After doing his best to undermine and deflate the spirits of Rafa Benitez throughout the summer, Mike Ashley has now turned his attention to the Newcastle players.
It was 10 days ago when it was revealed that the Newcastle squad were still yet to agree a bonus structure for the new season with Ashley & his minions.
Saturday morning sees an update, still no agreement reached although the Newcastle players have had an offer…
The Shields Gazette reveal that each player will receive less than the average week’s wages if they keep Newcastle United in the Premier League by finishing 17th.
The newspaper reporting that the players would share £1m and with a 25 man senior squad, that would work out at £40,000 each, at the most. The likes of Freddie Woodman and Mikel Merino qualify as Under 21 players, so when the 25 man Newcastle United Premier League squad was announced, that pair are additional.
This Mike Ashley bonus offer of less than a week’s wages (on average) for each player has not impressed the squad, who know that players at other Premier League clubs have been given far bigger incentives.
The Shields Gazette say that each additional position above 17th would see another £1m added to the bonus pot.
Each extra Premier League position sees a club given £1.9m more from the end of season PL TV payout, so if you finish bottom you get £1.9m and if say you end up 17th, a club receives £7.6m.
So if the Newcastle players agreed to the offer, it is obviously a win-win for Mike Ashley if NUFC for example ended up 17th instead of 20th – 20th would equal £1.9m to NUFC/Ashley and no bonus to the players, whilst 17th would give NUFC/Ashley £6.6m extra (£7.6m less £1m for the squad).
As we reported 11 days ago, yes it is ridiculous what players receive these days but it is false economy not to pay the market rate on bonuses, or else otherwise they are in reality not acting as…incentives.
The Mag – 22 August 2017:
It is not only Rafa Benitez who isn’t seeing eye to eye with the club hierarchy this summer.
Tuesday morning brings news that despite the season now being two games old, the Newcastle players still haven’t been offered an acceptable bonus arrangement for this season.
The Shields Gazette have revealed the news, saying that there is a final deadline of the start of next month by when agreement must be reached.
The local newspaper reports that at the end of last season, the Newcastle players, along with non-playing staff, shared bonuses of £5m for winning the Championship.
With the riches provided by the Premier League, the Newcastle squad are looking for a bonus arrangement which is in line with the top tier.
Apparently a guaranteed giant Sports Direct mug for each player plus a pair of white sports socks per player for every point gained, didn’t impress the United players…
In situations like this it is always the knee jerk reaction of many fans to think of greedy players but that is a daft way of looking at it.
Of course football players get paid crazy amounts of money but realistically, the only way a club can ever have any hope of succeeding is if they treat their key people right and give them whatever is the industry standard.
It isn’t the first time the Newcastle players have been in dispute over bonus arrangements.
Back in summer 2010 (after a Newcastle promotion…), the Newcastle players committee famously went up against Mike Ashley.
The likes of Nolan, Smith, Barton and Harper were the experienced players who represented the squad and wouldn’t bow to Ashley’s will, Chris Hughton backing them as well.
It later emerged that Mike Ashley had allegedly taken it very badly and vowed to get rid of all of the main movers from the club, sure enough Hughton was removed a few months later with United safe in mid-table and none of the players involved got another contract at NUFC.
The divide and rule by Ashley then saw him reportedly push Pardew into appointing Fabricio Coloccini, a player who the owner got on well with and was so weak as a leader, wouldn’t even give TV interviews on behalf of the team/club.
Whilst doubts remain as to whether Jamaal Lascelles is one of Newcastle’s best 11 players, he has certainly impressed with his willingness to speak out and represent the squad as club captain. So you can assume that he must be a key person in this bonus dispute.