No secret that Mike Ashley has friends in the media who will back his side of any argument.

One of those is Graeme Bailey.

In the past, the former Sky Sports journalist has consistently stood up for Mike Ashley in any Newcastle United debate, particularly when his mate Graham Carr was also at the club. Often trying to portray the Ashley/Carr disastrous transfer strategy as some kind of success.

Graeme Bailey now writes for the Gambling Times, which coincidentally a certain David Craig also writes for, that being the same David Craig/’Craigie’ who conducted the embarrassing Mike Ashley ‘interview’ that appeared on Sky Sports.

Interestingly, in an article today for Gambling Times, Graeme Bailey launches an astonishing attack on Premier League club owners for undermining their manager in the transfer market this summer.

Amusingly, it is Sullivan & Gold and Slaven Bilic he has written about, not Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez….

In 2016/17  Rafa Benitez produced a £40m net transfer profit, whilst Slaven Bilic had a net spend of £40m in 2016/17 (gross spending of £75m).

This summer West Ham have spent around £41m and recouped £23m, meaning a net spend of £18m, whilst Newcastle have a net spend of only £11.5m.

Bilic’ comments though don’t really tell the whole truth, because as well as big money deals for Arnautovic (£24m) and Hernandez (£16m), West Ham have also allowed him to bring in players such as Joe Hart on loan and Zabaleta on a free.

These last two are exactly the kind of signings Rafa Benitez has been blocked from doing, due to the fact that they predictably come with very high wages. Which of course is also the case with Hernandez and Arnautovic, an unwillingness to pay market level wages, just as big a hindrance at Newcastle as the failure to compete (with Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth, West Brom etc etc) on transfer fees.

The comments made today by Graeme Bailey about the situation at West Ham beggars belief, especially when you see below what he has said in recent months about Newcastle United and the position he takes on Mike Ashley & Rafa Benitez.

Graeme Bailey writing in the Gambling Times – 2 September 2017:

Anyone who follows West Ham United with any interest, will know that Slaven Bilic is under pressure.

The Hammers have made indeed made a poor start to the season – no getting away form the fact, and indeed Bilic could be to blame.

But how on earth can any manager work with a pair of owners like David Sullivan and David Gold.

The pair of them are everything that is bad about the modern game.

Let’s take the transfer window for example, without going into detail – they failed to sign William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon for numerous reasons – but it is safe to say it was a failure within the West Ham hierarchy to get the deal done.

But then in order to cover his own back, Sullivan attempts to throw Bilic under the bus by stating that he turned down the chance to sign Renato Sanches and Grzegorz Krychowiak – who subsequently joined Premier League rivals Swansea and West Brom.

“Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has,” opined Sullivan.

“As a board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”

But you have to ask yourself why? Why would a chairman do this? Easy answer – self publicity. Sullivan thinks the West Ham fans would think bad of him for not signing a player they want, so what to do…blame the manager.

Chairmen and owners should be seen and heard when necessary, but constant blabbering to all sections of the media just cheapens any club that do this. Both David’s Gold and Sullivan, think they are men of the people, that they are beloved.

Well Mr Sullivan, you are wrong – the West Ham fans are not stupid, they can see through you shameless self publicity.

So what if Bilic did say no, why make the public – lets see what Bilic says about the players that Sullivan said no to.

If Sullivan wants rid of Bilic, fair enough – just do it, or say that – but these underhand tactics are just beyond belief – it highlights just how clueless the owners of West Ham are and how without any sort of class they are.

Shame on you Mr Sullivan…Slaven Bilic is a West Ham legend, don’t forget that – it is something you will never be!

Graeme Bailey writing in the Gambling Times – 5 February 2017:

Rafa Benitez wants to run Newcastle United, which is admirable but maybe he should concentrate on giving the club some success first – something which he is yet to do.

Benitez came in late last season and oversaw their relegation to the Championship, armed with the best squad in the division and then a dozen signings to boot – is it unreasonable to ask him get on and secure promotion? No.

So why throughout January do we hear Benitez bemoaning United’s spending? Early in the month owner Mike Ashley sat down with the manager and director Lee Charnley and vented his anger at the senior management at the state of both the squad and their season.

Ashley, and rightfully so, believes the current squad is ‘miles away’ from being a Premier League one and on top of that feels that a host of the summer signings were very poor.

With that Ashley has demanded his transfer supremo Graham Carr – who was concentrating on foreign scouting for the last 8 months or so – is brought back into the decision making process in order to try and get their business plan back on track.

And Newcastle fans have reacted with anger at Ashley and Carr again being in control – but the Magpies supremo knows he will have to spend in excess of £100million on squad improvements this summer as promotion does look firmly on the cards. However, if you are spending sums like that you cannot be wasting it.

Benitez needs to stop questioning Ashley, he will not win that war. Yes the fans love the Spaniard, but don’t forget who brought him in and his huge wages.

Ashley has every right to question what has been going on at his club – they could and should be dominating the Championship, but they are far from it.

Benitez was demanding the signing of Andros Townsend which caused most of the frustration in January – he wanted Ashley to give Palace a £2million profit on a player who has shown no form whatsoever since leaving Newcastle – so rather than saying why didn’t Ashley sign him, the question should be why did Benitez think that they should be over-paying for someone who in no way merits such a fee. The failure of the deal had nothing to do with Carr, or indeed anyone at Newcastle – they showed good business sense by not over-paying for a player, who they know the value of.

If a deal is there to be done, it will be done – but as it should be, only for the right terms.

Let’s get this straight, Benitez is a brilliant coach – he is at one of the biggest club’s in England, and if he can get things right on the pitch, then there is little doubt he will be backed off it. If things do click, then Newcastle could and should be dining at the top table of not just English football but European football, sooner rather than later.

Graeme Bailey writing in the Gambling Times – 9 May 2017:

Newcastle fans should thank Mike Ashley not call for his head

Despite financing another Newcastle United promotion back to the Premier League – Mike Ashley is again being cast as the ‘bad guy’ in the soap opera that St James’ Park is constantly immersed in.

Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle to the title – which is an achievement, but this is hardly Bournemouth or Burnley making to the Premier League, this is the biggest club, with the best squad and the biggest budget making it.

Benitez is in a strong position, of sorts, given he has the fans backing 100 per cent against his boss – yet Newcastle’s hierarchy have already made it clear that he won’t have carte blanche to do as he pleases in the transfer market this summer, but that is by no means to say that he won’t be given the finances to compete – he will.

Benitez brought in 15 players off the back of being given much more of a free reign than previous managers – but the results left a lot to be desired.

Mike Ashley made his thoughts known in January that the squad he paid to build in the previous summer, was not up to scratch.

Indeed of the 15 players (ED: Rafa only brought in 11 signings on permanent deals and Atsu on a loan) brought in, most on long-term deals – hardly any have increased in value and would give Newcastle a profit. Dwight Gayle – aside – who you could possibly make a couple of million on, the rest do not come up to scratch, and some of them have left the club dumbfounded.

…whilst Newcastle fans will be clamouring for Ashley and the club to spend £100million this summer, they need to remember just how poor state the squad is currently in.

Yes he has got some appointments wrong like Steve McClaren – no doubting that – but don’t forget who brought Rafa Benitez in!

Newcastle have an owner who refuses to mortgage the club’s future – instead they are one of the most secure well-run clubs in English football, yet the fans still want him out – careful what you wish for…

A few classics from above:

About West Ham –

‘lets see what Bilic says about the players that Sullivan said no to’

‘in order to cover his own back, Sullivan attempts to throw Bilic under the bus’

‘The pair of them (Sullivan and Gold) are everything that is bad about the modern game.’

‘Well Mr Sullivan, you are wrong – the West Ham fans are not stupid, they can see through you shameless self publicity.’

‘Sullivan thinks the West Ham fans would think bad of him for not signing a player they want, so what to do…blame the manager.’

‘If Sullivan wants rid of Bilic, fair enough – just do it, or say that – but these underhand tactics are just beyond belief’

About Newcastle United:

‘Benitez came in late last season and oversaw their relegation to the Championship…’ (ED: Ashley, Carr and McClaren oversaw Newcastle’s relegation, Rafa was given 10 games to save the club after years of neglect/shambles)

‘the Magpies supremo (Mike Ashley) knows he will have to spend in excess of £100million on squad improvements this summer as promotion does look firmly on the cards. However, if you are spending sums like that you cannot be wasting it.’ (ED: Well £36m spent (only £11.5m net), so where is the rest of it????)

‘Newcastle fans should thank Mike Ashley not call for his head’

‘Despite financing another Newcastle United promotion back to the Premier League – Mike Ashley is again being cast as the ‘bad guy’’ (ED: It was Ashley who got Newcastle relegated!)

‘Newcastle have an owner who refuses to mortgage the club’s future – instead they are one of the most secure well-run clubs in English football’

‘don’t forget who brought Rafa Benitez in!’ (ED: It was Rafa who approached Newcastle)

‘Newcastle fans will be clamouring for Ashley and the club to spend £100million this summerthat is by no means to say that he (Rafa) won’t be given the finances to compete – he will. (ED: Newcastle spent only £11.5m net this summer)

‘Newcastle could and should be dining at the top table of not just English football but European football, sooner rather than later.’ (ED: When Bournemouth are spending £20m on players and Rafa spending £5m on a striker and not backed to bring in a left-back – especially with Dummett not fit until November)

‘Yes the fans love the Spaniard, but don’t forget who brought him in and his huge wages.’

‘Benitez was demanding the signing of Andros Townsend which caused most of the frustration in January – he wanted Ashley to give Palace a £2million profit… they showed good business sense by not over-paying for a player, who they know the value of.’



  • Carlo Ancelotti

    Money brings power & power brings hangers on like this idiot, i don`t think for one moment in time that Ashley has a genuine friend

    • Kneebotherm8

      Yeah,if he somehow lost his fortune overnight they’d ditch him like a piece of hot💩

      • Geordiegiants

        No doubt, he wouldn’t have a friend in the world if he went bust.

  • Clarko

    Murphy £10.17m Thauvin £9.90m
    Lejeune £9.00m Hanley £3.42m
    Atsu £6.75m Murphy £2.07m
    Joselu £4.95m De Jong £2.07m
    Manquillo £4.50m Riviere ~£1.50m
    Merino £2.70m Mbabu ~£0.50m

    Total £38.07m Total £19.46m Net spend £18.61m

    Can someone tell me where this £11.50m net spend has come from?

    • Carlo Ancelotti

      £6m installment payment from Tottenham in respect of Moussa Sissoko

      • Clarko

        I see.

    • Leazes Ender

      Sold that Kid for £6m

      • Clarko

        The Gibson transfer:
        “It is believed that an initial fee of around £1million will be paid to the Magpies but the fee could eventually rise to around £5million after instalments”

        It appears the Sissoko instalment accounts for missing money.

        • Leazes Ender

          I see

        • Kneebotherm8

          Yeah,and all are buys are cash up front whilst our sales are on an instalment basis. I’m sick of hearing this argument.

          • Clarko

            It’s information not an argument, grow up.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Selective information, as always, on your part.

          • Clarko

            How is it “selective information”, enlighten me? This when you have just stated that you’re “sick of hearing” this information, you’re being selective, you utter moron.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Fckn Ashley apologist.

          • Clarko

            There we go, nothing to say. Go and read a book.

          • Kneebotherm8

            👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

          • TheNutJob

            😂😂😂

          • Geordiegiants

            Because you make it up from “reliable sources”. Our “official” media partner the Mirror has had a reliable source, and still constantly gets it wrong, so don’t come on here stating facts and stats from sources that are made up, or from a reliable source, you boring little boy.

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            Made up information.

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            Ha ha ha lol

          • Geordiegiants

            Well come on then fact/stat boy, show me some!

          • Clarko

            What would be the point, the facts are ignored and the information is fake news. #FlatEarther

          • Geordiegiants

            What would be the point? Because you make out you know everything as a fact or stat. If you want to go on the way you do, boring the life out of everyone, and telling everyone they are wrong because you have facts/Stats to back it up, you have to be able to back it up, not come on with reliable sources and pure and utter guess work.

          • Clarko

            “I don’t like it so it’s Fake News”

          • Geordiegiants

            Where are your facts or stats, you do everyone’s nut in showing us facts and stats normally.

          • Clarko

            #FlatEarther

          • Geordiegiants

            Is that the same as your stage five cling on thing you weirdo?
            I’m going to regret asking this but, what the f’ck is #flateather and a stage five cling on?

          • Geordiegiants

            Your always are yes🤥

        • Geordiegiants

          “It is believed” stop talking shyte man, you and you wrongun pal haven’t got a clue what your talking about, and this coming from you the one states facts/stats.

          • Clarko

            “It’s wrong because I say it’s wrong”, you complete dunce.

          • Geordiegiants

            No not because I say it’s wrong, because you haven’t got a clue!

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            Come and show me a FACT, not a reliable source, and I’ll debate with you as I always do, but come spouting shyte and guess work and you haven’t got a leg to stand on.

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            You are yes very!

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      Getting 1.5 million for Riviere is even more impressive than 30 million for Sissoko.

      • Clarko

        It was a generous estimate.

        • Geordiegiants

          Yeah because that’s all you do, guess, you tool.

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

    • Billy Bob three teeth

      Amazing how you calculate the loan fee for Merino but omit the ones for Krul, Sels, Lazaar et al……

      • Clarko

        I didn’t omit any loan fees, there were no loan fees for the players listed according to transfermarkt, logically (for those who are capable of thinking logically) that makes sense, those players are not in demand players, I imagine that Newcastle are actually paying (wages) to get rid of those players.

        • Geordiegiants

          Guess work all of it!

          • Clarko

            No.

      • Kneebotherm8

        “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

        • Geordiegiants

          The kids a pure knobb.

    • Geordiegiants

      How does you or anyone else know? Every single fee is undisclosed, so there for it is a rough guess.

      • Clarko

        The fees are disclosed in the club accounts, in the club accounts for NUFC 15/16 the club states that they had a net spend of “£70.7m”, transfermarkt (de) has the net spend at £73.57m for 15/16. It is an extremely accurate source.

        • Geordiegiants

          Yeah but they aren’t disclosed yet you fool.

          • Clarko

            The source is reliable, you complete dunce.

          • Geordiegiants

            Yeah, very reliable guess work. You need to get things right all of the time when you go on like you do, not go off what ever you want to believe.

          • Clarko

            Wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            He he he

  • Ya old mucker

    Newcastle fans are equally deluded as West Ham fans

  • Leazes Ender

    Talk about ‘Double Standards’ the shameful Graeme Bailey takes the prize!

    • Kneebotherm8

      It beggars belief really,unbelievable.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    where`s me lotto numbers for the neet Clarko
    😂😂😂

    • Geordiegiants

      Ha ha lol

  • Jimblag23

    I wish…WISH…there was some kind of regulatory board that held journalists to account for their words.
    If they spout bias/unfounded/hypocritical BS then they are fined/suspended/sacked or something.
    Or they have to write a disclaimer stating the view is bias and why.

  • mactoon

    The stand out statement for me is,

    “Mike Ashley made his thoughts known in January that the squad he paid to build in the previous summer, was not up to scratch.
    Indeed of the 15 players brought in, most on long-term deals – HARDLY ANY HAVE INCREASED IN VALUE AND WOULD GIVE NEWCASTLE A PROFIT. Dwight Gayle – aside – who you could possibly make a couple of million on, the rest do not come up to scratch, and some of them have left the club dumbfounded”

    So when the transfer policy was supposed to be under Rafa’s control, the emphasis was still on the old policy of buy cheap and sell at a profit!

  • TwinFire

    Hack writes hack article. Those no-good hacks.

  • Leicester Mag

    Go see BBC and the Unite union sports direct emoji. Maybe one to adopt?

    • TheNutJob

      😟😟😟

  • Monksaton Magpies

    The press and other fans regard us as moaners full stop. Mike Ashley has put two hundred and fifty nine million in the club and gets no thanks just insults. The problem is no one wants to buy us he just wants the money back that he has put in not a penny more. However the fans especially the Mag website have a bad reputation in the city of London so looks like you will be stuck with the current owner for a while yet.

    • fatboysneverendingstory

      Who do you blame for two relegations and the knock on loss of income?. If we hadn’t spent 2 years in the championship would it still be £259 mill. Rich boy screws up austerity for everyone else. It was Fatboy who created the debt

      • TheFatController

        He also bought Hall and Shepherd’s £70m hidden debt. Yet apparently it’s the club’s debt?? The only man I know to buy something and yet it doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to us the fans? Work that one out….

        • fatboysneverendingstory

          The idiot didn’t even bother doing any due diligence before buying the club. Christ he’s made us pay ever since.

    • TheNutJob

      you mean the Cloob cost him £250m. He hasn’t put one penny into it

      • Danimal

        Exactly. We didn’t ask him to buy it and sure as hell wish he hadn’t.

        • Danimal

          Also, has he definitely set a selling price of £259m? I hadn’t heard that. I take it you get the whole club for that, debt free? Unfortunately I won’t be able to rustle it up this week but imagine there are people out there who could. And from that starting position could then run it at a modest profit while also putting a decent team on the pitch and maybe appearing to care about the fans/customers, as crazy as it may sound.

      • Jezza

        He’s also taken plenty money out of the club.

    • Scooter

      Ashley hasn`t got any cash to put into the club,
      but he does wallpaper Bob Moncur`s suite every year

      • HappyToons

        Bob is the local Decorator employed to paper over any cracks with Peter as his apprentice

    • TheFatController

      So let me get this right, someone bought our club to make a huge profit almost instantly (he wanted to sell on and even got Keegan in because a buyer wanted Keegan) and to further his retail business, and we should thank him?

      Whilst 50,000 put money in not expecting any return and you’re suggesting we are the ones in the wrong?

      I’m sure he’s put more money into SD than the customers have also, should SD customers there be thanking him?

      And what is our reputation in the city of London? Repeatedly lie, disrespect, antagonise and abuse the fans and relegate their club twice that previously was only relegated three times in over a century and they take the hump? Pardon us for our lack of patience and poor ability to be treated like idiots – we need to wake up and smell the relegation roses clearly !

  • Rob Brown

    “An unwillingness to pay market level wages…”

    A big claim with absolutely nothing to back it up.

    No figures. No facts. Nothing. Yet again, just a typical slagging off of Newcastle United.

    So you slag off the likes of Craig and Bailey for supporting the regime and completely disregard the fact that as Ashley supporters they may actually have the inside line on what’s going on.

    Sad, sad, sad

    • TheNutJob

      the playing staff alone proves he’s unwilling to pay the wages, the fact that all the top earners have been sold
      I think that’s proof enough

  • Shipcote Willy

    Plenty of Ashpologists on here arguing on his behalf while he sits in the pub laughing at the daft Geordies who fill the ground every other week.

    • Jezza

      Have you noticed the new craze for the Ashpologists is to accuse anybody who disagrees with Ashley’s policies of hating Newcastle United.

  • East Durham Mag

    Another of Fatty’s sycophantic minions, the stark contrast between his bit on the Hammers and his article of pure fantasy on NUFC is bizarre, the man deserves a Pulitzer prize for fiction.

  • Steve Pearce

    If you can’t come up with anything better than this you should find something else to do with your time. I recommend competitive vole stacking or slow worm legging as they are far more interesting!

  • Peaky Magpie

    Louise Taylor is another one stirring up the hornets nest,is this mackem loving hack also pals with Shady Lady Brady ?

  • Buck Blacket

    It’s pretty obvious that the club is little more than a “cash cow” to fatso and he intends to keep on milking it!

  • Scooter

    Mitrovich scored for Serbia

  • Peaky Magpie

    I’m going to get in early here,I bet we don’t sign anybody in January !!!!

    • GToon

      I’ve already said that mate and I’ve even supplied the quotes about January “not being a good time to buy players” and “inflated prices”!!
      Ashley won’t want to spend then as he will have one eye on preparing for the championship and making the appropriate cut backs (just like last time).

      • Peaky Magpie

        Aye a sad state of affairs,and to think when Lardy & Penfold had that photo taken with Rafa at the end of last season he was already plotting behind those false smiles.

      • Mark Davies

        Seem to remember a jan with townsend shelvey and saivet.

    • Jezza

      The thing that has really come as a shock to me over the past couple of days is the realisation that large numbers of Newcastle fans genuinely believed the club were going to make a signing or two on deadline day.

      • Geordiegiants

        I was living in hope Jezza.

        • Jezza

          Well the stark reality is that in 21 transfer windows since Fatso took over the club have made a total of two signings on deadline day. Ignacio Gonzales in August 2008 and Stephen Ireland in January 2011. Both loans and both for players who did absolutely nothing in a Newcastle shirt. In fact both of them barely played for the club at all.

          • Geordiegiants

            Well all hope is lost now anyway😤

        • Georgia Peter

          Porciestreet;
          Sadly, like most Toon supporters(me included),We’ve been dragged through all sorts of c**p to the point that its only the hopes of excitements past thats holding this club together.
          Sadly, happy days never to be repeated. Said this before, but I bet Ashleys coffin is the first to be fitted with a “cashpoint”….!

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with blind hatred with what Ashley has done at this club and a lot of it is warranted.
    I’m going to be a little bit controversial and say Bailey has a point in the first article cited.
    There was a lot of money wasted in The Championship campaign with players like Lazaar, Selz, Hanley, Gamez to name a few.
    Those mentioned hardly kicked a ball in anger during their time at Newcastle so what was the point of them being there ?

    I would never dream of siding with Ashley but I can understand why he might have been peeved with those above mentioned signings.
    My own personal view of The Championship campaign was we should have had it wrapped up earlier and won that league by at least 12 points imo.
    We lost a lot of games we shouldn’t have and handed the initiative back to Brighton on a few occasions.

    I’m not saying Rafa isn’t a good tactician but personally his strength is not in signing players.
    He signed a lot of rubbish when he was at Liverpool I seem to remember so there are two ways of looking at the situation.

    Ashley deserves everyone’s contempt with what he has done at Newcastle but sometimes you have to stand back and take a larger view.

    • Danimal

      He got some key ones right, e.g. Gayle, Ritchie, Yedlin, Clark. He created competition for places/a squad. He did this while making a huge profit on transfer fees and cutting the wage bill. Some signings are deemed to have failed because they were kept out of the first 11 by other signings or existing players who performed better. We’ve already found new homes for some of the ones who haven’t cut it. It has taken years to get rid of some of those Ashley/Carr quick profit punts such as De Jong, Xisco, Thaivin and Rivière. We got 94 points in a tough division, from a standing start, with a rebuilt squad, up against seasoned, settled squads like Brighton and Sheff Wed. Neither of the other relegated clubs got anywhere near. We finished about 13 points clear of 3rd place. To win the league by 12 points would have needed 105 points. I’m all for being fair now and again but I’m going to carry on hating Ashley.

    • MagpieG

      Fair points to be honest. As much as a I hate Ashley for not backing him more, I do think Rafa has a mixed record in the transfer market. It’s ironic that the 2 main positions he wanted were keeper and full back yet he signed Sels, Gamez and Lazaar a year ago for those very positions.

  • Vepr – 12

    Starve Ashley out. Instead of Toon replica kit. Go to games in Newcastle falcons tops. Your still in the right colours. Just not putting money in this chancers pockets.

  • Jimblag23

    What would you think if someone told you when we were first relegated Ashley would still own the club with no end in sight 7 years later?

    • Georgia Peter

      Porciestreet;
      I would automatically think..”he’s not in this for the club, its the MONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY…! And I did then as I do now…Nothing has changed , and it won’t either.