It is now ten and a half years since Mike Ashley seized control of Newcastle United.

After the Sports Direct flotation he found himself with a lot of cash that needed to be put to work elsewhere, with a sizeable chunk of it then used to buy the football club.

Many people are still somehow taken in by the daft idea that Ashley was somehow duped into paying over the odds for the club but he knew what he was buying.

His people telling Sir John Hall that Mike Ashley was buying Newcastle United to promote his retail empire worldwide via the Premier League TV exposure.

I have no doubts that at last the evil one is interested in selling the club BUT the idea that he will be panicked into selling on the ‘cheap’ is nonsense.

However, plenty of Newcastle fans as well as pundits/’experts’ have been trotting out this line.

A belief that Newcastle losing matches could in some way prove to run in our favour, leaving Ashley desperately trying to offload the club due to fears of relegation.

That is not happening.

I think unless everybody in the media has got it wrong, Mike Ashley is prepared to sell the club for less than his opening sale price BUT this is not a case of panic.

After the run of good results I think he did think there was a chance of quick deal, so very likely putting it up at somewhere around that rumoured £380m/£400m mark, in the hope that some mega-rich billionaire (like him…or with even deeper pockets) would see it as a club back on the up and snap the club up ahead of the impending even more massive TV deals – which will be revealed by the end of this season (for the three years deals starting with the 2019/20 season).

However, I think Mike Ashley was well aware that this was a real longshot and always had a more realistic valuation in mind, a price that he would deal at.

The consensus in the media is that Amanda Staveley has offered £250m and Ashley is holding out for £300m. I think this could be a very fair reflection of where they are currently at.

What I don’t believe though is that with each extra defeat, Ashley will be prepared to drop that little bit further on what he will accept.

He is rich enough not to rely on the money he will net from Newcastle United, just like rich property owners who don’t panic and sell everything off when the market slumps. They/he are rich enough to decide to hold on and wait for the market/prices to rise again.

Mike Ashley didn’t panic and sell after the last two relegations, nor did he immediately look to get a buyer after promotion.

If he was thinking ‘I’m not going to risk another relegation at Newcastle’, he would have put the club up for sale immediately after NUFC beat Preston in April and got promoted.

Just look at all the near misses Newcastle have also had under Ashley, staying up when winning the final away match in 2012/13 and surviving on the very last day when beating West Ham 2-0 in the 2014/15 campaign.

Mike Ashley may well still sell (please, pretty please) but it will be on his terms, as always. If Amanda Staveley is waiting for the evil one to panic and buckle totally, sadly we won’t be seeing new owners any time soon.

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  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    He`ll hold out until he gets what he wants, it`s as simple as that,
    One thing`s nailed on, he won`t sell for £250m.

  • HarryHype59

    The writer is entitled to his opinion! However the £300m plus asking price is linked to the TV revenues, which depend on surviving in the top flight!

    Even if the club stays in the EPL this season, the margin of safety will be extremely small! This squad is one of the worst in the top flight! The squad value reflects this, as does the form table!

    Why would any investor give Ashley his asking price when relegation is a distinct possibility?

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      He won`t panic as he`s not worried, we`ve went down twice, Did you see him panic. No

      • TheFatController

        First promotion – spent nothing but squad was full of good experienced PL players and quality manager

        Second promotion – sold 4 players for £85m and upbeat quality manager re-invested

        Third promotion – can’t see it somehow …

        • Peaky Magpie

          Definitely can’t see third promotion if the worst happens.Rafa will walk and there’ll be a quick fire sale of players worth anything,not that there’s many,then youth players who’ve never been given much opportunity here will be thrust into the forefront and will ultimately buckle under the pressure.The prospect of relegation has such serious repercussions this time around I’m afraid.

          • TheFatController

            Although joselu may stay, of course … ;)

          • Peaky Magpie

            😂😂 Aye and probably pay the club for the privilege instead of the other way around.

      • Rich Lawson

        He’s despicable and unpleasant,but he doesn’t care what the public think of him and nothing previously suggests he is a man to panic on a business decision.

  • TheFatController

    Your theory is based on Ashley not changing his views based on circumstances – he didn’t panic sell on past relegations so won’t now? I suggest that even he knows the circumstances of two promotions will be hard to repeat a third time.

    But his ‘bare minimum investment’ gamble cash out, like all betting cash outs, gets lower as the odds raise against you, which they do with each defeat.

    I doubt he viewed either of our relegations as being something to simply buy his way out of and get back on the gravy train- he’d have been gutted and very concerned for his investment. First time he’d have sold had there been a buyer and Hughton and squad perfect for promotion (Shola, Carroll, Barton, Harper, Jonas, Colo, Taylor, Nolan etc) saved us from obscurity.

    Second time, he had Rafa and the lift his decision to stay gave. Plus player sales covered a huge chunk of impending losses (thank you Liverpool & Spurs) – and he’d still have sold had a buyer been interested.

    Third time? Certainly no Rafa, no £30m players to sell, or even £25m. Even Ashley knows we’re more likely to be a Hull, Boro or Villa (won’t mention the most obvious comparison !) than a Hughton or Rafa inspired promotion parade.

    So yes, he gambled on doing the bare minimum, not even being able to rely on getting promoted with ease if his gamble fails (because you can’t just buy your way out of the championship – ask Villa), but all gamblers know that once you’ve had two failed gambles bailed out (by lucky circumstances that are hard to repeat) best not make it a third as that luck must run out at some point.

    Want to cash. out now ? £250m
    Lose to Everton and Leicester before arsenal and cash out now ? It’s not going to be a higher offer in all reality…

    • Arty Hume

      My thoughts exactly, if we drop down to the championship again, Rafa will undoubtedly leave, and who could blame him. Then who would be stupid enough to come in and be a puppet manager? Only some failed old boy who would do as he was told, the last 10 years told how that pans out, until Rafa changed the dynamic. As you say we do not have the star players to sell should we go down this time, and thats down to Mash mis management, not allowing Rafa to buy in order to strengthen the side. Its all Mash’s fault and I cannot wait to see the back of his pie face on out NUFC feed’s he make my stomach turn. If we do go down this time and he is owner, I wonder how many fans will re new season tickets especially knowing the contempt he holds for us and had the chance to sell? I for one have never gone to a home match for years because of Mash and will not go again until we have a new owner. We will end up just like that lot down the road if we go down, now thats a nightmare waiting to happen. :(

  • Paul Patterson

    As a mere mortal, it would be a simple equation for me. Take £250m now or risk the club getting relegated and seeing it’s value drop to say £150m if he’s lucky.
    I wouldn’t fancy taking that gamble personally, but hey I’m not worth billions.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Yup hes playing with fire and more often than not now he doesnt want to.

  • Kneebotherm8

    This potential deal will happen in the next couple of weeks or at the end of the season,if it ever happens at all.
    Either way,I think there’ll be spending in January to save the club from a potential relegation (unless somehow we go on an unlikely good run of results before Xmas).

  • Coble’s Return

    I agree that Ashley will not sell at any price, but I am not sure that the rest makes complete sense. The comparison with property investment certainly doesn’t. If the property market crashes, then yes, the owner will sit tight until it recovers, as it always does. However, the property owner is able to do so with the minimum of additional cost. In this case, if Ashley decides not to sell, he must either invest significantly just to retain the current value of his asset, or otherwise sit back and watch the value plummet, with no hope of a recovery without massive investment.

    The fact remains that if Ashley is done with putting money in, then he needs to get out now whilst he is able to recoup his investment and make some profit.

    • Paul Patterson

      Sensibly put. Then there’s always S********d to consider . .

      • Coble’s Return

        There is that, but I seem to recall one of the esteemed contributors to this site claiming that the benefit of free advertising to SD amounts to around £7million each year (please put me right if I am mistaken). That benefit just doesn’t stack up any more. The playing squad has been eroded in value and ability to such an extent that it will take significant and sustained funding just to get the club to the point where relegation is no longer an annual threat. Ashley would be financially better off spending the £7million on advertising elsewhere and leaving the bigger investment to a backer who is willing to take the club forward.

        I really do believe that if Ashley thought that he could continue to run the club as he has for the past 10 years, then there is no way that he would have offered it for sale.

        • Paul Patterson

          True.
          I don’t know what figures are on the advertising. I would say it would conservatively cost somewhere near £60m to turn this squad into a decent one (Striker, Number 10 and Left back). That’s over eight years of free advertising so yeah, if it is seven million pound the two figures are worlds apart.
          Hopefully he’s realised this.

    • Leazes Ender

      Ashley hasn’t put any money in…. how can he be done?

      • Coble’s Return

        Point taken, but if you look at the 2015 and 2016 accounts, the dip in profits and resulting drop in cash availability will almost certainly have deteriorated further into 2017. Only the profit from player sales in Summer 2016 will have prevented Ashley from increasing his loan to the club over the past year. Otherwise the figures to June 2017 would be pretty chronic (not available yet).

        He seems to finally realise that a) to retain PL status, he is going to have to commit considerable funds (probably via further loans), and b) if he wants any kind of return on the purchase of the club and his loans to date, he is going to have to sell. That is why the “For Sale” signs went up.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    I think the writer is being naive.

    The club has always been up for sale nevermind announcing just after Preston.

    A club is only worth what the market is willing to pay. One thing is for sure its not going to be over £300m.

    Mike Ashley has pumped too much money in and has too much locked up. He wants it out. Its probably worth, as a premier league established club, around what hes pumped in. Thats no one elses fault. Ashley has to be happy woth free advertising and raised profile for free.

    • Leazes Ender

      What money has Ashley ‘pumped in’?…. do you mean the money he added to the growing artificial debt he created from club assets such as the stadium rebuild….. strange accounting!

      …..ah now that will be the £20m he stuck in for wages (twice) because he tried to save money by downsizing the squad…… and despite vociferous warnings….. relegating it…..

      I’d say that money isn’t asset and cannot be added to an artificially generated pricetag. If I damaged my cars wing mirror by driving too close to oncoming traffic I don’t replace it and say to the next owner …

      ……’you owe me for the car and a wing mirror’.

      I’d say the club was worth the asking price…. £350m if Tottenham is valued at a billion.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Just look at him,The Michelin’s Man uglier even fatter brother !

    • Leazes Ender

      It must be awful being fat AND ugly…. he can compensate for his lack of looks and personality by parking his tank on other people’s lawns….. and getting a kick out of it for ten years or more.

  • TheFatController

    You are correct however to say Ashley will want a good price – but I don’t think it’s all about money, I think he also wants to save face by making a profit.

    Why? Well, his profile is now massive due to owning us, and he knows we’ll be partying,( maybe not quite burning effigies, just getting the bunting out like VE Day ) but our joy will be publicised and even someone with rhino hide skin would feel some humiliation seeping in …

    So to him, he’s going back to being the forgettable owner of a fading retail empire, whilst his nemesis, the Geordies and all honarary geordies, get all the attention celebrating his demise as our owner … any profit is therefore his two-fingered riposte ! No wonder he wants £300m

    • HarryHype59

      Agreed,the whole takeover fiasco is about Ashley saving face!

  • FatParosite

    Putting the club up for sale was a ruse to shut Benitez up.

  • 1957

    He will never take a low offer for the club, he’ll take a risk on avoiding relegation rather than cut his profit too much. As is often said when talking about Ashley he is a gambler and might feel he can get more money in the summer if we can scrape enough points and stay up.

  • Down Under Mag

    He will not sell on the cheap, we all know that. It’s more to do with if he sees the financial liability he is risking by either not selling or not investing…one or the other needs to happen.

    If we get relegated then there will be a lot of value knocked off the club and he will need to invest to get us promoted again (although I think we are all in agreement it won’t be as easy the third time around to gain automatic promotion). My money is on him holding out for what he wants and taking a gamble on the clubs future, hoping there are three worse sides than us come the end of the season.

    The problem with his evaluation of the club and the figure he wants is he is taking into account what he paid, the debts he was lumbered with and any subsequent money he pumped in after two relegations. The problem with that is just because he spent the money it doesn’t make it WORTH that much and whether he wants to admit it, the reason it isn’t worth more is all down to his own ham-fisted running of the club and failure to look after the on-field concerns as much as his off-field capitalist campaigns for free advertising and ground renaming.