Mike Ashley once again released a PR ‘exclusive’ through Sky Sports at the weekend.
The story being that the NUFC owner would ‘donate £20m’ to the Newcastle players if they win the FA Cup this season.
This leading to much amusement at what other unrealistic bonuses could be offered, such as winning the Premier League, or the Champions League, or the Great North Run before scoring a double hat-trick at Swansea.
This PR announcement came against a backdrop of a row that had lasted all summer, with Mike Ashley having offered the Newcastle players a bonus scheme for this Premier League season that was way below what rival clubs have incentivised players with.
The offer on the table was £1m if they finished 17th and avoided relegation, which worked out on average at less than a week’s wages for each player.
That amount would then increase by £1m for every position above 17th.
The Newcastle players though were refusing to accept less than their rivals and a month into the season there was still no agreement.
However, agreement has now been reached.
Miles Starforth (of the Shields Gazette) has had the inside track on this story from the start and he has revealed that a phone conversation between Mike Ashley and Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles saw the bonus scheme eventually agreed.
On Wednesday morning he reports that the agreed deal is the same as what was on offer previously but that Newcastle players will share £4m if they avoid relegation in 17th place and then still an additional £1m for every position higher.
The Premier League payout at the end of the season sees the 20th placed club get £1.9m extra for finishing bottom, then for each place above they get an extra £1.9m.
So roughly speaking, Mike Ashley and the Newcastle players have agreed that the squad will receive half of the extra money the club receive depending on their position…plus the £20m for winning the FA Cup.
Now the players would receive the same £20m if they win the Premier League (cough cough) as they would the FA Cup.
I would happily settle for either…