Mike Ashley is like a particularly greasy stain. You scrub and scrub at it but it just won’t go away.
He’s had many chances to sell the club but he always comes up with a reason not to. Amanda Stavely is the latest to feel his penny pinching ways. He just will not part with Newcastle, unless he gets a price that’s worth more than the actual value.
Some might say that Ashley has asked a fair price, but with Newcastle looking likely to only be kept away from relegation by the fact that Rafa can organise a defence, you wonder what the club is truly worth. Is this club really worth 350 million at this point of time?
Whoever comes in will need to invest at least 200 million to keep the club in the Premier League and to bring the facilities up to date. Is that really the price of this club, or is it just another example of Ashley wasting time? I believe it is the latter.
What has come out, shows that Mike Ashley himself has no confidence in NUFC staying up this season, because he’s rejected an offer that met his valuation, provided NUFC stayed up.
Fine, let’s just say he’s right and we’re likely to go down under the new ownership. Why then did he reject a lower offer that was giving the money straight away. with no conditions? The answer is simple if you think about it though.
Newcastle are not a club which have been mismanaged that badly, at least not financially. The club turns a profit nearly every year. If they stay up, the new TV deal will further increase value of the club and help increase revenue. With reports of more games being televised live in the future, Sports Direct get free advertising that is worth more and more every year. The fans, by and large, are still loyal, and full houses are still common.
There is no real protest against his management. Combine all this together and you can see why Mike Ashley would think that he shouldn’t sell.
In fact, the more you think about it, the more you realise how little incentive he has to sell. He’s not putting his own money into the club, the club is turning a profit. The more profit the club turns up, the more its value increases. If his gamble pays off, the club will be worth more. There is no protest and therein lies the rub.
The fans need to get together and protest. This can take shape in many forms, but it needs to be organised, just like SackPardew was organised. Sadly, AshleyOut has never had that level of organisation so far but it needs to be backed by the fans.
Backing Rafa and the team can only go so far. Rafa himself can only do so much. If we do not protest out of respect to Rafa Benitez, then he may still well leave in the summer, why would he stay at a club which is pinching pennies.
Faced by the very real prospect of relegation, the only two real signings that are likely are the loan of Kennedy which has gone through, and a possible striker that has never really been tested in a tougher league. This is the level of ambition that Ashley has and Rafa will not stand for it much longer. Either the fans protest and make Ashley’s very presence at the club toxic, or Ashley will continue, with or without Rafa.
Mike Ashley will only leave when the negativity of the fans is so toxic that it hurts his end product, or if the club goes into loss. As he continues his ownership of the club, it is being hollowed out from the inside, its value reducing even more every year.
A few years ago, NUFC had Ben Arfa and Cabaye. Go back to before Ashley joined and there were still star players at the club. Right now though, how many players at the club would ever even be linked to a move to a better club?
That’s what Mike Ashley has done, and until his stay here is made non-viable, it will continue.
Either the fans get together and start something, or the club will stagger on like this for as long as Ashley wants it to.