Once the relegation/safety issue was put to bed, Newcastle fans no longer had a diversion keeping them from the worries surrounding Rafa Benitez when having to deal with Mike Ashley.

With a month passing since then and Rafa now saying still next to no progress on any agreement to extend his stay, it is sadly going along with most of our expectations, if not our hopes.

Each of the last three transfer windows, the Newcastle manager has gone public with his unhappiness at how the club’s owner has let him down with broken ‘promises’.

So it would have been a major surprise, sadly, if Mike Ashley had quickly sorted out Rafa’s concerns once Premier League safety was reached.

Rafa Benitez was satisfied last summer when Mike Ashley told him ‘every penny’ would be made available to him in the transfer window, only to then discover that the reality wasn’t what he had expected.

Whilst Brighton and Huddersfield made some of this season’s Premier League available up front to try and help ensure survival, clearly Mike Ashley did nothing of the sort.

One year on and clearly Mike Ashley isn’t promising ‘every penny’ to Rafa Benitez this time.

Luke Edwards in The Telegraph is normally pretty well informed and in his latest excellent piece [short extract below], he has given an informed overview of the situation.

With the club expected to make a profit of somewhere between £60m and £80m this season, he says that his understanding is that Rafa Benitez has not been offered that amount to use in the transfer market. Not quite ‘every penny’.

For me, the only/main hope of major change, was if there had been quick agreement between Ashley and Rafa on what happened next.

With such a public stand-off now, can we really expect Mike Ashley to now move significantly closer to what the manager wants/needs? No, me neither.

Likewise, no way is Rafa Benitez going to tie himself to the owner with an extended contract, if he is still going to be messed about.

Personally, I don’t see Rafa walking away.

Instead, I think we will end up with some unsatisfactory third option, where the manager will carry on and complete the third and final year of his contract, with some increased spending power but nowhere near what he was asking for to take the club forward.

I don’t think Mike Ashley will really care if this happens, yes he would rather tie down Rafa to a longer deal, but he has stumbled along season by season for 11 years, trying to survive in the Premier League with as small a spend on transfers as he thinks he can get away with, so what’s the problem with doing this for a twelfth season, then seeing where we are at in 12 months time.

Obviously, this is yet again harming the long-term prospects of the club but Mike Ashley doesn’t care about that.

It is all live for today and get whatever benefits he can from the club while he can, the health of NUFC in the future isn’t any concern of his.

Ashley happy to wait and see whether anybody might be daft enough to come along and pay the £100m+ over price tag he has put on the club.

If he isn’t going to change his approach when he has Rafa Benitez to look after the club, then clearly it is never going to happen.

Luke Edwards writing in The Telegraph:

‘Benitez…wants to know he will be given the resources to build a team over the next three  years that is at least able to challenge the dominance of English football’s Big Six. Benitez does not want to spend billions, but he wants a recruitment budget that is bigger than last year’s.

On top of that, he wants to make sure that, when he is told how much money there is to spend, those figures are set in stone rather than scribbled on a white board and conveniently wiped away and forgotten when it suits the agenda of others.

He wants to know why, if the club is expected to make a profit of between £60- 80m after one year in the Premier League, is all that money not being made available to him to strengthen the squad?

At the moment, Telegraph Sport understands the “pot of cash” that has been offered to Benitez is not at that level.’



  • ghostrider

    Just more speculation for another massive dig at Ashley.
    The hatred in some people borders on insane. Finding any hateful thing in order to put down one person whilst trying to big up another.

    Unless Rafa’s been talking to the reporter or Ashley or Charnley has, then I highly doubt anyone knows what’s on the table.
    Just hateful speculation to stir up another hornets nest.

    • joe mac

      we will see who,s right then!…my guess is it wont be you!

      • ghostrider

        You’re well entitled to your guess.

        • Christopher Smeaton

          I have been reading the comments on here for quite some time- and you always seem to side with Ashley. Please don’t consider this a personal attack, I’m just genuinely curious as to why you seemingly never side with Rafa, and always try to defend the hideous lack of investment by Ashley.

          You never seem to acknowledge that Ashley is intentionally ambiguous with his promises of investment. He said in a very forced and false interview that Rafa would have ‘every penny’ the club generates.

          Why can’t you accept that MA is underhanded- look at his other businesses and the legal trouble he finds himself in- the treatment of his staff, and his disrespectful behaviour of public vomiting after drinking excessively.

          At least Rafa is trying to nurture some of the club potential.

          Why the constant Ashley love in? What am I missing?

          Why is that?

          • Wezza147

            You probably won’t get an answer but given the history of lies and sick tactics I’d say they are paid to spread disinformation and pro Ashley propaganda.
            I know of no real Newcastle fan that would side with Ashley.

          • Jezza

            He’s not a Newcastle fan, he’s a Manchester supporting troll.

          • Jezza

            True. How many Newcastle fans love Ashley but hate Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan?

          • Wezza147

            None since the trolls are Scum Utd fans. They really must live sad lives!

          • Ram Kishore

            He hates Rafa pal.. in the beginning when our style of play was bad I kinda accepted his viewpoint which were genuine..
            But apart from that he’s pretty much pro Ashley

          • Jezza

            He is a troll who just likes to wind up Newcastle fans and provoke a reaction. He is not a Newcastle supporter he is a season ticket holder at Old Trafford.

          • ghostrider

            First of all I have slated Ashley but I’ve slated him for things he’s deserved, which doesn’t constitute hatred like the frenzied lynch mob stoop to.

            My digs at him get overlooked because of my praise for what he’s also done and because I’m generally in a minority in terms of outspoken.
            people will generally overlook anything I say when criticising him due to my criticising being simply that and not full of bile and hatred that some expect he deserves.

            The man has done a lot of good for this club but it’s chosen to be hidden by the masses… and the weak minded will refuse to acknowledge it for fear of being set upon verbally or even in words on a screen.

            The media have done a fantastic job in trying to destroy the man and make people like you feel disgust at him for partying and being sick….yet the very same ‘you’ would find it part and parcel with most others who party…including yourself….now or in the past, depending on how old you are.

            And just in case I’m wrong and you are clean living and abhor this stuff…you clearly understand what I’m getting at.

            It’s the classic case of love the person who initially provides and promises. Smile, drink and hug. Shake hands and laugh along with that person, because your highs have this person as an integral part of your well being and future excitement.

            Do you know who I’m on about?
            Ashley when he first came.

            However, when the expected stuff wanes, the fun stops and the person who was on the pedestal is now unfunny and also nasty and will never be trusted ever again…..and blah blah blah….as it goes.

            I’ve been a Newcastle United supporter and fan all my life (I keep saying it)…over 47 years and I’ve seen the good the bad and the downright ugly of ownerships and how the fans react and then forget or at least forgive until there’s a need to bring it back to a dig fest.

            The owners before Ashley called us thick and mugs for buying cheap shirts and they called the women derogatory names.
            It gained news because the media seen the potential to stoke up some hatred and put down the club and owners.

            The shenanigans go on and on but were forgotten because the owners just happened to be Geordies.
            See where I’m coming from?

            I don’t really need to go into the rest but I will just reiterate that Ashley has had my digs and I’ve agreed with many things but I won’t just leave it at that and be done with it when I can also see the upside that many refuse to see until it suits.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Seriously you missed your calling as a politician ghost, that was just a load of waffle above. One consistent with all you Ashley apologists is you always bring up previous owners to try and deflect from the fact that you are defending the indefensible.

          • ghostrider

            I’m defending an owner who deserves defending against hatred.
            I’m more than happy for him to be criticised for things he’s messed up on as long as he gets kudos as well. It has to work both ways.

            But here’s something for you to get your teeth into if you’re interested in looking through the years.
            Think on what would have happened had Ashley not taken over this club.

            Just think about John Hall’s desperation to offload it because he knew it was a sinking ship.
            Think of the potential downfall if Hall had taken advice from Freddy Shepherd to not sell his shares instead of selling them behind Shepherd’s back.
            I call it divine intervention in terms of Hall.
            Yeah he cut and run but in doing so, he left Shepherd in a no win position and forced him to have to sell his shares to Ashley.

            Seems a bad move right?

            Let me tell you that it was the only move that could have happened to save this club from a fate that has befallen Sunderland.

            Make no mistake about the debt those men had this club in and there was no way out of it other than to hard sell it or for it to go into administration, because there was nobody capable of bailing it out other than someone like Ashley and Ashley was the only viable option…..or the doldrums.

            To this day we sit in the premier league.
            Not only that…but we do so in solid financial fettle.

            That’s not failure mate. It’s success in its own right when up against the silly money clubs.
            The only issue for fans is in not following the Keegan/Robson pattern which is always used as a yardstick without much thought as to how it was achieved and the risks taken to flirt for success, which failed but looked much like what the fans deem success as……yet the real success is deemed as winning trophies/silverware…as second best is soon frowned upon and the bigger prizes are expected.

            Success to me is being able to enjoy being entertained by a good footballing team and the potential hope that comes from it.
            We still have hope but Rafa’s not providing the footballing entertainment that his 5/6 million a year salary should produce.
            yet Ashley gets the blame for not backing him when he clearly has.
            the major issue is in fans believing 10 million or 12 million is chicken feed…and loan signings on £100,000 a week are nothing when we should be panic buying some 20 million Dutch forward that’s produced little.

            A mixed bag that requires sorting and not just cherry picked pieces of info to suit one person and dish the other.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Sorry but that’s just more nonsense. You’ve fallen into the same trap of defending Ashley by comparing him to previous owners instead of judging him on his own merits. It’s deflection. Also do you have a mortgage? I do and it’s 2.5 times my annual income, many people are far in excess of that, yet service the payments perfectly acceptably. Our club debt to turnover wasn’t even 1:1, I think it was around £70 million. You telling me a Premier League club of our size can’t service that level of debt? Ludicrous. We can both agree that the previous owners had done very well out of NUFC and had ran up debt speculating on success that unfortunately just eluded us but to say we were going bust is complete rubbish.

          • ghostrider

            We weren’t going bust under Hall and Shepherd. We were bust.
            We were finished with the banks and Hall was not prepared to bail it out, out of his own family wealth and Shepherd had nothing to give. It was all tied up in the club that was not giving and wouldn’t have given if Ashley hadn’t rode along on his horse.

            I have to use previous owners to get through to people just what a state this club was in.
            People can argue all they want about due diligence being forfeited by Ashley for a quick sale and it’s Ashley’s fault for taking it on….but they don’t seem to realise that, had he not done so in the way he did, he’d have likely ran a mile when due diligence was done.

            Circumstances that fell in our favour. And yes I mean our favour…..worked out as they did due to all of that and is why we are where we are today…still a premier league club and still able to bring in managers on sickening wages just to try and get things right.

            That’s Ashley trying all avenues but doing so with a careful enough approach to understand that any appointment, no matter what pedigree and what salary, does not guarantee you a successful future but the careful approach can guarantee a contingency plan each time.

            Let’s put it in a simple way.
            If Ashley leaves this club and we don’t get taken over by an Abramovich type of a Sheikh with long term ambition and contingency….we will struggle, because nobody will run this club better than Ashley, other than what I said….because the days of consortiums pumping money in long term…are dead and buried.

            We could seriously end up in dire trouble if Ashley was another Hall and just took his money and ran.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Any evidence that we were “finished with the banks”? The debt then was half the size of our debt to Ashley now and 3/4 of the debt then was due to the stadium redevelopment? What has Ashley done to improve our infrastructure? Nowt!

            I’ve provided common sense reasoning in my earlier reply to you why the level of debt was serviceable and comparable to many other Premier League clubs at the time. The bank didn’t pull any of my mortgages despite a far less healthy turnover to debt ratio so where is your evidence?

            Shepherd/Hall made mistakes and made plenty of money from us so don’t take this as a defence of them but at least we tried to compete on a sporting front whilst improving the stadium. Besides quit your obsession with them and just discuss Ashley, Shepherd/Hall sold up 11 years ago, Shepherd isn’t even alive now!!

          • ghostrider

            I’ve got nothing against Shepherd or even Hall in terms of their attempts of vision. I loved them for it.
            That’s not the point though. the point is their love for the club as fans nearly destroyed it because they wanted what we all wanted.
            The problem is they were gambling with borrowed money on a large scale.

            They probably could have borrowed more but it would have been at their own personal detriment on their wealth and Hall was not prepared to take that chance, especially as he knew what he was up against with Abramovich and the influx of sugar daddies rolling in with cash on the hip and blank cheques.

            And like I said, Ashley took on those debts.
            They still had to be paid.
            It was a lot more than you’re stating.

            And if you want evidence then you provide the evidence to the contrary.

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            Just hoping to be helpful…

            Although total debt is higher now, it is internal (no interest) and is a much smaller ratio of the total value of the club. 11-12 years ago, the bank debt, pending payments to other club’s, etc was about equal to the club’s overall value. It was a house of cards that was about to crash.

            All that debt and other debts taken on since in the effort to have cash on hand during the financial recovery were finally paid off just this year. The remaining debts that are payable to either MA or St James Holdings, despite being significantly more in raw amount v what existed 11-12 years ago, is only about a third of the club’s total value.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Is that the same valuation we’ve not been able to reach in the decade Ashley has supposedly been trying to sell?

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            It is the valuation as of today. The club’s value obviously has increased substantially in 11-12 years. The fact that nobody has paid it doesn’t mean it is wrong. The club’s valuation will for the most part not be a subjective price tag as your comment somewhat inherently implies.

            Assets equal liabilities plus owner’s equity. It is really that simple. The club’s worth is equal to its asset valuation. Honest minds can value a player at different amounts. Even the buildings and land valuations may create some disagreement. But the overall value between two parties should not be too far apart in the end.

            So then you look for third party valuations (such as the value of Southampton when it was sold or land values in the area) and benchmark against a market standard. This all suggests MA’s valuation is not far off. He was willing to take less when there was a threat of relegation (asset devaluing) but no longer. Financially he literally could not afford the PCP offers previously given.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Southampton deal reported as valuing the club at £200 million. You presumably value NUFC at £450 million if the debts only equate to 1/3.

            The value of anything is ultimately what someone is prepared to pay (and nobody has proved willing to buy NUFC at your price), rather than some magic formula, but we have one of our flats for sale, a bargain for you as long as we can use your formula.

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            I saw it reported as ~£210M and that was an 80% ownership so the total club valuation was ~£265M. Newcastle has a bigger worldwide presence, bigger stadium, etc., etc, and clubs have only grown in value since that transaction. A club value of ~£350M a year ago (and willing to take £300M due to the threat of relegation) and now ~£380-400M is pretty reasonable today.

            I will revise my comment on percentage of ownership. I was remembering the £129M debt amount and this would be about a third of £380-400M. Upon further review of my memory, the actual debt (unless something has changed this year) is £144M to MA and £33M to St James Holdings for a total of £177M. So the debt is under half of the value of the club (as opposed to previously almost equal to the club’s value so still a valid point) and is internal v with lending institutions.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Ah yes the ever rising, never ending debt. Glad you brought it up. So basically what you are saying is Ashley bought the club and struck gold as the TV deal (that he had nowt to do with) increased revenue and therefore club valuations allowing you to claim that Ashley’s debt to valuation ratio is better than the previous owners despite the fact that:

            1. The debt has doubled (who cares if it’s internal man, even the bank is more honest than Ashley!).

            2. He’s never actually achieved YOUR valuation of the club.

            3. Assuming the valuation has risen, and I believe it has, this has largely nowt to do with Ashley and is due to the TV rights/global appeal of the Premier League.

            4. He’s spent 10 of the last 11 years penny pinching reducing staff, failing to exploit commercial opportunities, taking an already rubbish youth set up somehow even further behind and selling our best players. So we ran up debt trying to compete with the best and having fun and now we’re running up even more debt by dampening all expectations and claiming we can’t compete with Southampton and Swansea.

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            1. Debt ratios are important to a business valuation. A potential buyer is not interested in whether MA is honest. They will care that no interest is payable.
            2. Well, he apparently never has achieved his valuation either so mine must be on the right track. Again, he can’t afford to sell at just any price. The risk of continued ownership is better financially than assuring an unnecessary financial loss.
            3. Okay. Who is responsible for the asset valuation growth is irrelevant. MA could have done more to accentuate the growth. He could have done much less (see Ellis Short, et al).
            4. He spent like 8 years penny pinching. Then when the finances were more or less fixed, we spent £80M…poorly and it was mismanaged. That’s on Carr and McClaren. (reprise Ashley’s trust issues with football folks). Then relegation and no money for a few more years. Let’s see what happens now.

            He has made lots of mistakes. (PR, hiring, firing, speed of decisions, etc, etc, not to mention he just doesn’t present himself as a person of good character. Why would I/we want him representing me/our club?) He might have been able to do better with the finances but this is hardly the area most ripe for fan complaint.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            1. I didn’t say I didn’t care about the debt. I said I don’t care if it’s internal given it’s to Ashley whom I have no trust in. You ignored that the debt has doubled. And there’ll only be no debt going forward if someone overpays for the club which they haven’t in the 10 years it’s allegedly been up for sale.

            2. If he can’t attract a bid worth more than £250 million (without clauses) then how can you assume your valuation of 60% higher than that is correct?!

            3. Given this is a criticism of Mike Ashley’s running of the club I’d say it was highly relevant. You’re expecting me to give credit to Ashley for reducing the debt to value ratio when this has been done despite him, not because of him.

            4. Who appointed Carr and McClaren? Ashley! Did you meet one NUFC fan who wanted McWally as “head coach”?

            Good to see you acknowledge the many areas he has been abysmal in his running of the club but finance can certainly be added as one of them as far as the club is concerned!

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            1. I am not saying you don’t care. I’m saying the debt doubling in raw value isn’t as important as the debt ratio being a little less than half the club’s value. Of course, a potential buyer won’t be concerned with the 11 year trend on the debt ratios, just today’s.
            2. We don’t know this is will remain true. Just one bid has been made public and it is presuming a lot to believe it was not ‘a waste of time’. Obviously this isn’t a can of fruit or even a new auto or house. Selling a multi-million valued item will have few potential buyers and should be expected to be a slow process.
            3. What is a criticism of Ashley running the club? The valuation increasing? I’m not following. That said, managing the debt ratio lower is an achievement. He could have taken advantage of the increased valuation, continued taking on debt and have the club’s assets fully mortgaged. Granted it might not be much in the grand scheme but it is a positive. I would hope any owner we have leverages the market to the best benefit of the club including the facets they do not have control over.
            4. And thus my comments saying his hiring and firing choices have been abysmal. Carr probably had some talent but worked without direction and seems to have refused direction once Rafa came around. His teams were out of balance…a collection of individual talent that couldn’t blend together. And IMO, there is no one person more responsible for our second relegation than McClaren. He was given riches Rafa dreams about in an era prior to values skyrocketing and could not even survive much less push the top end of the table.

            I didn’t say there were not financial complaints to be made but a fair review has to acknowledge the financial pit MA has pulled the club out of. On the balance, his financial efforts have likely been a net positive within the constrictions of the makeup of his wealth and yet people make this complaint number one. If people want to discuss his public relation issues, communication deficits, firing of Hughton, hiring of Charnley, Carver, McClaren, missed transfers due to protracted deliberations, etc., I can join in.

            I know finance reports. I live finance reports. I make businesses and their operations (more) profitable for a living. People who know me say I’m really good at it. Ashley’s finance decisions seem to generally make sense. He may could have taken a longer time to fix things so the austere efforts weren’t quite so austere but that is subjective and, I have to admit, an opinion blind to the precise inputs they are making decisions on. Most financial opinions I read are football people talking business (and look like it)… not that I want only business people to talk football. 😬

          • Gallowgate Dave

            1. Again you are making assumptions on the value of the club though. The debt ratio has only gone down if Ashley pushes the asking price up so far that it puts everyone off. Or maybe that’s part of his plan as he’s not a serious seller?

            2. Slow process? It’s positively glacial. It’s been up for sale off and on for a decade. Could it be that the price he is asking is unrealistic do you think? You could try selling a regular 2 bedroom terrace for a cool million, doesn’t mean it’s worth that.

            3. You said who has grown the asset is irrelevant. I’d say it is relevant given you are arguing that the debt ratio has gone down and Ashley deserves criticism on many levels except finance. The ONLY reason the debt ratio has gone down (assuming your valuation is correct when all the evidence points to the contrary) is because of the Premier League’s marketing expertise, it’s nowt to do with Ashley so I’d say he does deserve financial criticism.

            4. This at least we are in complete agreement on. Carr had his successes and probably found his hands tied as often as the manager. McClaren was an unmitigated disaster but I don’t know a single person who expected anything else.

            The reason why people make finance complaint no.1 is they can probably forgive genuine errors, sometimes beyond a chairman’s control e.g (different era I know) it was generally accepted that Dalglish could be a very good appointment to help us push on that little bit extra but he was as bad as McClaren! I think people would have given Ashley time and patience and allowed mistakes (he was new to running a football club) but know he is an absent owner with no desire to put the effort in that’s required to drive our revenue streams up and can’t even be bothered to outsource that to a proper management team. They also know that he’s very liberal with the truth and makes financial promises he has no intention of sticking to like starting to pay for the free advertising, Rafa’s transfer budget (I mean he can’t even be bothered to communicate with him), the suspicion is there that he is diverting merchandising profits, that the loan will always grow rather than reduce as some clever tax fiddle, that assets are being sold off (land around St James Metro) and that everything is for the financial benefit of Mike Ashley and be damned the club right down to the early exit of the cups in case it jeopardises the gravy train.

            I’m not unrealistic, local businessmen prepared to bankroll the club such as Jack Walker and Steve Gibson are exceptionally rare and even international wealth using the club as a vanity project such as Abramovich or Mansour are just as rare too. The best we can hope for is someone who wants to make a few quid but by making us competitive, that’s why it’s more difficult to begrudge certainly John Hall and even Freddie Shepherd and why we’ll never achieve anything under Ashley. He has a different business model based on no speculation and a low aim of Premier League survival only. We’ll NEVER be anything more under his ownership.

            P.S You aren’t the only one who works in finance.

          • Jezza

            Don’t feed the troll, marra.

          • john stephenson

            Don’t post on here very often but I cannot name a single toon fan I know who has any respect for what Ashley has done. As for othere clubs fans when they talk to you they shake there heads and go what happened to your club. Hardly anecdotal but I doubt anyone has come across as anything dissimilar

          • ghostrider

            Look mate, it’s as simple as this.
            I don’t know many people who’ll openly speak out about many historical happenings if it goes against the accepted indoctrination of it, without proof.
            Why?
            Because mass opinion generally always wins the day and mass opinion is always built up in anger and followed by the pacifists.
            Basically go with the flow. Don’t upset the applecart.
            Do not stir a hornets nest.
            You get the drift.

            Oh and I know many will shout out ” Oh but I speak my mind.”
            They don’t mate….they just don’t. They speak the minds of each others protocol.

            It’s why schools work and colleges work and why people can be made to do menial tasks all their lives in factories and even feel sad when they retire.
            Indoctrination and the need to feel part of something en masse.

            We are hard wired mate.
            Get a few of your mates and stand up in the Newcastle crowd and clap and sing something like, ” Newcastle (clap clap clap) Newcastle (clap clap clap)…..keep doing it for a while and you’ve got thousands following suit.

            Own minds?
            Nah mate, it’s mimicking which is what we were born to do.
            However, there are some people that try not to get dragged into following something they’re not comfortable with. Those people are known as trouble causers. Black sheep.
            See what I mean?

            I’m stamped as that for those reasons.
            And now I’m stamped with being a contrarian to the mass opinion on anything and everything, regardless of whether it’s the truth.

            A black sheep will always be a black sheep and is why most people prefer to go with the mass flow. It’s easier for them and they know they can name call and argue and be backed up en masse.

            Clever isn’t it?

            That’s why Mike Ashley has a set of ahems as big as Elephants.
            I admire the man.

          • john stephenson

            I didn’t understand any of that. All I know is we got relegated twice and won nowt.

          • ghostrider

            No mate, we got relegated twice and won two title trophies. Much more than most teams get to win.
            Take a look at the joy on the faces of fans who stay back to see the trophies get handed out.
            Is that excitement any different to the excitement of any other trophy?

            If you are in a 100 metre race against 10 other sprinters who are all wearing hobnail boots while you are wearing the top of the range sprinting trainers, you’re pretty much guaranteed to win that race and collect your trophy.
            But…would you be more excited winning that trophy in your trainers or more excited if you were just pipped to the line by someone else wearing those trainers and you wearing hobnail boots?

            When the odds are stacked in your favour it’s easier to be successful….but is it a legitimate success?
            How exciting will that success be when you almost know you’ll get it?

            Go and take a look at league one of two title winners.
            In fact take a look at non-league title winners.

            Success?

            Our minds are being rotted away with end product wants from the very top tier and we forget that we pay good money to be entertained and instead are happy to accept drivel if it gains us a few extra points to see on the TV league table or the paper.

          • Desree

            Are you Alan Pardew?

          • ghostrider

            Are you Alan Pardew?

          • Jezza

            No but he used to troll this this forum as Alanpardewsblackandwhitearmy.

          • KRS1

            you need to up the doseage!

          • ghostrider

            Nahhh, I think you’re on enough already, stop being greedy.

          • Christopher Smeaton

            Thanks for your detailed response and taking my post with the sentiment I intended.

            Even with your attempt to be balanced and fair, surely you can see the lack of investment is crippling the club? With regards to Benitez whinging, do you not feel that is justified when he has been promised resources that simply aren’t manifesting?

            I don’t see what the mans wages have to do with the agreement that he would receive a competitive transfer kitty and this not happening. Do you?

            As a long suffering fan of the club, seeing the value of the club high in the global standings, but scrimping on transfers to the detriment of the club season after season, surely complacency and lack of ambition isn’t why you continue to support?

          • john stephenson

            No trophies. 2 relegations and constantly fighting relegation. Watford did the double over us last 2 seasons in the prem. Look at what’s happened since at man City, spurs and Chelsea since

          • joe mac

            what upside???…

          • ghostrider

            What do you expect?

          • KRS1

            because he is a b*ll end

        • porciestreet

          There is not one fan that passes through the turnstiles at St James’s has ANY good word for Cashley, only you.

          • ghostrider

            Wrong.

          • porciestreet

            Prove it.

          • ghostrider

            You prove it.

          • Jezza

            Don’t feed the troll, marra. Don’t give him the reaction he craves. Just block him.

      • Gallowgate Dave

        It won’t matter as he won’t recognise it even when he’s proved wrong again. I like reading everyone’s replies, even those of Bobbi and Clarko whom I seldom agree with, but have to skim read ghost’s long winded rambles. Why say in 10 words what you can say in a 1,000?

        • Jezza

          ghostbuster IS Clarko, as well as Monkseaton Magpies. Fleckman is his brother. They have both been trolling this site under numerous different ID’s for years.

          • ghostrider

            Don’t make up lies to suit your agenda.
            If you’re trying to gain a pied piper like following then do it the right way.
            You may not see this (chuckle) but your friends will.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Maybe you’re right Jezza but they all do sound like individuals to me. Clarko and Bobbi are capable of intelligence, albeit Clarko has an over-inflated sense of his own intellectualism, but sometimes they raise good (although very contrarian) points I seldom agree with.

            The difference with Ghost is his replies are long winded rambles, he just waffles on without actually making any coherent point and Monksatan is just bitter and deluded. He accuses people of hating Newcastle yet he hates club legends like Given, Keegan and Shearer. He does come across as a troll as nobody could be that stupid and still able to type. I see no clues that these 4 are the same two people unless they are canny method actors though?

          • Jezza

            I’ve done some perfectly online digging with the help of a friend who is very savvy with things like ISP’s and media social platforms. I can tell you without any doubt that all four of those ID’s and many others used on this forum such as nut, Ben Jones, mentalman, Mark Potter, Martin Rooney, ComeAndTakeIt1836 and Guest 2 are all the work of two brothers from Manchester. They are season ticket holders at Old Trafford, Tory voters, heavily into the world of fantasy warcraft games and at least one of them works in a S****s D****t shop. I know who they are and I’m not the only person on this forum who does either.

          • Come&TakeIt1836

            In my mind I can picture Leazes’ online presence as being somewhat like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast…prideful, arrogant, and sometimes bombastic opinions… a misdirected intellect.

            You are LeFou.

          • Wezza147

            Why do they troll here? Wonder if they are bitter about the 5-0 and about Shearer, who they still sing about. Very sad.

          • Jezza

            I’ve often wondered why they troll here. One thing I am sure of is this is not the only site they troll, not by a long chalk. They are a couple of social misfits who live their entire lives online and they seem to be addicted to internet trolling. They could be targetting us due to a misplaced sense of loyalty to their employer Ashley or maybe as you say it all goes back to the mid 90’s and our rivalry with Manchester, the Keegan Ferguson spat and Shearer turning them down to join us. They do seem to get particularly touchy and hostile every time that 5-0 is mentioned.

          • Wezza147

            That’s very sad and somewhat creepy. I’m so glad there’s a block button!

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Given has attacked the club time and time again. He asked for a transfer when he was not restored to the team and tried to hold the club to ransom so he was reinstated and Harper dropped. He then negotiates a transfer on a lot higher money. He then goes to the press and says what a wrench it was to up root his family. A few months later he leaves his family for a dolly bird. He makes me sick. Keegan walked out on the club at least three times twice under the Halls and Shepherd’s because he did not get his own way once when we were top of the league. He even walked out of England when we still qualified. As for Shearer yes great player but this season first season back with a young squad he has slaughtered us on Match of the Day and in the papers at every opportunity. The facts I state on here are generally correct but most do not like my posts as it does not suit the hatred most on this site have for the club. Facts like Ashley has given Rafa no money when he has actually had sixty million for players and loans is the difference between me and others on here.
            I am not bitter about anything but will stick up for my club on here in the pub and at the match.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            We need a break from each other today so I’m going to leave you with one final comment….criticising the regime at the club doesn’t mean we hate the club, in fact the exact opposite.

          • Jarramag

            Keegan was the greatest catalyst for this club and only left when John Hall wanted his money back.I have met KK and he is the hero I hoped he would be.There is no true Mag who would criticise him.You are a shithouse.

          • Coach Clagnut

            It’s known as split personality disorder.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            It wouldn’t surprise me if they are Mag stooges though to generate debate and drive up traffic. I’d like to meet any of the 4 for a pre-match pint to see if they are real.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            You can meet me anytime for a pint at every match home and away. Will be there Wednesday and Sunday. Sunday Three Bulls at eleven. Wednesday a few in Watford before getting the train in. Never met the other three people so Jezza as usual got it all wrong. He even likes Sunderland and detests anything said against them on here.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            I won’t be at Watford but I will be there for Chelsea. I don’t know if I can get in for beers as wife just had a bairn but if I can I’d have a beer with you if you were willing? I don’t agree with your viewpoints but it’d satisfy my curiosity that you are genuine. How would I know who you are and would you be prepared to log into here to prove it’s you? You’ve no obligation to me of course but it’s maybe a way to prove any doubters wrong that you are genuine?

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Alan is the manager at the three bulls and he will be upstairs from nine in the morning he knows who I am Simon.
            I will be standing at the bar upstairs from half ten till twenty past one.Got to leave then as taking my father who is eighty nine in a box Sunday. You can use my log in for this site and also for the club which will show my loyalty points for away games 504. Also will be drinking Stella as never drink anything else. If not Sunday always next season. Do not worry not many on here agree with my view points. Think Brian Standan knows I am genuine as he remembers me from the seventies.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            I will be at the match but can’t be in for that time on Sunday with bairn’s being so young, wife would kill me. I’d be happy to take you up on your offer sometime next season, I never get a chance to get to away games as any that I could make it to geographically (with a young family to get back to) are taken by those with the loyalty points (fairest way) but I’m at just about every home game. As I say you’re not obligated to meet me of course and it’s not to cause bother (although we might have a lively discussion of course) but if nowt else you’d satisfy my curiosity and at least I can tell others on here that you are in fact genuine (might be the only time I defend you mind!).

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            That’s fine go to every game home and away league and cup but will miss the odd friendly if on holiday so you can catch me some time next season. Never been to a game since I was fourteen without a few beers would probably have a heart attack.

          • Billmag

            Stick an I love Ashley badge on yourself so we can recognise you.

          • Leazes.

            Clarko is the younger brother… he’s called Kevin.

    • Ram Kishore

      You are right..
      Does this guy really have a source up to the guys who are in the top level of the administration..
      Another drivel

    • TheFatController

      Insane? Pot kettle black.

    • Viru leckworth

      People are always going to question silence. That is all we get from mr Ashley. He hides behind Lee Charmless and never shows his hand. Is it any wonder he arouses suspicion?

      • ghostrider

        How about Ashley rarely openly chats…and guess what, most owners don’t.

        • Toon Arnie

          Don’t forget his ‘authentic’ interviews on Sky with his pre-prepared statements and no challenge whatsoever. I can imagine you and Monkseaton giving Fat Mike a standing ovation from your living rooms after that shambles was aired ! Laughable.

          • ghostrider

            He deserves respect for saving this club much more than he deserves the bile that gets spewed at him.

          • KRS1

            he deserves a surface to air missile aimed at his helicopter

          • ghostrider

            Let’s hope that when he leaves we don’t get in a real chancer who goes for all money on black and hope it’s not red….because you might rue that missile….or maybe not depending on how strong you are for going about in life spiting your face with no nose.

  • DZA

    Rafa given Ashley till the end of the week reports are saying and Rafa can walk in the last 12 months without paying a penny to Ashley the Guardian have reported.

    West Ham are back in for Rafa as David Moyes is going to be let go at the end of the season.

    • ghostrider

      If Rafa had given me to the end of the week and I was owner, Rafa would be told where to go.
      He’s an employee on sickening wages.
      He needs to stop whining and get on with his job with what he’s given….or do one.

      • TheFatController

        Trolling, acting out your ‘inner aggression’, even with sunny weather and safety guaranteed?

        What medication do they have you on? And why are you only pretending to swallow those pills ?

        • DZA

          GR must be a mackem.

  • Wezza147

    Of course Rafa will not be backed. Where will that profit go then? MASH Holdings that’s where. We already know the every penny generated was a blatant lie.

    • Jezza

      Spot on.

    • FatParosite

      Not a blatant lie, truth economics. I am astounded Rafa fell for it in the first place, but then again I’m sure I would not have checked the small print if I was making £6M a year.

      • Magman

        Yes I was amazed Raffa signed on it was well documented how Keegan was treat by the FCB

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Luke Edwards and George from the times hate Newcastle with a passion and both dangerous men when it comes to reporting on Mike Ashley. Last season we were tenth top in terms of gross spending for buying players and loan deals with £60m spent just behind Arsenal. I do not believe a word these two horrible men say so stick to the Chronicle.

    • Guest 2

      Nah, they care about Newcastle and dislike Ashley. That’s why you can’t stand them. Because they criticise your beloved Master.

      • Leazes.

        Block him mate use the button…. that’s Fleckman…. he’s a Man Utd fan, I can’t see what he’s writing but I do see the replies…. life is too short to bother with them.

        • Come&TakeIt1836

          Yes. Block him! One sided discussions and group-think are great if you can’t support your ideas with actual facts or handle an honest discourse of different ideas.

          It works wonders for all fascists…no?

    • TheFatController

      Trolling, ‘acting out’ your inner aggression, even when the weather is beautiful and the team are safe?

      Keep taking the pills, you’ve missed some clearly.

  • Leazes.

    Can we safely say that all talk of takeovers has now well and truly disappeared….yes I think so!

    In order for Rafa to be able to do anything it will require the removal or otherwise of the incompetent Chairman Lee Charnley, because while he is in a position of power this club will suffer badly as it has for eleven long years.

    Charnley controls the budget, he thinks like an accountant where the prime concern of the club is to deliver not football…. but his annual bonus. It matters not a jot to him whether or not he relegates the club in the process, or loses the club its best manager for a decade.

    This is a creature who gives away the clubs advertising for nothing,and land for cost price, Losing Benitez would be another small detraction to overcome…. he thinks short term only. We know this because giving away the Strawberry place land to Mike Ashley was justified by short term thinking. There is no plan for the stadium in light of competitors building superstadia…. at the last supporters meeting the notion was totally dismissed out of hand…. of course without ambition you don’t need to compete do you… its logic….of a sort!

    This [email protected] should have been run out of town years ago!

    Don’t hold your breath for the Rafalution.

    • Guest 2

      I think you are kidding yourself over Charnley. As useless as he is, he is answering to Barnes who isn’t even a club employee.

      • Leazes.

        Yes Justin Barnes he’s there to crack the whip at Charnley’s backside….. Charnley has to have everything ratified, so its another blocker in place…. another anchor……I just wish we had some Newcastle fans in there instead of this bunch!

        • Desree

          Like Bob Moncur and Peter Beardsley or John Carver

    • FatParosite

      Takeover talk will come back when Bishop needs it.

      • Guest 2

        It’ll come back in the Summer when it’ll be leaked PCP were time wasting again, or no one was interested AND it’s for that reason no one has been signed.

    • Mike

      no way this club is/will be for sale all smoke and mirrors or in other word a CON

  • 1957

    Anyone who expected major investment in players, Benitez included, is seriously deluded. It was always likely to be a summer of the maximum number of loan players and two or three journeymen at a minimal fee.

    That was always going to be the case if Ashley was selling the club, the profits swelling the balance sheet to attract buyers… or even if he wasn’t serious about selling I suppose given past experience.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Hes never been interested in selling. The club is exactly where he wants it to be.

  • Toonrobbybobson

    This is going to turn into a proper crossroads for fans. Ashley has no excuse now whatsoever to do the right thing. Back Rafa and the fans or the fans finally should walk until hes gone. If he fails to treat the club correctly this time he never ever will. He simply has no excuses this time. Anyone with any sort of benefit of the doubt will have it removed surely by then.

    We’ll see what happens… but if its as painted currently its not looking good. Ashley though simply doesnt care though. Only interested in money and hes now in a position where hes quids in with the club. Why would he sell a cash cow? Its a complete smoke and mirrors job. How anyone can fall for it anymore is beyond me.

    • porciestreet

      Watch for the massive flock of sheep meandering towards the Cathedral next season.
      The only thing missing from Galloway these days is the abattoir.

    • Viru leckworth

      I have supported Newcastle for over 65 years and have held a season ticket since the seventies. If we really are destined to another season of clinging on to prem status or falling through the trapdoor yet again, this will be the last straw for me. I will nor renew, and I think this time there will be many like me.

  • Jezza

    It’s all gearing up for a summer of discontent and you can’t help thinking that is exactly what the fat pig Ashley wants.

  • FatParosite

    “So what’s the problem with doing this for a twelfth season, then seeing where we are at in 12 months time.”

    The irony of that sentence is that it does not contain a question mark.

  • robbersdog

    So, NUFC is expected to make a profit of somewhere between £60m and £80m?

    Oh really? That would make us one of the most profitable football clubs in the world. I think that figure’s a load of nonsense plucked out of thin air. Also, we apparently lost a huge amount of money in the Championship, so I don’t think the club’s finances are in the rosy state that this article implies.

    • TheFatController

      Most PL clubs do make that profit, their profits reported are much smaller because of course they instantly reinvest profits into the squad, to avoid both tax and relegation …

    • Guest 2

      Normal season operating costs are around mid £90 million.

      The club received around £50 million last season + £40 mil parachute payment. Rafa made £40 million transfer profit and reduced the wage bill by £800k per month. Ashley put in an additional £15 mil for operating costs. The club still made a profit, on paper, and don’t kid yourself otherwise.

    • Come&TakeIt1836

      Your assertion is correct. The club’s profit won’t be anywhere near that high. However, the issue really isn’t ‘profits’ for this year exactly as things like player amortization don’t impact the cash on hand. It is cash flow for next year that is important for this discussion.

      This business model is a curious one where the lion’s share of the revenues come after the year’s expenses are paid. This is why the club had been taking out loans over the past several years with the future tv payments as the collateral. The pending £120M revenue (along with game day gates and any sponsor payments during next season) will be what pays the wage bill and club’s operating costs for next year. Benitez (in theory) gets whatever is left over for either transfers or infrastructure upgrades. It’s not ‘profit’ but the available cash could be in the £60-80M range depending on how much they hold onto for the January window, spend on infrastructure, etc.

  • Magman

    The only thing the FCB is concerned about in life is money. The only way to get him to sell up is by not going to the games and buying merchandise. That’s exactly what the Glasgow Rangers fans did and he soon sold up.
    Painful not attending SJP I know but as they say no pain no gain.

    • Keeganontherebound

      That and a boycott of Sports Direct…If Rafa is forced out due to a lack of funds I think it’s time for this sort of action

      • Leazes.

        I’m guessing most United fans won’t have been in a SD shop during these past eleven years, his shops here can’t be as profitable as others.

        • Keeganontherebound

          I’m not sure that’s the case and anyway it would be worth thinking of trying to get a national boycott going. We’re not the only ones who have an issue with Ashley. It’s not like he’s a model employer.

          • JEz_Brizzle

            Why not try and sell the boycott to the local towns… just pop down The Bridges and Cleveland Shopping centre and announce loud and proud to boycott the stores in support of NUFC and SD’s employees…you’re bound to get a lot of interest !

      • Viru leckworth

        I am astonished anyone who calls themselves a Newcastle supporter would go anywhere near his outlets. Who are you? Own up by replying to this and lay bare your motives.

        • Keeganontherebound

          I think you’ve misunderstood me. Calling for a boycott means encouraging other people to stop spending money at SD. I don’t shop there but I’d be really surprised if no one who considers themselves a supporter does. And we could reach out to other supporters and people who disagree with Ashley’s employment practices. If you want to hurt him that’s the way to go- and easier for people to do than staying away from SJP.

      • Mike

        any supporter that buys anything at Sports Direct should have a word with themselves

      • Albert Stubbins

        could someone not just blow it up instead?

    • Albert Stubbins

      its been painful attending most of the season, lol

  • Mayor Vaughn

    Rafa to see out his final year for me, he will then leave head held high job well done.
    Ashley is as we all know a lying pr!ck who is entirely content to tread water.

    • Leazes.

      If there is no action here then I think offers are bound to come in for him to move elsewhere. It’ll be an interesting game of brinkmanship…… maybe not interesting…..’inactive’ thats the word.

      • Kneebotherm8

        He’ll be an attractive proposition for a few clubs even at his salary level……….make no mistake,we aren’t paying him any more than other clubs would……..

    • DZA

      Rafa can leave with 12 months remaining on his contact without paying a penny back to Ashley the Guardian have reported. Rafa can walk at the end of this season.

  • TheFatController

    I see our PR guru Keith Bishop is so good at his job, the club are able to stop people like Luke edwards speculating by providing true and accurate information at the recent, (and can do it again also, at the upcoming) fans’ forum …

    Wait. The next forum isn’t until when …?

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      The dates for the next three forums have all ready been announced. Luke Edwards should be given a life ban hate the bloke that pompous speaking bloke George.

      • Chuck D

        Why for speaking the truth?

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Him and George said at the meeting at the Irish Centre that Ashley had spend no money on players. Those two spivs do not know what the truth is.

  • Magman

    Kevin Keegan correctly stated NUFC is not going anywhere with this owner . At KK tribunal it was allegedly disclosed that the FCB told lies. Fast forward to Raffa can have every last penny we generate.
    The lies continues

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    I can’t see Rafa walking away either, but I think he’ll go if he gets a decent offer from another club.

    • Jezza

      Rafa won’t be short of offers. Taking a Championship side to 10th in the Premiership with no money to spend does not go unnoticed.

      • Kneebotherm8

        His reputation at Newcastle is well intact……..and has probably been enhanced in these last couple of years under Ashley…..

  • nevfur

    More speculation to stir unrest. I doubt if anyone knows what is going on in these talks or what Rafa realistically hopes to have available.

  • Desree

    Even when we spend money, it usually goes on rubbish or average (then we argue amongst ourselves as to whether they could be superstars somewhere else). And if we do buy a decent player, they are sold within 18 months so WITFP?

    Expect the following to happen – one loan player coming – several sales with a promise that Rafa can spend in January. Then spending in January only if we are in the bottom three.

    NUFC is run like a private equity portfolio asset. Run it lean, sell off the best assets and rake in the dividends every season. This approach is usally death by a thousand cuts for business, we are seeing it at our club.

    Fair play to Fatty – If he can get 60 mill profit from a 200m revenue business, he is working wonders in a business sense. He will be asking himself ‘If Rafa wants top six, that means at least 100m in players and wages invested. But we are tenth now and I will only make an extra 8m if we finish 6th. And if we get into Europe I am screwed, Rafa will want another 50m on players’

    So unless he sells lets just stop speculating and see what happens come August.

  • thewildchimp

    What are you talking about? Clearly Big Mike has given Benitez every penny. It’s just that he keeps all the banknotes to himself… To be honest, he probably keeps the two pences, five pences and so on, too…

  • MadMag83

    Apparently Fat Mike has offered Rafa 50% of revenue from player sales, the pastry flakes off his Gregg’s sausage rolls, and an oversized novelty SD mug! Take it or leave it.

    • Jezza

      Ha ha, there’s no way Rafa, or more realistically, Pardew will get half the Lascelles and Mitrovic fees.

    • Mike

      who can refuse that?

  • Rich Lawson

    I’ve been watching what Ashley is doing elsewhere,he is buying up property,is involved in litigation with House of Fraser who he has a decent stake in,shares in Debenhams and buying into JD Sports for a crack at the American market.Football is small beer,I don’t see why he would continue with the hassle of NUFC,expect a sudden sale for less than anticipated and Charnley dumped with a small pay off.

    • Tweed Mag

      And he is suing an ex-MP for calling his HQ a ‘Victorian workhouse’. I hope you are right and he goes soon.

      • Leazes.

        What!…… Shirebrook-Birkenau has the latest processing facilities…. its only the boardroom he cant stand and has described it himself as ‘soulless’…. that’s why he shifts meetings to pubs.

    • Billmag

      Not bad for a billionaire that said all his money was wallpaper.

    • Coble’s Return

      That’s the problem – it’s not hassle to him. He doesn’t read this, he doesn’t attend the games that I am aware of, I can’t imagine that he reads the match reports in the papers of even watches MOTD. He must be aware that we (nearly) all think that he is an odious leach, but for Ashley, the club is a winner – minimum input in terms of cash, maximum output in terms of exposure for SD and now the EPL is chucking £100million a year at him.

      I really hope that someone does come up with whatever it is that he is asking for the club, but this season will only have led him to believe that he can go on getting away with it.

      • Rich Lawson

        Despite what we all think,he doesn’t get to keep all the money himself and some one so astute in business will have it written into any sale of the club that there is at least a couple more years of free advertising.NUFC stopped being ”fun” for him some time ago.Lot’s more money to be made elsewhere.

    • Andy Mac

      How about Charnley dumped on instead ? 🤔

      • Rich Lawson

        For sure,he doesn’t strike me as someone who values loyalty or cares about his employees at all.

      • Blackburn1066

        I need a dump

  • Realisticly speaking, 20M+ 1/2 of what we sell. That’s how Ashley deals. This is max 40M which lands us 2 good buys and perhaps 2 on loan. Our squad will be quite thin with departing out of contract and fringe players but we need quality not quantity. If Rafa can get 4 better players than what we have right now that means Top 10 finish for sure.

    • Leazes.

      In the meantime what are the rest of the division doing? If that is the level you are thinking then its a relegation struggle again I’m afraid…very afraid.

      This is a championship squad and you are probably nearer to what Ashley will sanction rather than what is needed to challenge for a European place….. More of this nonsense with Rafa at the helm…. for how long?

      • Challenging for Europe means we have to spend 100m which is not happening, ever under Ashley and I don’t see anyone meeting his 350m+ asking price for NUFC.
        If we lose Rafa the club will crumble and perhaps go down to Sunderland’s level.

  • Waxi

    I never took the time to read this as we all know deep down what will happen as other than one January window when he bought Sissoko Goof etc we have never spent much on players and they always hides behind the money we got for Carroll Wijnaldum etc. Rafa won’t get what he wants end of and unless fatty sells up he never will. Another relegation fight next season as that’s the fatty way.

  • Toon Army AZ

    Ashley’s objectives:
    – 2017: Get out of the Championship at all costs (sort of)
    – 2018: String Rafa along, survive on the cheap.
    – 2019: String Rafa along, pay off debts from the Championship season, sell the club at a profit before Rafa’s contract ends and he leaves.

    • Stephen Paylor

      where in AZ are you?

  • Stephen Paylor

    70 million was the figure i had in mind. If Rafa is offered the Arsenal job hew ill be off. Aubameyang and Lacazette up front or Gayle and Joselu? Nobody can blame him and i fear to think what the backlash against Ashley will be. Why is nothing ever straight forward or common sense with NUFC