After the Newcastle Takeover vents (or lack of them) on Tuesday night, the question that I have been asking myself and friends, is quite a simple but important one…
Why would Mike Ashley sell Newcastle United?
Below is a table showing the Premier League prize money breakdown for the 2016/17 from BBC Sport.
What it shows is a grim and sobering reality for fans anticipating the club being sold any time soon. As we can see, the mackems and the smoggies pocketed £93m and £98m respectively for their efforts during last season, a season in which they both got relegated.
Due to his own calamitous running of the club, Ashley didn’t see anywhere near that kind of money as we were toiling away in the Championship (ED: NUFC receiving over £41m in parachute payments and £5m for winning Championship) but you can rest assured that those figures will be the minimum he receives for wherever the club finishes this season.
Take a look at Swansea City who finished last season in 15th position and who are odds on for the drop this campaign, it’s the very place that Newcastle currently occupy. It’s fairly reasonable to assume that we will take home at least roughly the same figure as they did at the end of this season.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Swansea, Burnley, Hull and the mackems all had ten live TV appearances throughout last season and will have been paid accordingly. By the time Newcastle play Man Utd in February, we will have already had 14 Premier League Live TV dates (plus fourth round FA Cup match), no doubt due to the fact that TV broadcasters love the pantomime that follows this club, but it’s still money rolling in all the same.
How much we will receive this season for the pleasure of being viewed by the nation isn’t known for certain, but just going off what clubs received in prize money alone in 2016/17, it’s my assumption that Mike Ashley WILL give manager Rafa Benitez some capital to go and buy players in the Summer.
That’s the only good news that I can deduce, as I would estimate our extra prize money figure if staying in 15th will be the same that Swansea received last season (almost £12m – just under £2m for each extra place you finish up the league).
As we know, whatever Rafa Benitez gets to spend is unlikely to be enough to make a meaningful contribution and it will be touch and go with regards to what division we are playing in next season.
I’m of the opinion that Ashley will allow some cash to be spent as a calculated risk to avoid dropping into the Championship and who knows it may work, but any notion that he will spend fortunes can be discounted straight away as he will pick up around £100m if the club gets relegated regardless and that’s before parachute payments. So why spend needlessly?
The table also gives a little insight into why Ashley won’t sanction big spending as if Rafa was given say £50m+ to spend, the difference between finishing where Southampton did (8th) and fourth bottom is around £20m. In the penny pinching world of Mike Ashley the rewards don’t match the expenditure risks.
This is the cycle we are now stuck in, unless Amanda Staveley (or whoever) comes in with a silly bid, I don’t think Mike Ashley will be inclined to sell, as any bid will have to compensate the possible loss of £100m per season, a figure that will only rise further with the increasing TV deal due in February. With this in mind, a £250m takeover bid was never likely to be accepted. It’s simply too low for Ashley to give up the prospect of untold fortunes on what he will see as minimal spend for maximum gain.
So as much as it pains me to say it, unless there’s a dramatic change in what he is being offered, disappointingly I think we are stuck with Mike Ashley for some considerable time.