Top journalist Henry Winter has been talking about Newcastle United.

The top man at The Times, Henry Winter has outlined the club’s big positives and arguably even bigger negatives, at this moment in time.

He says that more than any other club, at Newcastle the fans are the key to everything.

Winter talks about how the club/St James Park dominates the heart of the City and the most important asset, is ‘this incredible support’.

The man from The Times states it is ‘hats off to the ingenuity’ of the Newcastle supporters who produced the giant banner for the Burnley match.

The banner (see above) quoting Kevin Keegan, urging fans to keep on sticking together because one day we will be rid of Mike Ashley.

Most Newcastle fans now expecting Ashley to ban any further flag displays, just as he got rid of the 3,000 strong singing section back in the day, when that became the focal point for demonstrating within St James Park, after the owner forced Keegan out.

There is only one thing I disagree with Henry Winter about, I believe that sadly, Mike Ashley sleeps very nicely every night, and actually even enjoys the fact that he is so despised. As well as the fact that his PR machine then has allies in the media such as cheerleaders Sky Sports, who are happy to put out the message that it is really Rafa Benitez and the fans to blame – not Mike Ashley.

Henry Winter speaking to BBC Radio Five Live:

“That is a huge banner that they have brought in, hats off to the ingenuity of the Newcastle fans (at the Burnley game), but mainly…

“Newcastle United’s most important asset, along with Rafa Benitez, their most important asset is their fan base…this incredible support.

“It has been said a million times, it doesn’t need to be re-emphasised – they are fantastic.

“Without them, the club is nothing.

“The club is just 11 guys on the pitch, it is just bricks and mortar, and a slightly lack of soul in the boardroom – everyone can see that.

“What makes Newcastle tick, as with most clubs, but particularly with Newcastle because of the way it dominates the city, emotionally and geographically – that stadium – the fans are absolutely key.

Ashley, sitting in London, has got to listen to these people.

“He has got to sell up, he has got to move out.

“I can’t believe that he sleeps particularly easily at night know he is getting vilified, quite rightly, by sane people.

“He has to sell up, he has to move on.”



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Yeah, i`m sure he`ll take notice of that,
    he`s more likely to dig his heels in than sell

    • Peaky Magpie

      That’s his mentality,he thrives on his notoriety….

  • Leicester Mag

    Stick banners outside 20-30 Direct tat shops. Have the banner with empty seats as a backdrop might have an effect. Protest against the brand, the only thing dear to his heart. Ask every fan through fan groups to boycott his stores.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      yip that`s his baby hit him where it hurts

      • mentalman

        the few fans who boycott the stores will not make enough of a dent in profits for him to actually notice

        • Cockneytrev

          It’s not only the profits ,, he has to answer to share holders about bad publicity outside his stores,, this kind of publicity can effect the share price and this what he will hate, he won’t like share holders questioning him,,,,
          Fans can also buy small amounts of shares in sports direct and put pressure from that side as well, if your share holder your entitled to attend share holders meetings then protests can begin inside his house,,,

          • mentalman

            I would imagine the majority of shares are owned by faceless funds. You will probably find the shareholders only care about whether their dividend is being paid and any who truly cared probably sold their shares after recent bad publicity.

            As for your point about buying shares, you’d need to buy a lot of shares to get a chance to ask a question at an agm and even then they are closely vetted and any potential trouble makers are kept quiet

          • Cockneytrev

            You don’t need to ask questions, your presence will Be enough as long as you attend and let those present know your feelings,,
            Also I think if your a share holder you are entitled to ask a a question, it’s irrelevant the amount of shares you hold, as a share holder you will be sent an invitation to attend the general meeting. I hold shares in numerous companies and always get invitations to attend, SD may be different, but I wouldn’t think so.

          • mentalman

            if you let those present know your feelings you won’t be there very long.

            Your right you are entitled to ask a question irrelevant of how many shares you hold, but it is guaranteed that the major shareholders get the opportunity to ask questions and smaller shareholders have to wait their turn. These questions are vetted before hand, any that they do not think are relevant or unsuitable will not be heard.

            An agm, egm or other shareholder meetings are tightly run even at decent companies and i can only imagine SD’s are dodgier than most

          • Cockneytrev

            You are probably correct, Ive never attended an agm,,,,, just because you’ve put a
            question forward, doesn’t mean you ask that question,,,secondly, 20/30 individuals making a point every time the previous antagonist has been removed from the agm, will cause so much disruption,, this has been in the past, at various companies agm,,
            The thing is Ashely allows no kind of protest at the games, even though as a season ticket holder you are a paying customer and are entitled to vent your feelings, ( within reason) the last banner was not even shown on the TVs sports networks as they seem to be in his pocket,, a disruption at his companies agm , posted on social media will be picked up by the national news agencies, this will affect his company shares,, he would hate this,,,

    • S.G.M.

      His stores are nation-wide no focker outside the city walls give a.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Rafa wants the fans united till the end of the season please read his comments he only wants us relegated. The Times want us relegated and a Southern team to take our place and will do anything to wind the fans up.Listen to Rafa we must stick together no more protests and only the good banners.

    • Cockneytrev

      Ashley hoop licker,,👅👅

  • Toonrobbybobson

    Simple. Dont take up season tickets and start damaging sports direct. Any serious bad oublicity constantly surrounding sports direct will force him out. If fans start building up a boycott across sports direct which comes first from our fans we will get support from some other good football fans and people who dislike sports direct business practices.

    Personally already decided im not back next season until he is gone.

    We have tried most other things its now time for the major alrernative of supporting the club from afar until we rid the club of its plague.

    He isnt going to sell. End of this season the TV money clears off his loan. If we up or relegated it doesnt matter to him the parachute money will see him through and the club still worth around the initial payment he shelled out. Hes pulled the wool over everyones eyes.

    • mentalman

      do you think a little bad publicity will bother him when a member of staff gave birth in the toilets and nothing changed, the guy doesn’t care.

      The majority of people will never boycott sports direct when the prices of their clothes are so low

    • John

      Look at Sunderland, boycotting the club to get at the owner has done nothing for them

    • HarryHype59

      If the club goes down it is worth around 40% of its current value. His gamble will have back fired big time.

  • HarryHype59

    I watched the clip on Sky of Ashley saying he has put £250m into the club and won’t spend any more.

    Why then does he want £300m min for us?

    • Soldier

      it`s called profit, he paid that 11 yrs ago

    • S.G.M.

      If you had the goose that layed the golden egg, would you give it away.

      • HarryHype59

        The goose will only lay whilst the club remains in the top flight! The intrinsic value of this club is 60% less without all that TV dosh!

    • FatParosite

      Ashley has not put his money in. We are in greater debt than we were under Shepherd & Hall.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        He has, he’s made loans of £144m

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      If you put £264 into the post office, you would be annoyed if you go to the counter in 10 years to find only £250 is in the account. The National Savings rate of 2007 gives you £350.

      • Pelican

        Terrible analogy. Would you expect a profit after 10 years if you put £264 into an account, didn’t do your due diligence on the account you were putting your money into, took all the interest out every month (free advertising). Also, taking into consideration you are a director at the bank, with your decisions leading to downsizing twice over ten years, with a third downsizing on the horizon and the potential of the bank to go bust.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The free advertising is worth far less than we used to pay in interest.

          If you take over a business, wort out it’s balance sheet, find it’s income improving and turning a £33m loss into regular profit, you expect to be able to sell for more than you paid for.

          I take on board the lack of DD

      • Peter Stabler

        Don’t forget the free advertising Mr Apologist, that would be foolish.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The Free advertising means we miss out of around £2-4m, far less than we used to spend in interest charges. It’s a trade off.

          • Peter Stabler

            A trade off in Sports Direct’s favour leading to the criminal lack of ambition for a sporting club.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s not really though is it? The lack of ambition comes from Ashley wanting the club to not borrow any more of his or the bank’s money.

          • HarryHype59

            If this club gets relegated again this season, will you finally accept your man has been a terrible owner?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            He’s not the best owner in the world but a bit of perspective is required.

            If we get relegated, I think we really are back to square one. Sell the squad and see what can be done with what we have left.

      • Coble’s Return

        If you put £264m into a football club, don’t be surprised if it devalues after 10 years of mismanagement. It is not just the money – the club (and therefore its value) has suffered from a series of poor decisions and appointments.

        • HarryHype59

          Not forgetting two ( maybe three) relegations. Brand NUFC has been trashed like an SD remnant bargain basement bin over the past run years. It is now tarnished, debased and devalued!

          • Cockneytrev

            He does this to every brand he touches,,

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          But in this case, the reality is he paid £131 for a business with a negative net assets, he’s thrown £144m at it and now prfitable with a positive balance sheet.

          The error was to pay £131m for the club.

          • HarryHype59

            It is only profitable because of the mega TV money. Other commercial incomes have stagnated during his ownership! If we get relegated again and those TV income streams stop, your hero is up to his lower lip in the brown stuff!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            That’s akin to saying we only made a profit because sales have gone up or costs have gone down, that’s what businesses are supposed to do.

      • HarryHype59

        Your analogy is laughable. Ashley has been owner during the most lucrative period ever in the history of top flight English football. He can’t even manage to get a 3% a year return due to incompetence.

        The value of investments may go up or down. In this case your master will get his pudgy mitts burnt when the club gets relegated again in May.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          His incompetence was paying £131m for the club, the recovery since has been good business wise.

  • Soldier

    he doesn`t take any notice of anybody, he doesn`t care about the club and in the long run he`ll get what he wants

  • Steven05

    Can anyone think of a legal way to damage sportsdirect?

    • foggy

      Shame arson isn’t legal

    • FatParosite

      Not even the Business select committee could make him truly accountable for his legal cicanary around ethical working practices. This man epitomises the real problem with Neo-liberalism. Go read some Chomsky on how the world has championed this type of viper.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Nothing wrong with liberalism, neo or otherwise.

    • Coble’s Return

      I have suggested before that a banner on the Gallowgate along the lines of “SD – modern slave traders”, or “SD – Workhouse of the 21st Century” would not go down well with the company’s investors. Probably need to do it before the ban comes in.

      • Steven05

        That’s the kind of thing I was thinking

  • Paul Patterson

    You can’t hurt a man that doesn’t care. He’ll stick it out until someone offers £350m. After the tv deal he will raise that figure to nearer £500m. You don’t give something up that can generate £100m+ EVERY season.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      I don;t think NUFC can generate £100m every season but I think it can generate £30-£50m and that is worth more than the £250m that is currently ‘on the table’.

      Ashley will sell but he’s not selling it at a knockdown price simply because a journalist tells him to.

      • Paul Patterson

        I was referring to the TV/prize money. You get £100m just for finishing bottom. It’s up to the clubs how much they spend- £100m or nowt at all.

        • HarryHype59

          That TV money doesn’t correlate to profits as costs increase!

    • Rich Lawson

      He doesn’t care,he’s the winner from the un-shown ”Apprentice” with Philip Green in the seat and will squeeze out every penny for himself before he goes and f##k every one else.

  • S.G.M.

    “He has got to sell up, he has got to move out”
    Statements like this will only serve to harden the mans resolve.

    • FatParosite

      Do they? I think that Ashley must ring Bishop every Saturday night after MOTD & complain that Keith is not pulling his weight. I have not been a fan of Winter in the past as he personified the gentrification of our beloved sport. However in the last few years he has been very wary of Ashley’s tenure & knows more than self congratulating Samuel & the less intelligent Custis brother Neil about NUFC. We have to get the message out instead of preaching paranoia of the southern press.

  • TheFatController

    Ashley seems to me to be someone who likes to control things, usually with money in his case.

    He bought us, wanted to be respected as the saviour of our finances. Sadly he went quickly from one paranoid or naive error to another. Losing any control over supporters.

    So now control means getting a profit on selling the club. After all, we’ve let him down by not appreciating him for putting £250m in (he’s not self aware so doesn’t realise taking £350m from a future sale makes him a taker, not a giver, but there you go)

    He probably wonders why we don’t understand or ‘get him’, but whilst in his head he sees himself as a ‘saviour of the club’ financially, he’s blind to/ in denial about the flip side – the fact he is using us for SD exposure and to make a profit on the sale. He’s seems confused therefore, that’s due to his inability to empathise with how others would view his behaviour.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      You sort of hit it on the head. He’s put £264m in, had he put that money in the post office, he’d have around £370m. I suspect he may just consider NUFC more hassle than the post office but nevertheless, survive this seaon and he’s be accepting anything £300 – £350m

      • HarryHype59

        What post office do you use Fleckman? The past decade has seen interest rates on accounts at historical lows of around 1% max. I get 5% on my low risk stocks and shares portfolio with Zurich, however there is a risk of losing capital.

        The club has under achieved on its potential both on and on the pitch under your masters regime. Spurs £1b valuation proves this.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Spurs are a bigger club than us, they are in London and have more pulling power.

        • Cockneytrev

          Since he took over, the borrowing of money has been at an all time low,, we would have been far better off with the structured loans we had,, this interest free loan from Ashley is all a smoke screen,,
          He has benefitted massively off the free advertising, paying his company on a world stage while giving nothing back ,,
          From owing £60+ mil to now owing £140+ mil,, we are financially worse off than when he took over with a worse playing staff less assets and OUR world exposure has dropped..in a time when EVERY PREMIERSHIP TEAM has progressed commercially (during a time of the biggest tv deals) we have regressed.
          He is a parasite….

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I’m going off the 2007 NS rates.

          Spurs are a bigger club than we are, we were on the wane when they were on the up.

  • 1957

    The same Henry who swam the Tyne after Ashley gave the silver haired conman his mega contract after Winter predicted Pards wouldn’t be a long term appointment..and who then suggested in Nov. 14 Ashley deserved credit for sticking with Pards despite the “…public clamour…” for his dismissal. Wasn’t a great lover of our fan base then.

    Ashley needs to go but sorry to say it won’t be the press coverage that gets him out only money.

    • FatParosite

      Agreed, but the current coverage is keeping the price of the club down because any buyer knows he’s persona non grata. After Winter made the accusation he stood by his bet & swam the Tyne. Pardew did not finish his contract. Make of that what you will. Any bad news pinned on our overlord is good news to me.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        The buyer also will realise that being persona non grata does not effect Mike one bit.

        The club will be sold if we stay up, PCP or someone else will get close tot he asking price but we have to stay up.

        • FatParosite

          Which is what Ashley’s gamble so stupid.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Which gamble?

          • Jimmy_toons

            And if we get relegated?

      • 1957

        I’ve always believed Ashley inhabits a world where any publicity is good publicity…he’s that thick skinned

      • Jonas

        So much the better if it were literally pinned on his eye

  • robbersdog

    Mike Ashley is too busy vomiting into pub fireplaces to listen to the likes of Henry Winter. He really doesn’t give a f*ck.

  • Nut

    There is only one way to get through to Ashley and that’s in direct conversation with him. In person he is actually a nice guy. However the fact is he is very reclusive (perhaps even more so these days) and surrounds himself with those he knows.

    Unfortunately getting to talk to Ashley is virtually impossible unless you have a direct contact or his direct line/personal email.

    Those around him just weed out all attempts. Even if genuine previous acquaintances they assume it’s a rouse and stonewall the attempt without letting him know.

    • Malcolm Fisher

      Load of rubbish. All you’ll get is agreement and lies, just ask kegan or rafa or amanda on the takeover.There is no getting through to him,only through his pocket

  • Coble’s Return

    Here’s a thought – pay attention. I will revisit this in the future as well because one of the short-comings of a forum like this is that once it is off the home screen, it is forgotten.

    Are there any legal minds amongst us? My reason for asking is that I understand that there is a legal obligation on the directors of a company to act first and foremost in the interests of the company. As such and despite the hierarchical nature of the company (i.e. Newcastle United Football Company Ltd is owned by Perennial Real Estate Holdings etc etc.) the directors of the club have the sole duty of acting in the interests of the club.

    So what? – Well, if it can be proven that Charnley / Moncur / previous directors have failed to act in the best interests of the club by allowing SD to advertise free of charge (even going so far as renaming the stadium without charge), then there may be a way of getting them removed from the board. OK – that in itself doesn’t necessarily achieve much. Ashley will replace them with some other mugs – but, it sends a clear message that things have moved on from protests in and around the ground and pointless whinging on-line.

    To be honest, this is beyond my area of expertise, but I intend to run it by the NUST to see if they have access to legal advice – unless of course, one of you happens to be a barrister.

    • Jonas

      Glad you raised it, often wondered myself. Banning flags singing sections, sabotaging atmosphere, alone should interest the FA never mind hamstringing a major asset of theirs.

      • magpiefifer

        Unfortunately the FA live up to their letters!!

  • Rich Lawson

    To quote the great tommy cooper,Ashley ‘sleeps like a log,in the fireplace”

  • MadMag83

    Vilified by sane people yes, but he does have a few insane apologists along with rhino skin.

    I think of Ashley as a dictator. He came to power and thought the fans would love him as a saviour. Alas things quickly turned sour when his appointed cockney mafia started undermining managers and forced out an icon of the people called Kevin Keegan.

    Now he spends his days miles away from the city that turned on him, embittered towards the natives and devoid of any real interest in its success other than its finances. He hates the fans and we hate him. It speaks volumes that he bans any protest against him, what ever happened to free speech?

    • Jimmy_toons

      Apparently Kim Jong-un lists Ashley as a major influence.

      • MadMag83

        Kim Jong-Un spent more on attack and defence!

        • Cockneytrev

          🤣🤣🤣

    • Cockneytrev

      He can only ban protests in the ground,,, it needs to be moved against his true love, his outlets!!

      • MadMag83

        His true love, Greggs? 😂

        • Cockneytrev

          😂😂😂

  • Bristol Paul

    Free ground advertising (25million?) All the profits of NUFC merchandise (15million?) He paid about 300mill and has had possibly even more than that through S**t Direct in the last ten years. Why would he sell?

    • mactoon

      once the TV money is paid at the end of this season the club is all but debt free. Then the new 3 year deal will mean he has no need to sell

  • Jonas

    Always liked Henry Winter and he”s right – the only difference between Newcastle and any championship club or the old Wimbledon, is the fans, under Ashley.

  • Big geordie

    Anyone know where you can buy a stinger nice pressy for the fatman

    • Cockneytrev

      Arms Direct?

      • Albert Stubbins

        HE OWNS THEM AS WELL PROBABLY!!

  • Paul P

    As I read this thread, boxes on the left and right advertise various good from Sports Direct!!!!!!!!! At least he paid for them, I know The mag can’t control who advertises but its a bit ironic!