Intense disappointment was followed by an overwhelming sense of anger.

Greed 1 Hope 0.

The much talked about takeover deal at Newcastle United was called off by Mike Ashley in a cack-handed media pronouncement. Back to square one. We’re used to that feeling.

He could have accepted an offer, got his money back and given the football club a new era. He has rejected it, for now. It’s annoying because for a brief moment you could almost see the chance we might be rid of this most rancid of regimes.

A fresh start under a new owner, who might actually want to invest some money and make it all a bit more enjoyable to be a supporter, has been taken away from us.

The whole episode once more exposed all that is bad with the Ashley era. Lots of lies, lots of stalling, lots of deafening silence and very little in the way of ambition.

How much longer do we have to sit by and watch clubs around us buy players while we flounder about preparing bids?

I see clubs like Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Brighton and Watford making progress in recruitment and it is very annoying that we can’t move as dynamically when it comes to getting the deals done. We really should be a much bigger pull than any of them and yet we cannot get any players in. We move too slowly.

Austerity FC is alive and well at Gallowgate.

The initial reaction to the news that Ashley refused to do business with Amanda Staveley was one of intense anger with the owner. His spin team then kicked in with plenty of briefings as PCP’s reputation was rapidly sullied, so much so she had to invite a journalist into her offices in an effort to set the record straight.

There were suddenly doubts about both sides of this situation. Fans caught in the middle of a war of words between buyer and seller.

One week on and the dust is settling. PCP’s credentials still seem to have some question marks over them and nobody really seems to know where it all stands. One thing is clear: they clearly need to up their bid and remove some of these clauses if they want to get the keys to the castle.

The media coverage has added to the mess. Three different national newspapers were at odds with each other.

The Times have Staveley still determined to get a deal.

The Telegraph said Ashley would accept £300m with no clauses in.

The Independent claimed he will simply not deal with PCP and won’t sell to them

Knowing exactly what to believe has been tricky. There are likely to be grains of truth in each report. One point all seem to agree on is that the situation won’t change for a while.

The new TV deal and the question mark over the club’s Premier League status muddy the waters further. There’s every chance we’ll be having the same debate about bids and asking prices come summer.

It has all detracted from the real scandal. The owner has presided over an underfunded circus of a football club. He’s shafted the manager in three consecutive transfer windows. He has left the club with almost farcical corporate governance. We’re being investigated by the HMRC and there are allegations of bullying at the academy.

Newcastle fans have every right to be angry. Never mind what some of these so called media commentators and pundit are saying about Ashley being treated badly. We all know where the fault lines are.

We now face a critical week of the January transfer window. Fresh blood needs to arrive. Money has to be spent or we could be looking at the return of the protests and a third relegation in 11 years.

Disappointment and anger. Never far away at a Newcastle United in the thrall of an absolute plonker.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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  • Phil

    Getting repetitive now like. New author same crack really.

    We all know Ashley is what he is. He does things his way and we don’t matter one little bit.

    Things will only change if and when he goes. Which will be when he decides!

    So writing the same article every other day isn’t going to change anything. Try and find out who this mystery striker is. Failing that do what every other journalist does. Make a name up. It’ll be more interesting than reading the same thing day after day

    • Alex

      A large number of people need reminding day after day, Phil. Ashley has NEVER changed and will NEVER, yet for so many the penny hasn’t dropped.

      • Phil

        He might just need another 10 years to realise the errors of his ways

    • X,WHY,Y MAN.

      I have to agree to an extent because we do seem to be going around in circles talking about “Fat Boy.”

      • Phil

        I know it’s hard not to focus on him but in doing so it has caused such a negative feeling around the club. It’s depressing going to the match now. Ashley has sucked everybody dry of enthusiasm. Then we have the fact he is a **** repeated daily. WE ALREADY KNOW. He has been here long enough for any educated person to realise what he is like

    • TheFatController

      I think the reason is so many get annoyed not with Ashley, but at the insulting of their intelligence that is media and the small minority of supporters defending him, excusing him and in some instances making out he’s a ‘victim’.

      Like a battered wife claiming her husband’s beatings can be excused because ‘he has his good side’, nothing suggests low self esteem and weak mental strength more than people excusing a man proven to be a liar, sullying the reputation of the club, furthering his own ambitions on the back of something others see as much more than a money-making machine.

      So if it’s cathartic for many to vent their frustration here, I don’t think it can be criticised or seen as unexplainable…and for those that don’t like it, don’t read it. Otherwise you’re playing a ‘victim’ role also – ‘I am upset by articles I don’t need to read but do anyway…’

      • Guest 2

        And folk like Peter Graves who may as well be Ashley’s PR man rather than a Sky employee. repeats everything he’s given with zero fact checking or questioning.

      • Phil

        If this article was for a national paper, sky or the bbc I would get your point. But it’s not. It’s on the mag where 90% of us already realise what we are dealing with so don’t need daily reminders.

        Thanks for the patronising comment though.

        I’m off to play victim!!!

        • TheFatController

          So, you know the Mag has these articles daily, yet still read them through and comment about them?

          Maybe not consciously, but subconsciously you must be wanting to be offended? If not, you’d ignore them, surely. It’s not asking for a huge effort to ignore them.

          If something offends me once, I don’t go back for more. If I go back and am offended again, I’m not a victim, I’m a willing participant …

    • Guest 2

      Wilian Jose. My tenners worth.

      • Phil

        Fingers crossed! Cracking player! 😜

  • Alex

    Seeing the latest ‘rich club list’ just boils my peees. From where have Man City come from in the last decade?

    I still can’t fathom out how Ashley failed to see the opportunity he had with NUFC by investing and building, like we’ve seen in Manchester’s blue half. He could’ve made millions, but instead chose to be a tight arze and now has a club on his hands that has hardly increased in value since the day he bought it.

    Good business man? Borrocks! He’s just a one-trick-pony who sells clothes.

    • Leazes.

      Yup, instead of investing into the squad he used the money to get the club back into the position after the subsequent relegation….. madness, why would anyone do that?

      Maybe its because he’s a Chelsea fan!

      The London press think he’s bailed United out in some way…. ignorant wordsmiths.

      • Rich Lawson

        Yes,he probably owns that house behind Stamford Bridge that is holding up the development of the ground ?

        • FatParosite

          I certainly hope so… He holds property that strangulates any development in NE1

    • thewildchimp

      I was baffled for the same reasons and realised: he just doesn’t know how to run a sports club, nor has hired anyone that does (apart from several managers). He had simply heard that NUFC has massive potential and bought it, thinking it’s gonna be easy like running a goods shop. He didn’t even know what he was supposed to pay when taking over the club!

      We cringe at his decisions but even if he knows better by now: he doesn’t care anymore. For a long, long time. He should stop wasting everyone’s effort and nerves and sell.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    reports that Jonjo could be on his way to West Ham, Merino injured & the chances of a replacement, well i wouldn`t be taking bets on it

    • Peaky Magpie

      That’ll be right Moose wouldn’t put past it,that just leaves Gayle,Mitro & perish the thought Lascelles out by next Wednesday and Fatty’s laughing all the way to the bakers.

    • I think Jonjo’s had it at the club. I love his passes, but doesn’t contribute anything else, and doesn’t build up play, doesn’t make shots nor runs.
      I think we should let him go if a 15m+ offer comes in. I’d rather we get 2 more Merinos than keep Shelvey. Even Diame is doing much more these days.
      If we can sell Shelvey, Mitro and Gayle and buy better replacements I’m all for it.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Errrr, why has the author written this? “He could have accepted an offer, got his money back and given the football club” he’d not have got his money back, he’s have lost £27m!!!!

    • TheFatController

      The value of investments can go down as well as up.

      The skill in investments is to follow one simple rule – it’s only a profit when you take it…the club is rapidly devaluing, as shown by the world’s investors being completely uninterested at any price currently.

      Sometimes you have to take the smallest loss, if there’s no profit likely.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        The next time I take something i paid £27.70 back to M&S to get my money back, i don’t think I’d accept £25 as a refund.

        • Lord

          I’m not sure that football clubs come with a refund if you decide you don’t want it after 10 years.

          • Guest 2

            LOL, exactly! Seems to be the only business owner in the world who believes he shouldn’t take a loss on anything. Any sale guarantees all of the loan amount back in full. His purchase price of the club however is a different matter. It is without doubt now less attractive than when he bought it.

          • Paul Patterson

            And if you take something back to M&S they won’t give you you’re money back if you’ve worn the garment and it’s scuffed to hell.

          • Cockneytrev


          • HarryHype59

            Or the garment is covered in vomit as a result of another fireplace episode!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            No, however, it’s a strange definition of getting your money back

        • TheFatController

          I didn’t say he was getting his money back, the author of the article did.

          I said he should cut his losses whilst he’s ahead, you only determine any profit or loss on an investment when you sell that investment was my point.

          No one’s buying, even with a likely increase in revenues due next season. I’m sure he’s aware that is not a good sign he is likely to get even close to his money back.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            My beef was with the author of the piece. You are correct, he should sell when he thinks he can maximise his money, That would be whilst we are in the EPL and the EPL is enjoying riches. He needs to wait until we look safer if he wants the full premium.

  • Guest

    Fleckman give it a break he’s had plenty bloody money out of the club , you on the payroll fella

    • Jezza

      He certainly is on the payroll. He works in the S****s D****t shop in the Old Trafford Centre, Manchester. He is not a Newcastle supporter either, just a wind up merchant who has been trolling this forum under various multiple ID’s for years.

    • Jezza

      He certainly is on the payroll. He works in a large S****s D****t outlet in the Manchester area. He is not a Newcastle supporter either, just a wind up merchant who has been trolling this forum under various multiple ID’s for years.

      • FatParosite

        Another Bishop drone….

  • Guest 2

    Sign of the times when some fans get excited at the thought of spending 20 mil, if it ever happens (after more than a decade). That’s how low fatty has brought us and the club.
    We signed one of the leading world class strikers in Shearer – now we are hoping for someone, anyone, who can get 5 or more a season!
    Shows what a bunch of cnuts all these Ashley appeasers are who swear he’s done us a favour. Generally speaking you increase the value of something by it becoming more attractive to prospective buyers and /or by investing in improved performance. Fatty has done nothing on either fronts, hence no one battering the door down.

  • Abel Hernandez could be the one. Only he can come here and actually get a pay rise :D I doubt Ashley will pay 20m for a Championship striker though. I’m really hoping on somebody from Germany or Spain.

  • kingfisher

    I’m by no means an Ashley apologist.I think the sooner he sells up the better, but I thought it made sense when he/Penfold etc said they wanted to get the club back on solid ground financially with no debt.But as everything in life ,it’s a question of balance. In trying to make us debt free and solvent, he’s obviously concentrated too much on balancing the books ,risking our Prem status as a result.

    His behaviour begs these two questions:

    1) Why did Ashley buy the club?
    2) Can a football club be run like an ordinary business?

    Answers on a postcard please!

    • Phil

      I read we have £144m debt now? If true he hasn’t done a very good job at anything.

      • kingfisher

        Correct Phil ! I would say he’s been absolutely s***e, however on reflection I suspect he hasn’t even been that good.😁😁👍

        • wheyayeman

          Ashleys Regime – A world where a Billionaire crushes his exhaused zero hour contract employees, spends nothing on his club which needs a champions league winner as a manager and a series of miracles to keep it in the Prem by goal difference. Oh sorry I’m supposed to be over the moon a kid from Chelsea who can’t get on the bench signs on loan for 6 months. Forgive me but I was there when the world’s most deadly centre forward was paraded to the same fans who are supposed to welcome this…. F off Ashley

      • ghostrider

        This club has no debt now, except for the bills.
        Ashley’s saw to that.
        Everything is in house with this club for the first time in who knows how long.

        • Phil

          HMRC investigation? Debt? Shady deals for all those French players?Everything in order is it?

          Your comments are getting pathetic

          • ghostrider

            HMRC investigation. Investigation. It’s also going on at other clubs.
            Shady deals?
            You seem to have the club…..or is it Ashley and Charnley and the rest can stand aside?
            I have absolutely no doubt that all business people will do dodgy deals and will pilfer as a perk or go for the in for a penny in for a pound style.

            You probably think all the big clubs are all sweet and above board, right?
            You’d rather guess as what Newcastle United is guilty of rather than what they could very well be innocent of.
            You’d rather HMRC tear someone a new one because suddenly you feel some kind of affinity with them, all borne from the fact that you simply detest the owner of this club.

            A sad state of affairs but there you go.

          • Phil

            You’re the one saying we are ran well and everything is rosey! I’m pointing out its not you helmet! ✊🏻💦

          • ghostrider

            I’m not saying everything is rosey. I’m saying we are not in debt.
            You are making out that the club is so corrupt as to be happy that HMRC are going to do Ashley and co over.
            Very sad. Very very sad.

          • Ram Kishore

            Who told we are not in debt
            Didn’t Lee Charlney say that Ashley gave interest free loans last year..Get clarko for help

          • FatParosite

            It beggars belief how dumb some fans are. Ashley sells and suddenly the debt is clear. I suspect ghostrider is making his own moonshine..

        • mactoon

          apart from £129 million interest free loan payable to Mashley on demand….

          • ghostrider

            So you’re telling me if he sells the club he can then also ask for 129 million on top of that?
            The debt is in house. It counts as nothing.
            If he sells the club he sells it as is and debt free.

            Nobody takes it on owing money.

          • mactoon

            The money is loaned from, and owed to Mashley. If it is not repaid before the sale it is transferred to the new owners. It doesn’t just dissapear

          • ghostrider

            If ashley sells the club for 350 million, that’s it. It gets bought for 350 million and the club is in new ownership owing nothing to no one except those who own the club. It’s all in house.

          • mactoon

            The purchaser buys the business with the current accounts as they are at the date of the sale. That includes any profit and any debts. If the debt is not settled as part of the purchase price it is sold with the debt attached to it. A third party (Mashley) loaned the money to NUFC. It still has to be repaid if the business is sold. It just does not disappear. It is either sold cheaper with the debt attached or for a higher price and the seller uses this to repay the debt.

          • ghostrider

            If Ashley sells the club for whatever price is asked. That’s it.

          • mactoon

            Try googling it. A debt can’t just disappear, that’s how Ashley got caught out when he didn’t know about the debt Hall and Shepherd left the club in. It was transferred with the club when he bought it so he had to loan the money to cover it.

          • Paul Patterson

            And he’s been bitter and resentful ever since . .

          • ghostrider

            There is no debt except in house.
            If Ashlery sells the debt goes with the club sale.

            He’s not going to sell the club then say ” ohhh and don’t forget you owe me 139 million as well.”

            Think about it.

          • mactoon

            The debt goes with the club sale because it is reflected within the structure of the sale. Even though NUFC is part of Mashley group of companies it has it’s own business entity with separate financial accounts as shown in Companies house. Ergo the loan has to be cleared as part of the sale structure. It is misleading to call it an ‘in house’ debt because the money is owed to Ashleys other businesses, NUFC is a separate business in it’s own right for accounting purposes and does not possess any ‘in house’ debt.. it is owed to external businesses under Ashley’s control and is reflected as such in the company accounts.

            From 2016 Financial Accounts:

            ‘Newcastle United FC LTD’ (Company No. 00031014) ‘Net debt increased from £84.5m at 30 June 2015 to £131.1m. Term loans from Mr MJW Ashley and companies under his control were £129m and continue to be interest free. Unsecured and repayable’

          • ghostrider

            I’m well aware the debt is aside from the club. I’m well aware Ashley loaned the money to the club whether it was from his grannies account or from his trouser pocket….or MASHLEY group.

            The money is still in house.
            I shouldn’t really need to spell it out because you know what I’m saying.

          • mactoon

            so, as stated in the company accounts which are ratified by an external independent auditor, the club is in debt to the tune of £129 million.

          • ghostrider

            The club is debt free while Ashley owns it.
            Realistically no club is ever debt free because all clubs pay bills, so all clubs are always owing money, whether it’s energy bills or players/staff wages, etc.
            Now admit this or not but tell me.
            If Ashley sells this club, is he selling it as all in or is he selling it and then also telling the buyers that they now owe him 129 million on top of that?

            We both know the answer to it but I just want to see you admit it.
            I keep getting told that Ashley keeps taking money out of the club and pocketing it. Can you clarify what he’s doing if he is actually doing this, seeing as you appear to be in the know with what’s owed to him of which he doesn’t seem to be taking back but is supposedly taking back something underhand.

            Baffling isn’t it. Any ideas?.

          • mactoon

            The debt is to a separate company so if it is not cleared as part of the structure of the selling price (which it probably will because he won’t allow another owner to have an interest free loan) it will be transferred to the new owners with the club. It can’t just go away, it has to be repaid. Mashley is owed £129 m whoever owns the club, I’m quoting the club accounts so I can’t make it any clearer.

            With regards to Ashley taking money out of the club I have never seen any proof of this in the accounts, I don’t even think he takes a dividend. I suspect the loans are some sort of tax arrangement within his companies but the fact remains, the accounts show the club is £129m in debt.

          • Ram Kishore

            Are u not understanding are loans
            They are not Freebies

          • ghostrider

            I am understanding.
            If the loan was to a bank then you would be correct.
            The club would be sold but the new owners would owe the bak on behalf of Newcastle United, their new club.

            Now get this.
            The debt we owe is to Ashley himself.
            Newcastle United owe Ashley.
            Ashley owns the club.
            Ashley sells the club debt free and reflects that in his selling price.
            New owners pay 350 million and walk into a ready to run club with the usual bills and no borrowed debt.

          • Ram Kishore

            Ashley didn’t give the money by himself.. he isn’t an idiot businessman

            He sanctioned the loans through his Mash Holdings..Any business related conflict of interest gets avoided by this way..
            So when the club is sold to the new owners.. Mash Holdings doesn’t let go of the loans it gave away to another party even though Ashley is the chairman.
            There’s a lot to it
            Even I don’t know how the loans are structured and don’t know how he’s go sell the club

            It’s of no use speaking of it..since the dealmaker is not us.. it’s Ashley

          • ghostrider

            I’m not arguing it mate.
            the simple issue is there.
            If Ashley sells the club for 350 million he’s not going to then say ” ohhh and don’t forget you owe MASH holdings 139 million.”

            It’ll be all in. Lock stock and barrel. Club sold and company parted with new owners starting from that point….in house and from that point it’s up to them.

            No banks are coming to this club telling us we can’t do this or that or no more boring, because everything is in house, whether you want to call it debt to Ashley or whatever.
            It’s all in house.

          • Ram Kishore

            Maybe u r right

          • Lord

            There is definitely a difference between a debt owed to an external party (Barclays for example) compared to an ‘inhouse debtor’, like MASH -> Mike Ashley and it’s not just interest payments (or lack of them).

            I suspect Ashley went down the loan route because that means he can pay himself any part of that debt back tax free as it’s an inter company loan

            If he had written off the debt by injecting his own funds, the only way to get that money back would be via Dividends (attracts dividend tax) or selling the company (attracts capital gains tax).

            So, as everyone is saying, if and when he sells NUFC, the debt will be cleared by the buyers but because it’s a debt being repaid, hurray, no tax for Mike Ashley to pay.

            There is an alternative universe where Mike Ashley could sell NUFC for, say, £150m and retain the outstanding £144m debt and then start charging interest on that debt to the new buyer but that’s hypothetical only, in practice.

            My feeling is that whether we have a debt or not is rather moot in terms of judging his custodianship. If he had written off the debt instead of leaving it open, the total value of the club would be no better or worse than it is now. It should be worth more, he’s done a lousy job of increasing the value of his asset (and what a shame we have to talk about a football club as an asset in the first place).

        • StevieB

          Prove it.

  • wheyayeman

    Ashleys Regime – A world where a Billionaire crushes his exhaused zero hour contract employees, spends nothing on his club which needs a champions league winner as a manager and a series of miracles to keep it in the Prem by goal difference. Oh sorry I’m supposed to be over the moon a kid from Chelsea who can’t get on the bench signs on loan for 6 months. Forgive me but I was there when the world’s most deadly centre forward was paraded to the same fans who are now supposed to be content with this????…. F off Ashley