Mike Ashley has held talks in London with those who he trusts to look after Newcastle United on his behalf.

With the club’s owner now in a very comfortable position thanks to Rafa Benitez delivering Premier League safety on a minimal net spend, things could hardly have worked out better for Ashley.

The Chronicle say that Mike Ashley met Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop to discuss Newcastle United.

Whilst Lee Charnley is the only officially named person in a position of (alleged) authority, it is Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop who wield the power at NUFC on Ashley’s behalf.

The report says that Ashley met his people after ‘four rounds of talks between Benitez’ agent and legal team and the club’ got nowhere.

The Chronicle then go on to say however, that Ashley has made clear it is Lee Charnley’s responsibility to try and convince Rafa Benitez to extend his contract.

This is just yet another reminder of what a joke the running of Newcastle United is, nothing is ever done with any transparency, and a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Normal clubs have a highly paid Chief Executive/Managing Director, who heads up a high quality management team, with a board of directors sitting above/alongside that to steer the club on its overall strategy. That CEO/MD given the responsibility to run the club on behalf of the owner.

Instead Mike Ashley has Lee Charnley as the only director at NUFC, the only named senior management figure, whose chief role appears to be to take the blame instead of Ashley, when things go wrong, yet again.

Such as….if it gets to the point where Rafa Benitez has had enough. Then the club’s PR line will be trying to make out that just like when signings aren’t made, it is Lee Charnley’s incompetence that is responsible for the manager not agreeing to stay, rather than Mike Ashley refusing to run the club in a decent and ambitious way.

Does anybody though actually believe that Lee Charnley has the power to wheel and deal at the club, to be the one to properly negotiate with Rafa Benitez and his people? Charnley is the worst paid CEO/MD in the Premier League, receiving £150,000 a year compared to others such as those at Arsenal earning £2m+, whilst Sunderland’s Martin Bain was getting £1.2m before his recent departure.

If Mike Ashley wants the likes of Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop running Newcastle United on his behalf, as he clearly does, why not make them official named members of staff and/or directors, and have them communicate openly with the media, rather than the current charade of putting up Lee Charnley as supposedly wielding the power?

Whilst we seem to say it every summer, this one does really feel like the club is at a crossroads, where the fans can see the clear direction where we need to head.

That is the Rafa Benitez direction and if Ashley takes us in any other direction then all optimism will disappear.



  • Arty Hume

    Easy to see how this will pan out! More non football ” experts ” of TFCB’s choosing to run the club, others to blame, not the main man. I can see a summer of purgatory for the toon fans.

    • Geordiegiants

      But like sheep will continue to keep going.

      • Dillon Tovak

        No thanks ⚰️

      • Phildene

        And that is why Ashley remains neat our club-the ‘sheep’(fans) that follow each other through the turnstiles every match

        • panther

          Can’t up arrow this enough, haven’t been back since his first year of tyranny, I know plenty who still go and feed the cancer, I need smart friends

  • Mrkgw

    The longer this sorry saga continues, the greater chance that we will soon lose Benitez. The second coming of Pardew beckons.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Taxi for me. 🚕

      • panther

        Any room?

    • FatParosite

      I don’t even think Ashely is stupid enough to appoint Pardew again…. then again JFK had a second coming…

  • Billmag

    Who’s paying the two B’s (Bishop & Barnes) NUFC, 💩 Direct, M,Holding’s who ??. Just been on YouTube watching KK interview again on ESPN, Chris Waddle was at SJP and both said what a shambles the club was, and here we are years later and what has changed apart from having a world class manager here.

    • Guest 2

      Far as I’m aware, Bishop is on SD’s books, and Barnes is a SJH Director.

      • Leazes.

        Yes…. ‘as well as’… Barnes has 69 roles to play in Ashley’s Empire…. not on the ‘board’ but overseeing ‘stuff’.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I have no idea why Rafa is putting up with this schitt? I’d walk.
    It just seems like unnecessary BS, just go to a club that is run even half right.

    • Mrkgw

      It’s complete madness. The club is in constant state of meltdown under this shambolic regime. Things should be so much better than they are at present. ASHLEY OUT!

    • FatParosite

      £6 million reasons… which could be made into £8 million reasons why Rafa is putting up with it.

      • Dillon Tovak

        He could get better elsewhere, even West Ham are paying £10m a year.

    • kingfisher

      I’m clinging onto the hope that Rafa is staying because he has inside info on the (proposed) takeover. He could have any top job in Europe, and money’s obviously not a problem.
      Any owner worth his salt would have tied down Rafa within hours of Prem safety being guaranteed. Of course he might have offered Rafa a new contract but he may have turned it down ’cause it was schitt,and Ashleys legal eagles may now be fighting it out with Rafas people. Either way it speaks volumes about Ashley and his regime and guess what? Ashley doesn’t have to bow down to Rafas demands because he knows that 50.000 “fans” are guaranteed to turn up on match days no matter what he does, how he treats them or who’s the Manager so why bother?

      • Dillon Tovak

        I share the same hope, but only in the same way I hope I win the lottery.
        Ashley wouldn’t sell even if he was offered £420m.
        It’s his easy money cash cow.

  • Megatron1505

    It’s glaringly obvious what will happen here this summer.

    1. Speculation over Rafas situation will continually be paraded through the national media. This will be the excuse hinted at in the press for lack of transfers.

    2. We’ll sign Dubravka.

    3. We’ll be linked with eleventy-billion players we have never heard of….and Bas Dost.

    4. We’ll sell either Lascelles, Shelvey or Perez.

    5. Either Shelvey, Lascelles or Perez will sign a new contract, which will be publicised as the clubs commitment to the future.

    6. In the last 2 weeks we’ll sign 3 or 4 cheap foreign players and one £7m “marquee “ signing.

    7. Rinse and repeat.

    Same as it ever was……

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Do you want a bet on the net spend?

      • Megatron1505

        I’ll bet it’s less than at least two of the promoted clubs.

        • KRS1

          That is a safe bet!!

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The promoted sides who have not been in the premier for a while can add more to their squad because of FFP so no, I’ll bet a net spend of +£15m

          • Megatron1505

            So last year you justified our low spending as a newly promoted club because we didn’t have Premier League payment funds, but this year we can’t compete with promoted clubs due to FFP?

            You’re a wind up artist, but not a clever one.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We’ll compete in the transfer market, I’ll bet on a net spend of more than £15m and other bets but specifically with you, you claim we will not spend more than £7m on a player, I’ll have that bet with you.

            Going against specific clubs is not a good idea as one or two will take a gamble.

            The promoted sides have more scope to increase their wage bill than any team in the premier league (not sure of wolves but even their wage bill was just £28m in 2017). We did not have a low wage bill when we came up , this severely limited our ability to add to the squad and keep within FFP.

            I’m happy to bet that we spend more than a maximum of £7m “marquee “ signing which is your claim.

            So, my offer of a bet with you is we will acquire a player where the transfer fee (reported by Transfermkt) exceeds £7m in this transfer window.

            £50, do you agree?

          • Megatron1505

            Betting against specific clubs is a bad idea because you have no confidence we will do it. Instead you choose to latch on to a throw away comment about £7m to assert yourself, when we both know that the maximum this club will pay is £10 – £12m, and only then if it placates Rafa and has potential to return profit in time.

            I have a couple of counter bets for your consideration.

            1) we won’t break our transfer record under Ashley. £50 bet.

            2) we won’t out spend any of the clubs who finished two places above us, or three places below, you know….our direct rivals who we should be looking to edge in front of.

            That’s odds of 5/1 in your favour Bobby, surely you can’t turn that down?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m betting with you on the specific claim that that we’d spend a maximum of £7m, it was your claim not mine.

            I’m ok to increase it to £10m, put up or…..

          • Megatron1505

            2 above and 3 below, 5/1 in your favour. How’s your faith in the regime to compete and improve?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            That wasn’t your claim though, you specifically said £7m. I’ll allow some leaway, wellw spend £10m or more on one transfer?

            However, I like your rival bet too, well outspend the 3 above and 2 below.

          • Megatron1505

            Why don’t you just admit you don’t want to take the bet as offered because you have no faith we will compete?

            Fourth and final time offered, 2 above and three below, 5/1 in your favour.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Search FFP in this site, you’ll find an excellent article, pretty much the best article the Mag has ran since 1996 in the subject of ffp and why promoted clubs who have been out of the EPL for sometime have an advantage.

            I’ll happily bet our net spend exceeds Burnley, Watford and Southampton but not the promoted teams.

          • Megatron1505

            As I said, the bet is that we don’t spend as much as our closest rivals, those who finished 2 above or 3 below. That’s 5/1 odds in your favour unless you have no faith that the current regime has any interest in competing or improving.

            I’ll await your answer, I suspect you won’t be taking the bet as you know how much ambition is left at the club…..it rhymes with cluck ball.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Ok, let’s make it £25.

            we will out spend any of the clubs who finished three places above us, or two places below, as you say….our direct rivals.

            I’m not really bothered about the transfer record and Ashley could sell the club within 2 weeks. The whisper was he had a meeting at the weekend to discuss transfers with a representative of a prospective buyer.

          • Megatron1505

            The bet is 2 above, 3 below as stated twice now. Are you in?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m offering 3 above and 2 below, I’m looking up not down.

            I also want the net spend over £7m, put your money where your mouth is. That was your claim.

          • Megatron1505

            No, you’re edging your bets on Burnley being skint. I’m offering you 5/1 in your favour against our direct rivals and you won’t accept it. Jog on troll.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Woah, troll? You are wriggling out of your £7m bet.

            I will accept both bets, the £7m and the 2 above and 3 below. £25 each bet.

            No welshing, Jezza did that on a charity bet where he should have paid Alzheimer’s £12,000 but he Welsh. Desree was a man of his word and we agreed that he’d pay the money to the Bibby Robson Foundation rather than me personally but to be clear, this isnt a charity bet, it’s between us and should I be a bit flush, I’ll tell you to pay it to charity or myself.

          • Megatron1505

            I never made, offered or accepted a £7m bet. In fact i’ve already responded as you well know and anyone can read in this thread.

            The 2 above and three below bet is on then, and I will donate the money you will owe me to SBR Foundation.

            Thanks for playing.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You prophecised that specifically we’ll sign 3 or 4 cheap foreign players and one £7m “marquee “ signing.

            That’s pretty clear.

            All I’ve claimed is that our highest purchase will be more than that and I’m willing to wager that our largest purchase this summer will be more than £7m, I’ll up that to be more than £10m just to give you some leaway.

            You then start offering other bets, I’ll take your new bet as long as you stand by your first prediction.

          • Megatron1505

            So basically you’re trying to weasel out of it, even though i’ve already responded to that? As I have already stated (and will now state again for the hard of reading), we may go up to £10m or £12m, but only either to placate Rafa or if there is a large potential for future profits.

            I offer a simple bet with 5/1 odds in your favour, accept it or show yourself as the troll that you are.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You were very specific,

            This is a c&p:

            6. In the last 2 weeks we’ll sign 3 or 4 cheap foreign players and one £7m “marquee “ signing

            No weaseling on my behalf.

            I’ve offered wriggle room.

            I bet £25 that we will spend £10m or more on one player in this window. That’s £2,999,999.99 wriggle room for you.

            If you take that bet, I will also bet £25 that we have a net spend that exceeds one of the clubs from the two above and three below.

            I can’t be more clear.

          • Megatron1505

            You mean you couldn’t try harder to create a straw man argument by insinuating i’m trying to get of a bet which was never offered or made.

            Whilst at the same time you try to get out of abet which has been offered 5 times with odds of 5/1 in your favour.

            Away with you troll.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You made a statement, I’m asking if you would put money on that, you are wriggling.

            You have offered another bet, I’m prepared to take that bet as long as you stand by your statement.

            Its called putting your money where your mouth is.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It seems to me that you are unwilling to back up your claim.

            It was very specific:

            6. In the last 2 weeks we’ll sign 3 or 4 cheap foreign players and one £7m “marquee “ signing

            Put up or shut up.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Tell you what, it’s a point of principle, The point of these challenges is to back up your own claims. You claimed the £7m so i do want that bet, but let’s say £10 on that with £25 riding on the two above and three from below?

          • Megatron1505

            Done. I’ll be donating winnings (either £25 or £35) to the SBR Foundation.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’ll be pocketing mine in the style of Mike Ashley 😋

          • Megatron1505

            And in the style of your hero, you’re more likely to be overdrawn 😂

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            In summary, we have two bets combined:

            1) I bet £10 we will spend in the summer 2018 window £10m or more on one player.
            2) a further £25 that we will have a higher net spend that any one of Everton, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth or West Ham in the summer 2018 transfer window.

            The figures will be based on that reported on Transfermkt on 1st September 2018.

            Winnings will be sent as per the winners instructions after 1st September 2018.

            Fair?

          • Megatron1505

            Sounds above board to me, although I am in California all through August and until September 3rd….so I’ll have to wait an extra couple of days to collect.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Sorry to spell it out so formally, I’ve had an issue with non-payment from a certain contributor. Moreover, I’m likely to challenge a few folk over the summer and I’m not sure quite how much I can commit to charity at this stage.

          • Megatron1505

            I don’t welch on bets mate, especially when i’m pretty confident as I am now.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Only if you stand by your first claim.ill allow you to go up to £9.99m

          • Megatron1505

            You have already accepted, a little late to start adding conditions now.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            As I said, you stand by your first claim and yes, I’ll do the other bet.

            Are you saying that you just made up the £7m prediction as something to get angry about?

          • Megatron1505

            Not at all, i’m saying my opinion is as stated, but i’m prepared to be wrong under my stated circumstance, it’s really not hard to understand even for an obvious troll.

            Clearly you have no interest in accepting the bet, as you are working so hard to get out of it. Once again you are exposed as a charlatan who has no actual faith in the current ownership despite your protestations.

            Away with you troll.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Blimey, you will not back your words.

            I’m calling you out on this:

            6. In the last 2 weeks we’ll sign 3 or 4 cheap foreign players and one £7m “marquee “ signing

            Put up or shut up.

            I’ll go with the other bet but have the courage of your convictions.

      • jack

        What do you reckon it’s gonna be , I reckon it’ll be between 20-25million net spend ,perhaps even lower

  • Leazes.

    I think that Charnley is no more than a functionary without power. It can’t be that difficult to do what he does as he appears to be as thick as ashit sandwich.

    Most of the stuff associated with the club is outsourced ….
    Catering to Sodexo who pay and hire their own staff
    Advertising and Marketing and Merchandising has gone to SD as have the profits.
    Accounts are done by independent crooks.

    What is left… negotiations with the Coach and tying up transfers in and out! …. good at it isn’t he?

    • Kneebotherm8

      Charnley plays the part of the incompetent buffoon really well………we on this site are more than willing to put the blame for lack of transfer activity firmly at his door………..in fact we’re playing right into Ashleys hands by doing so….

      • panther

        That imbecile can’t even open a door

        • Kneebotherm8

          He’d make good doorstop……thats about the limit of his capabilities….

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    This the way he runs all his businesses. Keith Halliwell is the fall guy at SD – that ex policeman with his amazing business background. He uses people constantly to take the heat, manipulates his Boards mercilessly, plays the regulatory system like a VIctorian capitalist, and has only succeeded in business through ruthless acquisitiveness and an inevitably rising stock market. He is a classic 21st century businessman – he doesn’t add value to the business – he extracts it. Pity us at the Toon.

    • FatParosite

      & all the while the 50,000 pay to keep the club alive.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      You can claim a lot of things if Mike Ashley, he may have got lucky etc but he’s not done badly.

      • TheFatController

        In football business he’s done atrociously. Apart from getting a big club relegated twice, and almost making it three and thus doubling the number of relegations in our history, we’ve had Spurs go from £11m ahead in commercial revenues to £58m ahead. Before they get their new ground.

        I wish he would get lucky in football, but invariably it’s a business you have to make your own luck in …

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The only reason why we’ve been relegated so rarely is that historical lying we’ve rubbish at getting promoted

          • jack

            Rubbish at getting promoted lol. That’s a new one , we’re rubbish at being relegated under Ashley

          • paul mclaughlan

            No we’re really good at getting relegated under Ashley. 😂

          • TheFatController

            Nope, we’ve been in the top tier way longer than the second tier

          • Andy Mac

            “The only reason why we’ve been relegated so rarely is that historically we’ve rubbish at getting promoted”

            Straight out of the Fatman spin phrasebook.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We’ll, under Mike we have been in the top division for 10 of the 12 seasons. Historically, that’s slightly better than our average performance being in the top division for 2/3 of the time.

          • Andy Mac

            Or we could have been in the top division for 23 out of 25 seasons ? 🤔

            The owner has overseen the only two relegations weve had in the Premier League because that’s what he does.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The first one was on the cards in any case, we would have started 2007/8 with 10 point deduction without Mike. In hindsight, that’s what should have happened with someone like Ashley coming in to pick up the pieces.

      • jack

        Yeah for himself , how has he done good for us .Your just totally irresponsible to say he’s done anything for us , and don’t say he’s got us out of debt because he hasn’t even done that , don’t say he’s given us success or increased our turnover either , basically he’s just taken money out of us .

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          He’s not taken any money out of us, quite the opposite. He’s put more of his own money in than any other person in the clubs history.

          • jack

            Of course he’s taken money out of us . He just disguises it as something else. Open your eyes for Christ sake

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            No, he doesn’t. Why would he disguise it as something else?

            He can take £144m out if the club tax free with a bit of notice. £33m at a drop of a hat, hy would he disguise it as something else? Moreover, as what?

  • Stephen

    I believe we got used to winning nowt but were placated by a marque signing every season.
    All the way back to Wyn Davis who cost 80k when I was a bairn.
    When KK came and was backed in the transfer market to form ‘The Entertainers’ we felt like the mother ship had landed.
    Now I/We feel like an austerity club and we don’t trust Mr. Ashley.
    If the club is really for sale, how is it that no one has taken a punt on Newcastle United.
    Lots of clubs have been sold to new owners in the last decade or so, why not Newcastle?

    • Leazes.

      I like to call them ‘Trophy Signings’…… we’ve now dispensed with that and opted for a ‘Trophy Manager’…. which is cheaper and they don’t get injured as much.

      • Tino o

        Bang on!

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The trophy signings policy almost got us to bankruptcy

          • Geordiegiants

            No it never.

          • Wezza147

            Just block Fleckman/monkseaton/ghostrider/comeandtakeit/vodkamagpie etc. Theyre Manchester trolls who just wind us up to get a rise and feed their sad, pathetic egos.

          • Tino o

            And Ashley’s way has had us relegated twice

          • panther

            No we almost won the prem and champs league

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            So did Leeds

          • panther

            Better to burn out than fade away

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Depends if you’ve just sunk £277m of your kid’s inheritance into it.

          • jack

            I’d prefer the hall shepherd regime any day of the week at least we had ambition and bit of success , what’s Ashley done? Maybe we will find out what he’s done one day , because he will get found out eventually

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We’d have been relegated and remained Newcastle united 2007 limited under Shepherd. You can’t just ignore the financial realities.

          • Geordiegiants

            Someone else would of bought us Bobbi.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Ashley didn’t buy the club as a good samaratin……he bought it to be a vehicle for his emerging SD empire……..those on here who said he was hoodwinked into buying a massively debt laden club,unwittingly,are living in cloud cuckoo land…..he went into the venture with his eyes wide open…

          • jack

            Who said we would of been relegated ?

          • jack

            2006/7 we finished 7th , 2007/8 we finished 12th ,2008/9we were relegated thanks to Mr Ashley who you claim saved us

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            2006/7 we finish 13th, we lost £33m and Shepherd appointed a manager on Mega money that nobody wanted and the club could not afford to add to the squad we couldn’t afford.

            The club was finished without a massive injection of cash. Ashley was the one that put the money in, there didn’t appear to be anyone else willing to do so.

          • jack

            I stand corrected , your right it was 13 th , it was 7th 2005/6 , and when Ashley took over it was all downhill after that , and we are actually more in debt since he took over to the tune of 144 million , and that’s what we no of , there is still this thing about the 55million for land lease yet .I’ll guarantee soon after he leaves we will more than likely go into administration when the full debt he has us in comes to light .Not only that but turnover had actually went down eleven years later , he’s sold land so we can no longer have the opportunity to expand capacity .,we get next to nothing from club sales of shirts etc , we’ve had a net spend averaging 4-9million over eleven years , been relegated twice , no ambition in cups .You tell me exactly how he’s been good for us ? It’s a joke what your saying

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We’ll, it’s not all been downhill. We’ve finished above the level we were at when he took over 5 out of the 11 years and another 2 where we were promoted as champions.

          • jack

            I think you’ve got your figures wrong. The Hall /shepherd regime done much better than that .Your counting two promotions from championship as success when we should never have been relegated in the first place .In the Halls and shepherd regime we have an average finishing position of 7th that’s including time in old first division when Keegan took over , whereas the average position under Ashley is 11th , and this includes two first places where we won championship otherwise average position would be a much higher figure .Not only that Ashley has relegated us twice by lack of investment mainly and poor manager decisions .Under Hall’s tenure we qualified for Europe seven times,champions league and Europa league .We also reached two cup finals , never got relegated .The only time we qualified for Europe with Ashley he didn’t invest after doing so , only signing Anita .You also have to take into account the infrastructure , the stadium , the training facilities that are Halls legacy , and Ashley is responsible ffor none of that .In fact under Ashley things have regressed .He’s also made it impossible for any future expansion.We are just a simple cash cow for Ashley .Anyone that criticises the Halls and shepherd regime must be nuts , our profile worldwide was raised , falcons rugby , Eagles basketball , cobras ice hockey .Lister motor racing team at le man’s all in the Newcastle livery .And if he had got permission to build sporting club at Leazes park things could have been a lot better .Ashley has nothing to improve us , and has taken us back to the Westwood Mckeag times .

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m not comparing the whole period 1992-2007, some of that time was wonderful. The problem was, we were still losing money for much of the time.

            By the time Ashley took over, the aculualation of debt and losees had reached breaking point and Shepherd had clearly lost the plot in his despair.

            Ashley took over a failing bunch of players, all of which were over-paid and at the wrong end of their careers. We finished 13th in 2007 and there was no hint of us competing.

            I was at the first game of the Ashley era and we destroyed Bolton but the football was not pretty. Ashley should have been as strong on spending from the outset. Geremi was already committed to but Alan Smith could have been vetoed, these were still Shepherd deals, typical names with big wages but no real future. Aladycr apparently wanted Smith so Ashley went along with it, even wearing his first signings’ shirt but had he been as strong then, we’d have recovered quicker. In hindsight, he should never have sacked Aladyce until the finances were sorted and then bought KK in.

          • jack

            I just don’t agree with you one bit , Ashley has put us as far back as the Chinese .Your gushing praise for Ashley seems to suggest you have some other agenda , and sacking allardyce was not a mistake , but the treatment of keeegan was,or should I say the lies to keegan .As far as Ashley is goes he’s been the worst that could have ever of happened to Newcastle, but your walking around with Rose tinted glasses on, you and a few others , but the majority of the 52000 see the damage he’s caused .

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We may be at risk of forgetting some of the history here. The EPL is a hugely different place than in the 1990s, when Hall could underwrite the debts and Keegan could very nearly win the title. There was just a chance that we could have hung on near the top in a sort of Spurs-like way, but the bad decisions – which started way before Ashley came along – completely scuppered that prospect. Keegan was replaced by Dalglish, who dismantled the best team we are ever likely to see in black and white with indecent haste, and then Gullit completed the demolition. SBR produced a brief revival, but we became increasingly dependent financially on perennial CL qualification, which was never likely to be sustainable. When we missed it, he was replaced with the appalling Souness, and he and Shepherd blew whatever borrowing power we had left on some terrible players. When we inevitably failed to get anywhere near CL qualification, we were on the verge of bankruptcy.
            >
            > That is the situation that Ashley took over. It was an impending disaster, not some well-functioning outfit that required only a bit of tweaking to restore to greatness. Clearly, he made a lot of terrible decisions on the footballing side, and some of his appointments have been beyond parody. With the sole exception of believing Hall that due diligence was an unnecessary frippery, I don’t believe he has done so on the financial side, and the evidence does not support that idea that he has starved the club of funds.

          • jack

            Come on will you , you seem to be writing off history as though had never happened .The halls and shepherd were in charge of some of the most successful times in the last 50 years , there’s no comparison to Ashley , and if there’s any death knell sounded at Newcastle he’ll be the one responsible for it , it’s all in black and white the two sets of records of the last two regimes but still you gush about what Ashley has done . Ashley is the worst regime since the Westwood regime , and you say the premiere league league was a different beast back then , but surely you have to move with the times and under Ashley we have stagnated and are totally without ambition , and that’s fact .

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m not writing off history. The fact of the matter was that by the time Ashley came in, the club was lucky to finish 13th with a squad of players that was no longer competeing at the top of the league but avoiding relegation.

            I go on about the finances but we were in a mess.

            Mistakes were made by Ashley, I don’t deny that but the club could not go on as it was. It couldn’t keep writing debt to finance expensive players at the twilight of their careers.

          • jack

            Your definitely writing off history ,and you finish where you deserve to in football , luck has nothing to do with it .You won’t have a bad word to say about Ashley , Ashley has been a cancer to this club and most people can see it but you , most professional people can see it , and the majority of supporters can see it , we are more in debt now than we were back then , we’ve no ambition , infrastructure hasn’t moved since the halls , we’ve no club shop only sports direct which is taking money out of the club , we’re paid nothing for advertising , we’ve been relegated twice , facilities are rubbish and not improved , land has been sold , net spend of under five million in eleven years in charge and I could go on and on , but what’s the point .And all you have to say is that he’s kept us out of debt , thank you Mr Ashley , but the truth of the matter is we are actually more in debt than ever before .Professional specialists in football finance have constantly told you this and still you bury your head , wise up Bobbi will you

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            We finish where we deserve and 13th is where we were at in 2007. The team were getting worse, players were old and on the wane. We’ve finished 10th this term, that’s an improvement.

            Sure, it should have been good enough to stay in the division but how could it improve? There was no money left, the club was losing money and really it had nobody to sell either. Owen was saleable but his wage made him difficult to shift.

            I’ve had conversations with the professional specialists in football finance and they tend to agree with me. Which one says anything different.

            The merchandise is far more profitable for the club under the wind of Sports Direct than trying to do so ourselves. The catering is just as profitable under Sodexo and we’ve sold a small car park that was intended to be a casino but really a white elephant.

          • jack

            13 th is a lot better than relegation and prior to that a much better record than our woeful one under Ashley .And merchandise are actually down since sports direct ran things .And the car park wasn’t a white elephant at all , no land is a white elephant , and we see no benefit of sold land , only Ashley sees the benefit of that

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            No, Merchandise is not down, it made a loss in 2007, now very profitable.

            The car park was bought for the casino project, the project didn’t get off the ground. We borrowed £3.5m to pay for it at an interest rate a charver buying a souped up Vauxhall would wince at. By letting it to the car park company, it did not pay for the interest, the club lost money running it. By selling that land, we paid off the loan and provided money to get promoted in 2010, why on earth would you keep it?

          • Desree

            So does relegation

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It didn’t though, the first one got rid of the dead wood. The 2nd one was unfortunate

    • Tino o

      Why not Newcastle? He’s on too much of a good thing and has never had any intention of selling!

    • panther

      They try, he keeps upping the price

    • jack

      Wyn Davies , I remember it well , all the fans throwing pennies onto the pitch begging the management to sign a striker , so Wyn came and they threw pennies back at crowd , mind you they picked the original ones up lol , happy days , but not half as bad as Ashley owning us

  • Andy Mac

    As I said before £150k a year seems a lot to pay for a puppy ?

    • Kneebotherm8

      For what he does………I think he’s grossly overpaid…..

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    £150k a year plus bonuses is about the going rate for a sub £200m turnover business no matter how much other football clubs pay their execs.

    • TheFatController

      Surely market forces and not turnover determine the cost of a good MD?

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Very true but in Newcastle and the North East what is the going rate in the private sector?

    • Come&TakeIt1836

      At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist common to the site, it wouldn’t be a shock to me if Charnley has a few duties at some other part of the MASH empire and gets further compensation from there…maybe even bonuses he doesn’t publically turn down. This nominal amount for a single person looks more like a bit of a charade to have a minimal necessary executive expense at NUFC but the balance (including Bishop, Barnes, etc) can be kept off these books to help the club’s profitability (FFP considerations) and to provide a little personal privacy.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I think he’s just NUFC tbph.

        • Come&TakeIt1836

          It really could be. If so it really is pretty embarrassing. Not that I want him overpaid to make me feel better but if he was happy to accept that as his full regular pay then he is the wrong man for the role unless he really has very little power. Then the role is the wrong one for operation and whichever it is, this serves as my exhibit one of Ashley problems. In such a flat organization structure, as I think you probably recognize, you need people that are experienced at some executive level and are compensated for their expertise. He must be a relative newbie to being an executive. Then add in the specifics of football organizational leadership, its finances and deal negotiations… and all of this while supposedly casting a trusting image and positive public relations shadow.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s a good bit over my salary. It’s a decent Managing Directors salary in the north east of England.

            I think you may be right, the use of others to run the show keeps the costs down and profit up. Ideal if you are selling the club.

  • JonMag

    what`s [email protected]@k off in Spanish as Rafa looks like he`s not putting up with anymore schitt from that bunch of scumbags

    • Peaky

      Vete a la mierda……

  • Rich Lawson

    If Barnes and Bishop are power brokers at SJP I doubt they do it for fun ? They must get a wage from Ashley somewhere ? Or does he just take them down the casino and give them a bucket of chips to put on black/red ?

    • Kneebotherm8

      Yeah he gets a bucket of chips as well………..he eats his…… plus half of Barnes and Bishops’ buckets…….has 10 pints and chasers…….then pukes all over the fire place……..good night had by all…….🍟🍟🍺🍺🍹🍹

  • Dillon Tovak

    The Mag has got irritated by so many people blocking their “debate instigating” trolls so has taken to not allowing you to stay logged in so you have to see them.
    That’s my conspiracy theory for the day anyway 😂
    Genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if I was correct though.

    • TheFatController

      The trolls actually do the regime a disservice – they are ahead of the regime in spinning things to make it look like we have no money and Rafa isn’t a messiah.

      They get that exposed as nonsense by people on here.

      Then when the regime press release info to make it look like we have no money and ‘to play fair Rafa’ might help them, we’ve heard it all before and know the reality.

    • Peaky

      I’ve had enough of this having to log in every time I now want to post…..doing my head in….Disqus/The Mag have done something as don’t have this problem with any other site so can’t blame the new data protection laws…what a bunch of fuc*ing shithouses…..sort it out W A N K E R S……..

      • Billmag

        Spot on.😀😀

      • Wor Lass

        Seconded!

  • Guest 2

    So, the [email protected] behind ensuring Rafa hasn’t signed yet, have a meeting without Rafa, to discuss how they can keep Rafa. The bloke allegedly tasked with ensuring we keep Rafa (Penfold) isn’t at this ‘strategic’ meeting either.
    Sadly, I believe every word.

  • mactoon

    No indication of what they were discussing then.

  • panther

    So he’s drinking alone in London

  • Weyhhadaway

    What would you like to drink sir?
    Lager
    Are you ready to order?
    I’ll have the chicken vindaloo. Popadoms and a garlic naan.
    Discussions about the club? Nobody knows.
    So the fat lad was out with his mates at the weekend. Whoopy doo.

  • robbersdog

    So…Mike Ashley has his two ‘troubleshooters’ who act and negotiate as per his instructions as well as his pet poodle Charnley, and Benitez has an agent AND a legal team.

    It is quite clear that the personal relationship between owner and manager is non-existent, and everything boils down to two issues – Rafa’s salary and the transfer budget. It’s a high-stakes game of poker between two players who are both using third parties to act on their behalf – Ashley’s trump card is that he controls the finances, and Rafa’s aces are his fantastic relationship with the fans and the fact that he coached an under-funded squad to 10th place.

    It’ll be very interesting to see who folds first.

    • Shipcote Willy

      I agree with most of that but Rafa also wants to have control over comings and goings and to build the club from bottom up. It’s the exact opposite of what Ashley wants.

  • Leicester Mag

    Well stand by for something as palatable as a hossh1t pie coming flinging out of this.

  • MadMag83

    The only things they’ll have been discussing are likely to have been ;

    A) What’s the smallest transfer budget we can Rafa to agree to?

    B) Who can we line up to replace him on the cheap if he walks?

    C) Can Ashley’s goons find another interested party?

    D) When it goes wrong, how to we spin it to look like Rafa, Charnley, and the fans are to blame.

    • Shipcote Willy

      Were you at the meeting? . Sounds like an accurate account of events to me!

      • MadMag83

        Yeah I go to all of Ashley’s “business meetings”. It’s my job to hold his pint while he throws up in a fireplace.

  • nufcslf

    Those that continue to show up and finance this c**t are the real problem. Nothing worth supporting for as long as he remains. Pathetic and hope Rafa walks to let him get on with his hideou destruction of the club. What a joke.

    • Desree

      Are you referring toSky the fans don’t finance the club. TV money is 3x -4x the revenue from gate receipts and shirts

      • nufcslf

        Still goes a hell of a long way to his dreadful cause of taking the piz and ruining the club. Empty ground on match day….televised or not…would up skuttle the fat barsteward and give his cage a much needed rattle. Full ground just let’s the c**t do what he wants. Little to no interest in it while fatso is there, so it can carry on until it all ends up in none league football and it will eventually.

  • Liam Hogg

    It’s an ego massaging lesson Ashley will be saying things & his lap dogs will be nodding agreeing saying yes. Weve Got the lowest paid managing directer in the top two tiers who is nothing more than a glorified tea boy. The sooner this fat charlatan sells us the better

    • MadMag83

      Surely Charnley is more than a tea boy? I can’t imagine Ashley has a cuppa without a few chocolate biscuits!

      • Liam Hogg

        He’s whatever fat boy tells him to be!

  • Shipcote Willy

    Charnley is the second lowest paid CEO in
    the league but is well paid for his job as an Ashley lackey an expert able to say ‘yes Mike’ at any given time. Most fans remember what KK said; you can’t trust Mike Ashley. The rumour is Rafa won’t be allowed to spend any money, apart from the keeper, (if Penfold gets his lard ar** into gear before the loan deal and option to buy expires) until he commits to club I.e signs a new contract but he still has no assurances or guarantees about what he can spend if he does sign. He is allowed to sell of course, no problem. It’s brinkmanship from the odious owner, playing games with misleading statements and smoke and mirrors accounts ably assisted by the stooges mentioned above. Part of me hopes Rafa walks to call his bluff and watch the clubdisintegrate via more Ashley clueless decisions and crazy appointments. The alternative seems to be Rafa staying and expecting to perform more miracles on a meagre budget. The club has no future with Ashley and Rafa must know that. Most fans do.

    • MadMag83

      If Rafa walks and the club disintegrates, it won’t​ get rid of Ashley, he would merely sell whatever assets the club still has in order not to invest a penny of his own money.

      Our ONLY hope is that Rafa stays, and some rich benefactor buys the club. Or the fans to set up a company and buy it, but that seems even more unlikely.

      • Leazes.

        I think Rafa is the only asset we haven’t sold.

        • MadMag83

          Give it time.

      • jack

        I’m retired but would gladly make a standing order of 20 pound a week (that’s all I’d be able to afford ) ,but I’d do it for as long as it takes if someone starts this off to get rid of him , it might take a while but what have we got to lose , we can’t get any worse

      • Peter C

        When Benitz leaves, not if, which will probably be when his current contract expires. The club has a good chance of disintegrating as you suggest.

        If that should happen many of the playing staff we have now, will be looking to leave, as rats would be a sinking ship. The resulting effect would more than likely, be relegation and what’s happened to Sunderland over the last two seasons.

        Ashley would do what Ellis Short has done, and practically give the club away, as it would be well nigh worthless, but of course, not before he’s picked the carcass clean.

        The only problem with this doomsday scenario, it could take a hell of a long time to get back too the position we occupy now.

        The consolation of course, is that Ashley would be gone, and he would have to take a hefty financial hit. But personally, I don’t think he would be that bothered, it’s a heavier price to pay for the supporters.

        As one of the regular contributors on this site has intimated, life for Mike Ashley, is more about the power and control that he can exert, than anything else.

        After all, what is money to the extremely wealthy, it is only a means and tool, to facilitate them, to influence and dominate others, and Mike Ashley is all about influencing and dominating, all dictators are.

        PS I hope I’m completely wrong, but that’s the way I see it.

        We can only hope, that some philanthropic wealthy patron, with more money than sense, comes along and buys the club, not a greedy malevolent one, we have now.

        Here’s hoping!

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        150,000 fans, £2,500 each will buy the club and a war chest. Money and mouth aligned.

        • MadMag83

          I’d pay it. The trouble is finding​another 149,999 that are willing to make that commitment.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            With a well thought out business orientated business plan, so would I. It’s what I thought NUST should have been about but in reality, they want to do some lovely things with foodbanks etc rather than come up with a valid business plan that will attract serious investment.

            You and I know full well, there are people who can’t afford £2,500 but maybe can do £500 and at the same time, there will be people who can afford serious money and like any business, they get more of a say in how things are going to be.

  • Desree

    Anyone else think the running of the club resembles the mob.

    Fat Tony at the top, Lee Charnley the useless nephew who only gets the job to keep sister sweet.

    Joe Kinnear the Joe Pesci character who gets whacked for letting his mouth go too many times.

    Pardew the silver tongued union boss who gets in trouble at the casino and has a debt for life.

    Bishop and the other bloke silent assassins.

    I bet goodfellas was Ashley’s favourite movie and he is living his fantasy as far Pauly.

    Let’s hope Kevin Costner get these crooks on tax evasion

    • MadMag83

      Goodfellas is also his favourite pizza.

  • jack

    You know your talking rubbish now , ask any developer if land is a white elephant , and the money off that didn’t get us promoted at all .Did you see the study on blog last week by football financial expert , merchandise has been down since Ashley took over. I’m sure your living in Ashley’s fantasy island , the majority of the bloggers on here are right , it’s a waste of time discussing anything with you. Your either in the pay of Ashley or some other unknown agenda ,

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      For a developer, the land is not a white elephant but NUFC are not property developers. The money from the sale have the club more cash than any other piece of business that season. It provided working capital to pay for wages etc, along with the loan, sale of Habid Beye & Duff etc financed the £16m loss made that season.

      Which football finance expert? They are not all perfect. The price of Football guy had to accept he made a mistake at the weekend with his claim over the £50m lease when some brilliantly clever person explained that it was actually the lease for the land on which the ground sits.

      The turnover from the merchandise may well be lower but that does not matter as it’s the profit that matters.