen. Ashley has certainly made mistakes but one of them was appointing the saviour KK who had been out of the game too long and lost touch- remember his conversation on transfers with Chris Mort when he wanted to sign Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell! Mort realised they’d made a mistake but unfortunately turned to Dennis Wise to help spot more realistic transfer targets. Mind he did then bring in Jonas and Colo.

          • East Durham Mag

            I will never believe Keegan had lost touch. He was a great footballer and manager. The out of touch b*llocks was bandied round by Ashley and his apologists because Keegan walked. He wanted to buy his own players and was lied to by Ashley (it’s Deja vu). The only man worth a jot between KK and Rafa was Chris Hughton who was treated disgracefully by Fatty and co. I would rather have Shepherd and the Hall’s than this moron and his stooges any time.

          • Salty

            That would be the keegan that walked out on the club 4 times. I loved his time as a player and first time as manager but second time was a mistake. As I said, he told Morr to go for Henry. Time with his circus in Glasgow had him out of the loop. And as for hughton, loved him. But I do know he had a 3 year contract offer on the table but after the 5-1 Mackems win demanded loads more money which cost him the contract

      • magpiefifer

        Not going to home game is anti-Ashley not anti – NUFC!!!

        • Salty

          Well if not going to games makes you happy good luck to you. There are 50000 who go to games regardless of what their views on ownership may be. Personally I was no fan of Mckeag or Seymour and that didn’t stop me going to games. Each to their own but if you don’t actually go then any opinion becomes less relevant

          • magpiefifer

            Salty – where did I say not going to SJP makes me happy!?
            As a devoted fan of NUFC for over 60 years I won’t accept accusations that my opinions are less relevant!

      • Kneebotherm8

        The Mag’s only had an anti toon agenda for 10 years(actually it’s an anti Ashley agenda). I’m tired of some on here getting the two mixed up cos there’s a massive difference between being anti Toon and anti Ashley. I love the toon,but can’t stand Ashley.

  • Steve Pearce

    So our beloved club is a free marketing exercise for that fat bag of shyte?

    A scenario – a consortium of well heeled Newcastle supporters formulate a 5 year plan to which involves buying Gateshead football club, and slowly but surely steering it to the Premiership. Then with wise investment in players and a shiny new 60,000 seat stadium we could all go and support them and leave Jabba the hut wondering why he has no good players, an empty stadium and is in League One,,

    • Geordiegiants

      We don’t need to do it with Gateshead. The minute Rafa is gone our club will fall faster than Lawrie Macmenamie’s reputation did at Sunderland.

  • TheFatController

    I was a bit naive about how football worked …

    …so I employed Dennis Wise, Joe Kinnear, Steve MacLaren.

    football is too competitive to not employ the best qualified people. And then listen to them, or allow them to do their job treating them with the respect their qualifications deserve.

    • TheFatController

      Also, clearly our relegations are down to not making a few million each season from ground naming rights.

      So it’s the fans’ fault. Those few places higher sacrificed so we weren’t the Northern Rock / Wonga Arena.

      Where there’s blame…

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Wonga did obtain the naming rights and reverted the name to SJP as a pr exercise

        • TheFatController

          Yes, wasn’t the sum £1m? so clearly naming rights is a huge revenue source being missed out on…

        • Georgia Peter

          Porciestreet;
          I cynically believe that it was probably an unwritten stipulation that W***a didnt use the name to take the heat of Cashley.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I really don’t think think anyone anticipated an issue with Wonga until the professionally offended got going

    • Damon Horner

      Starting from Wise.. Doesn’t that prove his naivety?

      He gets by through listening to associates who know more about a particular thing than he doe, I think his problem there is largely taking to his footballing advice from Wise and failed managers like Carr rather than as you say, hiring the best possible person who understands it all.

      • Georgia Peter

        Porciestreet;
        Just proves that a little knowledge is a bad thing, and in Fatty’s case, disasterous…..!

    • Guest 2

      Don’t forget the illustrious Tony Jimenez, Derek Llambias and the latest incumbent Charnley!

      • Zin

        MIke is currently Suing Tony Jimenez for £3m he gave him to invest

        • Guest 2

          How this bloke became a multi billionaire is beyond me.

  • Zin

    So instead of backing the manager going into a tough season with limited resources, our illustrious owner decides to defend himself on TV.

  • Stephen

    Stage managed and scripted.
    Can’t work this fella out at all, remember when he turned up in The Bigg Market buying everyone drinks.
    He needs some serious PA

    • Davey drape

      only interested in himself and making money

    • Georgia Peter

      Porciestreet;
      No, He needs some serious “lead poisoning”.

  • Paul Patterson

    And you still are naïve/stupid/ignorant/greedy/clueless (delete as appropriate).

    • Georgia Peter

      Porciestreet;
      Seems like you covered most of it.

  • Leazes Ender

    Ashley…..“Football is not all about making money and reinvesting it into football clubs’…..

  • Jimblag23

    Contrived piece of 💩

    Sell the club you tub of lard.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Buy it then

      • Zin

        Makem Troll

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          The point being is that someone has to offer to buy in order for Ashley to sell. This has not happened in 10 years, 8 years of the NUST and they’ve just about raised enough money to paint a bedsheet.

          If you want rid of Mike Ashley, you will have to put together some money.

      • Guest 2

        Get back to your abacus.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          you need a buyer, not hot-air. I’ll give my £20k to a good proposal, nothing I’ve seen so far convinces me that I should gamble the kid’s inheritance.

      • Jimblag23

        Ok, give me this £10k you think I have spare.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          that’s not how it works, you go and get a job, work real hard and save some money. Otherwise, re-mortgage your home for £10 measly thousand and invest in the club.

      • Kneebotherm8

        I see fat mikes team won today.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          silly boy

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Offer to buy it, get people together and risk your own money you yellow belly

          • Kneebotherm8

            Pardon? You replying to me?

  • GToon

    Everybody makes mistakes. The problem I have with his mistakes is that a moron could have seen them coming a mile off. Any idiot could have just had a quiet word with him but, no. He just carried on regardless from the naming rights to JFK, Charnley, Shearer to Keegan etc etc and now the next mistake he is going to make is taking on Rafa, lying about funds and then Rafa will leave. He really has absolutely no idea. And all this from one of the countries most successful businessmen. Amazing.

    • East Durham Mag

      It seems to me he knows exactly what he’s doing even the so called “mistakes.” The man seems to like creating controversy and p*ssing the supporters off. He couldn’t care less about Newcastle United and has no bond/attatchment with the club or it’s supporters.

      • Leazes Ender

        Of course they were deliberate actions… remember the Llambias quote….. ‘ You havn’t seen how nasty we can be yet’…. not mistakes more like malice and self harm.

        • East Durham Mag

          Yet still some people contribute to this site and defend the regime. It’s astonishing.

          • Georgia Peter

            Porciestreet;
            As long as its an open forum my friend, I will continue to post my thoughts. You do not have to understand nor agree with them, just as I don’t with yours. However, my firm belief is that My Cashley would be of more service to NUFC as a Gargoyle at the Central. As long as he draws a breath, I will detest the fat coniving slob.
            Howaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the Lads. 2-1 will do.

          • East Durham Mag

            We’ll said. Got to agree we are all entitled to our own views.

  • Guest 2

    Spot on – and a complete failure to build commercial revenue (stll below 2007 values) , money which is outside of FFP and can be used on the team.
    Generating as much money as possible only seems to apply to himself and SD’s worth, not NUFC’s.

    • nufclad

      For example, ‘I thought it was the right thing to do was to generate as much money as possible for Newcastle’

      Can’t help but admire the sheer stones on this bloke.

      If this was true you would sell the advertising space then or pay for it.

      This is a man that has been hauled before parliment, found guilty in court,
      contributed to a business closing and has at the very best a very
      questionable moral compass.

      • Kneebotherm8

        One dodgy character is wor Mike.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I think you have misread the commercial income figures. Most is outsourced not which means the income is ‘bottom line’ not just sales revenue. I hope that makes things clearer

      • Guest 2

        Income from commercial sources. It’s less now than when he bought us, no matter where the numbers end up. And what is outsourced? Catering and of course our merchandising (and advertising one could argue).
        Unless you wish to prove we now earn more from commercial activities under Ashley?

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Catering and merchandise are the obvious ones. The income is less as we’re effectively selling a licence which is cost free. Before, if we sold £600k in beer and hot dog sales were £400k the income is £1m but the costs would be taken out of it, Raw materials say £400k and staff £200k so out of the income of £1m, the profit is £400k. Now we just take a fee for allowing the caterer to set up shop in the stadium and use the logo on the kiosks of say £400k, therefore the ‘income’ appears lower but the bottom line is the same and it just has taken less effort.

          • Guest 2

            Aye. Bottom line is the same. That’s the whole point. FAILURE to grow commercial revenue in a decade of his ownership. If you stopped defending the bloke you would even admit it..

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The figures are just illustrative, explaining that a lower income figure does not mean lower profit. I think with catering, the problem for NUFC has been long-standing, Freddie Fletcher complained bitterly that the ground was just too close to the town and we all have other places to go for pre-match food, drink and entertainment. It’s not like City where you can only really go to a club bar, club burger stand etc.

            NUFC made a loss on merchandise in the year before Ashley took over (in part due to bad contracts in place with the directors’ family and the floor starting to fall out of traditional retail), so some money in is better than a loss.

          • Guest 2

            Blah blah blah.
            Q: “Can I direct a question to Mr Ashley? Sports Direct now process and profit from the shirt sales and merchandising through Newcastle United, the website and the club shop. Can you explain how much this trade is worth? Is it a significant part of the business to Sports Direct and do you, Newcastle, share in that profit?

            Ashley: “I’ll only answer the same answer as I gave before.” which was – “I think I summed it all up in my previous statement. Those relationships are very beneficial to Sports Direct and its shareholders. And I think that nothing else needs to be said.”

            Very beneficial to SD and ITS shareholders.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It’s almost certainly beneficial to both parties. Sports Direct get a fee for the transaction but they are a hell of a lot more efficient than NUFC and Bruce Shepherd’s warehouse staff.

          • Guest 2

            Of course you’ll say that. Go ahead and tell us all how beneficial it is for the Club then – in monetary terms?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Well, we can’t make a loss on merchandise for a start.

          • Guest 2

            Not making any profit isn’t a loss? Man, you are so far up Ashley’s hoop i’m surprised you make it out for air.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The club are guaranteed profit regardless under the out-sourcing rules.

            I don’t know the detail but the old contract with Bruce Sheperd was not a good one. If there is one thing MA is good at is sportswear retailing so using Sd facilities makes sense.

          • Guest 2

            Yes, you don’t know the details. Stop alluding that it must be financially beneficial therefore. All you do is pontificate with your own supportive opinions of Ashley.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            and don’t pretend that we’re not doing as well as 2007. For now accept that you are not comparing apples with apples.

          • Guest 2

            Pretend? Relegated twice during Ashleys ownership and narrowly avoided 3 more times. Yeah, apart from bean counting the club has come on leaps and bounds eh?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Your claim is about commercial income and I’ve tried to explain where your assumption is wrong. Relegation is a different matter.

            The club was close to collapse in 2007, relegation was the least of the problems.

          • Guest 2

            That chestnut has been laid to rest also – except with die hard Ashley-ites like yourself.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            like many things, the myth is established by repetition and ignorance

          • Guest 2

            Indeed, repeated by cronies like you to like minded ignoramuses

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            But you were the one who made the incorrect statement?

            I was just trying to correct your assumption, if you want to carry on getting angry about something that hasn’t happened, that’s your lookout

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Whenever David Craig is involved in anything to do with Newcastle United you just know there is something dodgy going on for a start !
    The man is a little snivelling kowtowing coward who has toed Ashley’s line to the letter in the past and is a right snake to boot.

    Ashley did his usual patronizing and way wide of the mark view on all things Newcastle and wasn’t asked any decent questions.
    We all know what his mistakes and faux-pas are by now so everything is old hat in the scheme of things.
    A lot of empty rhetoric which was years late with his apologies to Allardyce, Keegan etc
    What gets me is why Ashley is never asked questions about the clubs future going forward and how he is going to grow the clubs revenue where we can compete more with other clubs ?
    All you ever get from him is a very nihilistic here and now view which is pessimistic and all doom and gloom.

  • Kneebotherm8

    His regret in sacking Allardyce,in retrospect for him,is Allardyce’s record in subsequently winning numerous relegation battles with various clubs. Premiership survival is Allardyce’s forte and that would have done Ashley nicely these past 10 years.