Mike Ashley usually flies into the training ground in the final days of the season.

The owner meeting manager and players then flying back off in his helicopter.

The visit usually followed by messages fed to the local and national media, saying the visit was very positive and the owner is committed etc etc

This season there has been no flying in, indeed Mike Ashley hasn’t been sighted at St James Park since the opening day of the season.

Not there at SJP to thank Rafa Benitez and his players after the 3-0 hammering of Chelsea and a positive season in trying circumstances, instead it was reported that Mike Ashley is away on holiday.

What we did get though was the ridiculous PR statement released on behalf of Mike Ashley only minutes after the final whistle, promising full support and ‘every penny’…again.

Cutting through the nonsense, the ever reliable George Caulkin, who covers Newcastle for The Times, has given a very interesting overview of exactly where we are at, with regard to Rafa Benitez, Mike Ashley, Amanda Staveley, and transfer budget…

The report reveals that Amanda Staveley (who George Caulkin has interviewed and he has had regular insights from the Staveley camp) and her investors are still interested – but not at the hugely inflated £400m Mike Ashley is now said to be asking, at least £100m more than the club is actually worth.

The report also tells us that Mike Ashley is now actively trying to drum up interest in America to buy the club, little surprise when so many PL clubs are already under American control.

On the eve of the final game of the season, The Mirror claimed Mike Ashley was prepared to give Rafa Benitez an £80m transfer budget this summer (a message fed by Ashley’s people…?) but Caulkin says that Rafa Benitez’ advisors have ‘laughed off’ those claims, with the reality being nowhere near that.

As for Rafa signing a new contract, the journalist questions just how the Spaniard can ever sign an extension when there has been such a breakdown in trust, with Mike Ashley misleading the manager so many times, and so many realistic transfers he has set up, Ashley’s running of the club has not allowed to happen.

George also says that it is not just about transfers and how much the budget is, it is also about Mike Ashley refusing to properly invest in the ‘infrastructure’ – particularly the Academy and training facilities.

All interesting stuff…let’s hope Mike Ashley finds that gullible mega-rich American who likes black and white stripes and is prepared to pay whatever it takes…

Some brief extracts from excellent latest George Caulkin piece in The Times:

‘At the heart of the matter is trust. For three transfer windows in succession, Benítez believes months of work in identifying players and setting up deals was wasted. Last January, he wanted a couple of new additions to guarantee promotion and got nothing. Last summer, he wanted Newcastle to act quickly to bring in a goalkeeper and a striker. Four months ago, he wanted to clear up that mess and was restricted to loans.

The record books show that Newcastle went up as champions and have now finished tenth, yet Benítez would argue that both accomplishments were jeopardised by the club’s lack of action. Why take that risk? And why make life more difficult for yourself, when some prudent investment would remove that stress and give you something to build upon? The table says one thing, but this has been a season of toil and it has taken a toll.

In a PR statement released on Sunday night — the sportswear retailer is away on holiday — Ashley was quoted as saying, “I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to [Benítez].” Every penny is impossible to quantify if Benítez is not told what that budget is (reports he will be given £80 million are laughed off by his advisors), nor if he cannot control when it is spent.

When Benítez attempted to sign Willy Caballero on a free transfer from Manchester City last summer, the club demurred. Newcastle already had too many goalkeepers. Benítez pushed and eventually Lee Charnley, the managing director, took it up with Ashley. No dice. Yet when they brought in Martin Dubravka in January, the manager’s logic immediately became obvious. Dubravka has changed the team.

Benítez does not want a repeat of this season, but how can he be persuaded things will be different? It is impossible to put a guarantee of funds into a contract, let alone a guarantee that he will be listened to. How can he trust them again?

Through his representatives, Benítez has told Newcastle to demonstrate their commitment by showing they mean business this summer; do that and he’ll sign. Newcastle tell Benítez that unless he extends his deal they will struggle to convince players to join them, a claim that is undermined by the fact they are still up for sale. In those circumstances, what would Benítez be agreeing to?

A logjam can always be broken and perhaps one phone call (between Ashley and Staveley) is all it will take; more talks are scheduled for this week. Creative tension has been a theme over the past two years and in the end, Benítez has always stayed. To repeat: he is still under contract. Yet they stand again on a precipice and, as usual, they have been pushed there by Ashley, who has the wit to recognise that Benítez is vital but cannot make the next big leap. If the manager is so important, then prove it.’



  • Paul Patterson

    Let’s hope it’s true and happens . .

    • FatParosite

      Check your medication Paul…

  • Brian Bennett

    ashley is a leech
    he is draining nufc and wont sell unless he gets what he wants the greedy fcb fk off from our club

  • Arty Hume

    Just as we all knew, TFCB cannot be trusted and MUST be shown the door. We will NEVER get ANYWHERE as long as we are owned by him! Far too many bridges have been burned in his 11 year tenure, there is no road back, he has to go.
    I believe Rafa is an honest and dedicated person who will only leave if he is forced to by circumstance, and that would be lack of funds. No one would blame him, it would all fall at TFCB’s door. Time will tell…….

    • FatParosite

      You need to keep posing that question to the only ones who have power but have no idea how to use it….. If some “fans” show true solidarity the Premier League product can be damaged… Then EVERYONE & not just Ashley will HAVE to sit up and listen..

      • Arty Hume

        I have not set foot in St James park since the Keegan debacle. That was a prelude to life’s coming attractions under TFCB, and K.K stated as much, it was all true! I have said many times as fans we need to stick together, Rafa has done an unbelievable job for us. Probably too good as it put TFCB in a very good position to shoot himself in the foot, and I have every confidence he will do so. This will result in Rafa refusing to sign the contract, he will probably stay the last year and then move on as he will have made all the required movements well before hand, forward planning, something he has been prevented from doing during his 2+ years with us. Something TFCB has never been able to come to terms with as everything seems to be a knee jerk reaction or retrospective in principle and often too late. That in its self shows he is not fit to own a football club and is in it for maximum profit only.

  • Leazes.

    I doubt that story, as Ashley goes to Florida every year….. he has a £35m Mansion there!

    And even if it were true why would we want an Ellis Short Mark II?

    • FatParosite

      We won’t be given an option to choose. If Satan or Piers Morgan stumps up Ashley’s ridiculous price we will be sold to them. Nobody will come up with £400m so forget it. More Bishop BS.

    • Peaky

      Is his house called Disney World….is he really Mickey Mouse….are we Donald Ducked if he stays….

      • Kneebotherm8

        Definitely a Mickey Mouse character…………..MM……… ⚡️⚡️Just thought💥💥……it’s not Monsaton Mong in disguise……is it?

        • Peaky

          Could be….there’s hidden codes going on here….like The Da Vinci Code
          😂😂

          • Kneebotherm8

            😂😂

      • Rich Lawson

        ”Goofy” more likely.

    • Rich Lawson

      Next to Fat Sham’s,that’ll be an interesting conversation over the fence.

  • DavyB

    Here we go again…the Mike Ashley deception merry-go-round. ‘Funds are available, blah blah blah! – Couldn’t get the player over the line, blah blah blah! There’s agents fees to consider you know? blah blah blah! It’s all smoke and mirrors as per usual.
    Don’t build your hopes up folks. It’s far more likely that we will lose our manager than make any decent signings this summer.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The ever reliable George from the Times causes trouble every where he goes and hates the club along with Luke Edwards. According to George with the posh accent
    who despises Ashley he has never put a penny in the club. McLaren was only there twenty eight games yet he spent £70.5m. Rafa last season according to the Sun league table spent £60m on players and loan deals. Not bad for a side just up from the Championship. So yes £80m is realistic. Good old George however says Ashley
    never gives him any money. George and Luke the journalists who love to lie about Newcastle and stir the fans up. As for Amanda she could buy the club for £350m a great price but she has no backers or the money and George is just saving face.
    Do not believe a word him or Luke says.

    • Guest 2

      Ah, The Sun. The last bastion of truth telling. Post a link to that article, will you?

      One of their comments states – “The Newcastle board are notorious for ‘penny-pinching’ and continue to try and do deals on the cheap, in a market where prices and demand has never been higher.”

      Guess you don;t agree with that either?

      • mactoon

        there’s a link in the article above. Click on ‘The Times’
        “latest George Caulkin piece in The Times:”
        registration required

        • Guest 2

          No mate. The Sun one which Monkseaton Mong suggests they claim £60 million was spent.

          • mactoon

            Doh!

    • TheFatController

      You lose criedibility with every post, but particularly when you question a journalist because he has a ‘posh accent’.

      And yes,Ashley has put money into the club. With a view to getting it back or saving existing money invested only.

      You paint him like he’s some sort of Jack Walker, sharing his good fortune for the love of the club.

      Good trolling yet again. Why see a shrink when you can live a life here every day in denial eh?

      • Guest 2

        He’s ever reliable too. Guaranteed to prove what a Mong he is with every posting.

        • TheFatController

          Yeah, I love his rule of ‘if you put money in you are better than anyone who criticises you’.

          I suspect he defends saville based on his tireless charity work…

          • Guest 2

            LOL! He certainly sounds like someone who had Jim fix it for him ;-)

          • Rich

            I think you’ve just over stepped the mark with the Saville comment very low. You surely can’t think it’s appropriate to bring such unmentionable acts into a lively bit of football banter shame on you for a cheap classless jab.

            The term put up or shut up springs to mind Mike has put up Unless you’re going to put up maybe just maybe you should shut up

      • Billmag

        It’s only a matter of time before everyone blocks him he has the same patter day in day out on this forum.

        • TheFatController

          I admire the relentless ‘who else has put as much money into the club’ trolling he does.

          Everyone else puts it in without needing to recoup it with a sale, advertise their company for free, many have contributed just for the love of the club (remember the Pav transfer was partly supporter funded).

          But MM will gladly talk to people who are not for converting telling them how wrong they are, when they are actually right.

          Whoever he is, just think, he’s in somebody’s life away from this site. That’s the frightening part.

        • Peter Graham

          Blocked him weeks ago

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        You listen to John Gibson and he talks Newcastle from the heart.
        What comes out of Georges mouth is bile from a posh country gent who knows about Newcastle.

        • Chuck D

          But evidently knows more than you.

          There is absolutely no indication of him hating Newcastle.

          I for one applaud him and Luke Edwards for exposing Ashley for exactly what he is.

      • KRS1

        He has no more credibility to lose. He is a complete laughing stock.

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Keep on moaning Sunderland may be in the old third division and us tenth but there is nothing like a good old moan on here. Keeps Jezza and the likes of yourself alive I suppose.

    • Mxpx

      What we’re the net spend figures

    • jack

      What planet you from

      • KRS1

        He is an absolute fantasist

        • jack

          He’s part of Ashley’s pr machine , him and ghostwriter

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        We finish tenth and to be honest could easy have been eighth if we had not thrown away points. Sunderland are in the old third division and all everyone one here does is moan week in week out.
        So a very different planet as I support the club. That is a crime on here.

      • Rich

        I think he’s from Earth Jack I know not exactly how ya mam told ya it would be in your bedtime stories but hey keep reading themag the fairytales are just as amusing sleep tight. Solid club great manager good finish to the season fantastic fan base chance to push for Europe next year positive positive positive 😁

  • mactoon

    “A logjam can always be broken and perhaps one phone call (between Ashley and Staveley) is all it will take; more talks are scheduled for this week”

    I think the phone call George Caulkin is talking about is between Ashley and Rafa, not Staveley as the link suggests

  • Wezza147

    Pipe down Monksaton troll.

  • Billmag

    Another day same old lies from the Ashley camp, oh by the way I’m going on holiday I will be back at the backend of August, I have left my puppet Lee to sort things out.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Puppet on a (shoe)string budget….

    • thewildchimp

      I wonder if he actually leaves England at those times. Just a stunt so he doesn’t need to respond to the press. After Benitez leaves, no self-respecting manager will ever come 50 miles close to Newcastle, unless, of course – he plays against us.

      • Arty Hume

        Thats the problem mate, no self respecting manager…..how many of those have we had in the last decade??? Only two spring to mind, Rafa and K.K!

        • thewildchimp

          Exactly. I’d add Hughton to the pair.
          Rafa obviously didn’t know what he was getting into, but now, after so much press coverage, not a chance in hell for someone proven.

          • Arty Hume

            OH, my bad forgot about Hoots, one of the best!

        • Rich

          Guess your saying Alan Shearer has no self respect 😳

          • Arty Hume

            No mate, just didn’t think he was there long enough to have his bait, so did not really qualify ;) I also missed out Hughton, its an age thing…..:)

      • 8prestondave

        Unfortunately we will have pardspew waiting in the wings and fat mike will bring him back

    • Rich Lawson

      Just seen today in the paper’s that Rod Hull’s Emu puppet is up for sale for about a grand.Surely it could do a lot better job than Charnley and even unexpectedly attack Ashley in the boardroom/pub for fun ?

      • mactoon

        IT’S A PUPPET!!!!

  • thewildchimp

    Sure, he’ll be given £80m to spend. …For the next 4 years, when he signs the extension and if he actually makes them by selling players…
    On a side note, Rafa can easily sign a new deal with no worries by inserting “get out of jail” clause in the contract. That is: if he decides there’s point in repeating this season. I guess that Mike promised him to get new people “for real this time, I only need that sweet, sweet TV money” and Rafa said: “Alright, I’ll stick around for another half of the year and see what happens.” Add the fact that he’s actually responsible and wouldn’t want the team to drop again because he deserted them mid-season. However, Mike’s comedy routine doesn’t work anymore and he knows it. Just trying to salvage a bit of his rep. Who on Earth would pay him 700m dollars for some club in the English NE?! Unless he finds some adventurer-billionaire – fat chances…

    • Rich

      Oh dear delusions of grandeur we finished tenth let’s beat up the owner maybe Ellis short is interested? thus the spurious trip to the states fanciful journalism at its worst you have no facts no knowledge and you all jump on the gravy train 🤣 you might not like the guy but he has put the money up and stood by the club put it on a good financial foundation. I know by your comments you’re all financial and legal gurus know everything about contracts etc.. but I think Mike has served us well he bought the club when let’s be honest it was next to bankruptcy. Rafa is great total respect he’s done great within a budget that’s what’s good managers do you guys couldn’t turn a profit in a kebab shop in the big market. Thanks Mike Ashley our club is not in the 3rd decision we have money and a great manager and a chance to push on in the premier league next season. We all need to be careful what we wish for look down the road and look what their saviour Ellis has done

      • Shipcote Willy

        Short spent a fortune but constantly appointed the wrong people who mismanaged and squandered a fortune

  • Rich Lawson

    Ashley is now a guest on Philip Green’s boat,taking lessons in how to screw the last personal penny out of a business,the tea lady at St James should be checking her personal pension contributions and fund very carefully !

  • Fatwatch

    Cashley is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a sound minded, respected club owner. But I really hope we don’t end up with some eccentric American who doesn’t understand the culture and history behind the Toon. Be careful what you wish for…

    • thewildchimp

      You are right, but – Ashley doesn’t understand nor respect the culture and history behind the Toon, so it can’t get much worse. At least he didn’t change the name of the club or the ground…

      • Fatwatch

        Aye good point

      • Come&TakeIt1836

        It can get much worse… but it can also get much better. It is a real roll of the dice.

    • Desree

      Rubbish, surely they must have watched GOAL!

  • Steve Smith

    Benitez is under contract for 12 months. This time next year he can walk without Ashley getting compensated.

    I won’t be surprised if Benitez is sold before the club.

    • MadMag83

      Ashley would love that! Some club comes in for Rafa, pays compensation to the club, and Ashley pockets the cash. The cycle continues…..

  • I think there might a buyer at around 300m but not more than that considering the huge investment needed for the facilities and players + wages to take the club forward.
    We are talking about a 20-30m facilities and staff upgrades and around 60-70m for players and Ashley is not doing both of those.
    If Mike can’t find a buyer he will probably hand 20-30m tops + 1/2 of generated sales and do a take it or leave it for Benitez and staff.
    If Ashley stays we may find ourselves in a Andy Carroll situation where a big (50m+) offer comes for Lascelles/Shelvey and we might take it if that means investing all the money in new players/bases.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    That’s what will happen here with Rafa eventually walking after more broken promises.
    I think it will a case of three times a charm with Rafa being mugged off again this summer which will lead to him saying enough is enough !

  • 1957

    Is Staveley’s consortium still an option?, I would personally doubt it unless she can keep the price to a maximum of £300m. If her initial investors are still on board (I’ve heard a couple have dropped out) they will be reluctant to pay much more than they could have got the club for before Christmas or for more investors to join the group and dilute the dividends they would be expecting.

    I suspect big Mike might be with us for a good while yet unless an alternative to Staveley emerges.

    • mactoon

      Her last offer of £250 million no clauses is ‘still on the table’ and she has told Ashley to get in touch if he wants to resume negotiations but as the Reuben brothers have stated they won’t be investing it is unclear if she has the backers to provide the funds without them or if she has replaced them with other backers. .

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    Even if this were true, and that’s highly doubtful, past evidence has shown that most American owners (including the Glazers) get in to the EPL SOLELY for the purpose of turning a profit. Unless we got very lucky, we’d be no better off than we are with Ashley.

    • MadMag83

      Like Randy Lerner.

  • East Durham Mag

    So Rafa signs a new deal then Fatty just says i lied. The vile creature is a spiv and a con man.

  • MadMag83

    How can he trust an owner who always seems to be on holiday at crucial times? He was on holiday when his self imposed takeover deadline expired and he’s on holiday again when he should be working to secure the services of Benitez.

  • Mike

    on holiday again………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz cant see anyone in the US interested in the Town…heck they dont have a clue where the North East is!!

    • Mikhail Andreijevic

      floyd mayweather does. i’d buy the club if i had the coin

  • Shipcote Willy

    All you need to remember is what KK said you can’t believe anything Ashley says and this was confirmed at his tribunal when the club and owner were labelled as liars. He can’t be trusted. There is zero chance of Ashley relinquishing control of transfer funds no matter what Rafa says. The big question are what and when Rafa does anything about it, as Ashley will never change no matter what anyone says or writes.

  • Andy Mac

    “The record books show that Newcastle went up as champions and have now finished tenth, yet Benítez would argue that both accomplishments were jeopardised by the club’s lack of action. Why take that risk?”

    D’oh what a truly stupid question.

    Fatman takes risks because

    1. He cares little about the club

    2. He hates NUFC fans

    3. He’s an inherent gambler especially when he can afford to lose without any personal loss to himself

  • NUFC17

    I still don’t believe the club is up for sale. He now knows that as long as the fans think it’s up for sale he receives no abuse whatsoever, at St James’ anyway.
    Therefore, I think he’s playing his usual games.

    This bloke could have given Alex Ferguson a run for his money with the mind games!

  • grantham mag

    John Wayne’s been dead for years. He must be in Hollywood, is it a bird, is it a plane, no its the FAT Bar,steward.

  • Blackburn1066

    In the hands of this man I fear for our club.

    • ghostrider

      He’s been here 11 years and we’re id table in the premier league. What’s to fear?
      I’d rather have Ashley any day than most other football club owners.,

      • Toon Arnie

        What’s to fear ? A third relegation if Rafa leaves

        • ghostrider

          Nothing to fear. Maybe good football to look forward to.