I once had a job in a big, well known, international company. One thing I learned was that the level of planning you did, was almost entirely related to your position.

Imagine a factory making tomato ketchup.

The guy on the bottling machine is interested in the next hour. He starts the machine when it stops, and he goes and gets reels of labels, boxes of bottle caps and so on before his current supply runs out. When his shift is over, he probably doesn’t think about what he needs to do tomorrow, because he’ll be doing much the same thing.

Those immediately above him need to look a bit further ahead. If the line is changing from big bottles to small bottles in 2 days, they need to make sure that everything they need is available, and that the skills are in place to do it smoothly.

And so it goes on, and – you’d hope – at the top of the organisation sits a person who is looking 3, 5, 10 years ahead. They need to know what the competition is doing, what the taxman has in store, how Brexit is likely to go (if you meet anyone who does, let me know) and how consumer tastes are changing. If next year’s Spanish tomato crop looks like it will fail, or Turkey starts a trade war, he or she needs to have a contingency supply. If they do their job well, the bloke on the bottling machine might get to keep his.

The man at the top of our organisation arrived at the club 10 years ago, seemingly without a plan, and he doesn’t seem to have stumbled upon one since. It’s as if Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United on a drunken flurry of late night internet shopping, and only remembered he’d done it 3 days later when it was delivered to his house and Mrs Ashley started shouting at him.

The thing is, I bet Sports Direct has a 3, 5, 10-year plan. I bet Mike has a plan for a bad Brexit, knows what his competitors are doing, and where he wants to open new stores and close others. Somewhere in the world an impoverished factory worker will be changing his T-shirt machine from printing pictures of Lionel Messi to printing pictures of Luka Modric. We might not like Sports Direct, but he seems to have made it work for the past 10 years.

It appears to me that there are two ways big football clubs are run these days. Either you have a whole bunch of directors of football, scouts and analysts who tell the coach which players are coming and what the style of football is going to be, or you have a manager who decides these things, and the owners put a team in place to support him. The system a fan favours may depend upon whether your manager is Rafael Benitez or Joe Kinnear!

For the life of me, I cannot work out what the plan is at Newcastle, or who is in charge. If it’s Mike Ashley, then he needs to spend more than 3 days a year on Tyneside. If it’s Lee Charnley, then he needs to tell us what his plan is, and if it’s Rafa, then he needs to be given what he needs to get on with it. All he seems to want is a couple of decent strikers and a better academy, and I don’t think that is too much to ask for. In fact, if Mike Ashley had put some proper investment into the academy 10 years ago – everyone could see it was failing – then he might have saved himself a few quid since.

There was, briefly, a plan in place a few years ago, which seem to have a single thread: sign a promising French footballer for a minimal fee, gamble on him doing well, and then sell him on at a profit. It was a destructive plan, which we hated, but at least it was a plan. We don’t even have that now. Ashley manages remotely and Charnley is the complete opposite of King Midas – everything he touches turns to crap. The only one of them that has any sense of purpose or direction is Rafa, and he is endlessly frustrated by his employers.

It’s a business that is designed to fail, and – if Premier League survival is the objective – it’s a business that has already failed twice. It is only through world class management and incredible commitment to the cause by the playing staff that we didn’t fail a third time last season.

I did hope that – having proved his worthiness – Rafa would have been given licence to pursue his vision. I credited Mike Ashley with the intelligence to see that he had someone with the credentials, the knowledge and the experience to make Newcastle a force again without leaving him skint; someone that can come up with a plan, articulate it to those within and without the club, and get on with achieving it.

I also thought Mike Ashley might see what we all see: this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We simply won’t get another Rafa. Another season of ‘let’s see if we can manage with what we have, and I might panic buy in January if that doesn’t work’ won’t be good enough. It could well see us retain Premier League status for another season, but there can’t be a soul who thinks Rafa would sign a new contract under those circumstances. And you don’t need to be Mystic Meg to envisage a player exodus following that; and if that did happen, what the hell has Mike achieved?

We have a bunch of senior politicians in this country who seriously believe a “No Deal” Brexit will work. Mike Ashley seems to have similar confidence in a “No Plan” Newcastle United.

They must all think we are mugs…

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  • TheNutJob

    the Fat Gringo has a plan ok and that`s to squeeze the life out of Newcastle United
    he`s doing a sterling job of it, we had a reasonable premiership team when he bought into the club but he soon started his antics & it`s cost us relegation twice.
    he was lucky in that he had 2 managers that got us straight back up but he won`t be 3 times lucky. when Rafa leaves next summer, or earlier he`ll once again get a patsy in as team coach & with the current squad we`re Doomed

    • Mark Potter

      Fraser. He always predicted, “We’re doomed”. He was never correct.

  • nevfur

    Obviously the majority of the country believe in Brexit too but as usual the remoaners whinge on about their supiriority.
    Whilst we are all unhappy with the way things go at NUFC do you think Ashley would tell us what his plans are? Do we know what Sports Directs plans are? We might not/probably wouldn’t like his plans for NUFC but no reason he would tell us any more than he tells SD customers his plans there

    • cmrowley

      How do you get to remoaner from the post?

      • nevfur

        Maybe jumping to conclusions to be fair but certainly one not in favour of a hard Brexit. Remember though we didn’t vote on coming out of just this and that, staying in this and that and negotiating staying in some bits. It was in or out, most didn’t even think of hard or soft Brexit they voted to stay or leave.

    • TheFatController

      I think you’re inferring companies don’t explain their expansion plans, training policy for staff members to progress, purchasing / leasing/ sale of land and buildings owned, divestment or expansion into other areas and so on,

      They do. They have to tell the world in order to attract investment from shareholders, and entice the best employees possible to fulfill the plan.

      Its a plan for a business growth, and is sometimes called a business plan.

      Some companies print it up and send it to shareholders and potentially interested parties, to drum up interest in the company.

      • Sickandtired

        There is only one shareholder…

        • TheFatController

          I’m aware. My point extends to the fact that he has failed to secure any new shareholders or a complete new owner.

          Why? Because people with the money to invest as co-owner or total owner won’t pay £400m for 100% shares ( or a smaller share) for a business that doesn’t seem to have had a plan.

          A business plan well presented attracts investors therefore. No wonder we don’t get any investment from anywhere.

          • Sickandtired

            ‘Think a co-owner would have less to do with a business plan than having to do business with Ashley himself. That and the fact they would be co-owner who allows a third party’s shareholders (SD) to benefit for free from the business, thereby diluting their own and the businesses profit.
            His business plan for the club is self evident. Provide no further investment, remain a PL club if possible, and reap the benefits from that.

      • nevfur

        No I’m saying we don’t know Ashley’s plans in detail for SD so why would we expect to for NUFC much though we like to know everything that’s going in

    • Leazes.

      Come on the majority don’t believe in Brexit… it was a blind vote for every ignorant bigot who had a grudge against anything….. they had no idea of the implications or what it actually was!

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        17.5 million says you`re wrong

        • Leazes.

          Run it again

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            52% voted out, 48% voted to stay in.

          • Leazes.

            Newcastle voted remain….. I’d happily declare UDI with Scotland and put a toll on the Tyne Bridges

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            I reversed my vote to stay in only because Nick Brown emailed me and asked me to, he`d done me a favour in the past so i did as he asked

      • TheFatController

        Some don’t even have a crush on Nigel Farage any more.

        Fickle.

        • Leazes.

          I blame Ian Hislop’s Have I got News for You….for popularising these monsters…. the next tory leader is undoubtedly going to be Jacob Rees-mogg!

          • Rich Lawson

            I wouldn’t disagree. He’s playing his cards very well,probably an excellent Bridge player.” Loveable eccentric” like Boris,who also did well on Hislop’s programme,but with a bit more sus and cunning.

      • Virsino

        Top comment!

      • nevfur

        Confirmation of the arrogance of the remoaning loser

        • Leazes.

          Brexit was a ‘bucket vote’ nobody knew what it meant. it was anything and everything…..

          ….Which will have the unfortunate effect of more power to bloody Westminster whose mindset is to think Manchester is the North!

          Big surprise to me as I though that we’d moved out of the small minded Little Britain attitudes, It even came as a surprise to Nigel Farage because he didn’t think turkeys voted for christmas either!

          • nevfur

            Yawn, pass the tissues to the superiors

          • David Bruce

            And you knew How ??????

      • David Bruce

        and you know HOW

  • Steven05

    Excellent article which makes 100% more sense than what Ashley is doing (or not doing) with NUFC.

    Surely those nasty London Mafia banners can’t have upset him this much, to turn this multi million pound business into a tool simply to upset us school bullies as much as this?

    If he only wanted to make money, he could have done that no problem, without the desire to aim no higher than 17th

    • Leazes.

      Oh yes that’s the other thing…….. he’s a malevolent owner.

  • Alex

    I doubt SD have much of a plan other than to continue piling them high and selling them cheap. Price-conscious customers get what they want, so business rolls along.

    Nike sell their top branded, expensive 97’s only through JD Sports. They wouldn’t want a low-class trader like SD to touch that! Similarly, SD aren’t interested in that quality market either.

    Maintaining a steady status quo at NUFC and SD is all Ashley is interested in. If you’ve no intention to develop and expand, you don’t need strategic 5 year plans.

    • Leazes.

      I agree although I’ve no idea what a ‘top branded Nike 97 is’….. he’s a downmarket trader on a huge scale, he said in that interview thing with Sky that it was the ‘online’ trading rather than the tat shops which accounted for the growth in his company.

      • TheFatController

        Yes, high street shops primarily act as advertising for the brand and a place for returns bought online I suspect

        • Leazes.

          Yes the shops are probably the store rooms for the whole delivery business not just outlets.

          • TheFatController

            Ah, That’ll explain why they look like store rooms and not open plan, accessible, enjoyable experience shops …

          • Leazes.

            Cram it in and pile it up.

          • Peaky

            He’s the Gerald Ratner of this millennium.

          • Leazes.

            Lets hope his empire goes the same way.

          • Peaky

            Yes and Ratner at least had the decency to admit his stuff was krap….

          • Leazes.

            …well it wasn’t decency….it was accident….he was speaking to the Tory Party conference and didn’t think his customers were listening.

          • Peaky

            I’ve actually met him a couple of times at conferences and he is a very down to earth but slightly odd fella….very dry sense of humour and also a very good listener….but the classic “shooting yourself in the foot “ always springs to mind.

          • Leazes.

            Did you really?…a touch of the Reggie Perrin’s …’Grot Shop’….. the truth only works as a marketing concept in fictional Comedy and he couldn’t discern the difference with real life….

            If you sell a gold ring at £8.99p its not gold….. Ryder doesn’t know this and sells the fans ‘Aces at £10m’…. including agents fees….

          • Peaky

            Yes but many years ago….I believe he owns a gym or fitness centre now…not 100% sure.

          • David Bruce

            just started to read your post why dont you stand for parliment you know so much about everything your my man/woman how would i know

  • Paul Patterson

    The plan-
    +Spend the absolute minimum (if we can do it by loaning, even better).
    +Ensure S****s D****t is advertised.
    +Sell a player or two for maximum profit every season or so and give the manager half the fee to cover every aspect of an incoming deal.
    +Promote S****s D****t at every opportunity.
    +Survive in the Premier League and claim the TV money.
    +Make sure S****s D****t is in the spotlight.
    +Use smoke and mirrors to deflect attention from lack of ambition.
    +Is S****s D****t still advertised?

    Rinse and repeat over and over again . .

    • Leazes.

      You’re right….. and for that you don’t need a club chairman, but you do need a compliant press and punditry.

    • Mark S

      Exactly what Paul said. Ashley NFC is a business that coincidentally happens to be involved in sport, primarily used as a marketing tool for SD. Marketing depts are by and large the largest cost to a business so must be kept ticking over at minimum outlay for maximum exposure of the product ie. SD

      The dept needs to hire the best people at minimum outlay so you need an Amsterdam sexy red light shop window of Rafa to entice the young (and stupid) potential employees on promises of sexy time and making them a man. The older ones just see if they can still get it up. :)

  • Billmag

    How many years since Lambiarse said there’s a 5 year plan in progress does that plan include relegation, no improvement to the academy, telling lie upon lie to the manager and supporters, no the main plan is to stay static and grab as much profit as possible.

  • TheFatController

    Great article, well written.

    On the difference between the approach at SD compared to with us, Ashley doesn’t know anyone in football he trusts, so we are stuck with Charnley who knows the industry but not to the level of his peers at others clubs (check salary as proof), and Barnes, a financial fixer to prepare for a sale it seems with no football experience at all.

    I’ll guarantee top positions at SD see people in place that have good, industry standard retail experience however .

    • Leazes.

      That’s why I say its a malevolent ownership…. he knows Charnley is incapable and so do the Chronicle who 2 years ago put the headline on the front page…..’Charnley you have 2 things to do…sign up Rafa and then in the name of god GO!’

      • TheFatController

        He does have every Ed Sheerab CD now though…

  • jack

    Actually a no deal brexit is better , but to link Ashley with it is ridiculous , Ashley has one aim to make as much money as possible with minimum spend

    • MadMag83

      A no deal Brexit would probably have a short term negative impact, market uncertainty and big companies using it as an excuse to move production to countries with cheaper labour. But long term the economy would recover via increased trade with non EU countries.

      A no deal with Rafa would have a short and long term negative impact. Would any other world class manager want to come here knowing they won’t get money to spend? Players would be sold without reinvestment, the academy isn’t producing enough quality to make up the shortfall. Ashley doesn’t want to invest, he wants out.

      So yes you’re spot on, it’s a poor comparison.

      • jack

        Totally agree with everything you’ve said

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    The Scumbag`s a greedy Billionaire Barrow Boy who`s only interest lies in himself,
    the rest is immaterial

    • Leazes.

      poor quality immaterial that falls apart in the first wash.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        i think his Trainer Socks last a holiday, the Muppet always gets them for us. 2 packs for 6 quid, he gets 4

        • Leazes.

          From SD? NOooooooooooooo

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            I`ll shop him Ok, i won`t go to his shops & he bought some shorts as well

          • Leazes.

            Traitor!!!!

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            he`s tricky Ok

          • Leazes.

            I bought a pair of lightweight holiday shoe things and when I got home to my horror it had the label l*nsdale on the sole….. its tricky boycotting him when he operates through other companies as well

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            he holds shares in shops all over the place, he backs every horse in the race

    • TheFatController

      Factually incorrect.

      He’s now a Kim Jong Un. It’s official.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        He used to post on here

        • TheFatController

          He gave Lambias the line, ‘you have no idea just how horrible we can be…’, allegedly.

          Llambias however couldn’t get the hang of developing nuclear weapons with the tv money, sadly. Or of killing people who didn’t like Ashley.

      • Steve Smith

        They may have ruled that the article comparing Mike with Kim was fair, but I hear Kim will be appealing the decision.

  • Scottie Chugger Dearden

    Fantastic article, actually critically constructive as opposed to other articles saying spend cash, which he knows we isn’t going to do, thought the bit of buying NUFC drunk and remembering three days later was funny. I think sadly he knows we are mugs, but for me NUFC were here before Cashley and we’ll be here after him!

  • Sickandtired

    There was a plan, once, allegedly. It was a five year plan, to emulate Arsenal. That plan got downgraded, to emulate Villa.
    Seems the Villa plan is still in operation!

    • TheFatController

      You’ll bring out the trolls on how we should be grateful we are still two years away from Doing a 5under1and..

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Enter the Mugpie thanking Fatty for his holidays

        • TheFatController

          Mugoie’s at church currently it seems.

          Receiving worship from his many followers.

      • Sickandtired

        No doubt. The fact is we are simply one relegation away (again) from doing a Sunderland.
        If we go down and don’t bounce back, again, then the fat one would not be putting more money in. He won’t do it now when we are a PL side and has publicly said so.

        • Mark Potter

          Every Premier League club, except the top five with their European income, is one relegation away from potentially doing a Sunderland, Blackburn, Plymouth or Leeds. But Newcastle is better placed than most to avoid that because of it’s fan base. 40,000+ crowds guarantees sufficient income to pay top wages in the Championship.

          • TheFatController

            Best Ashley keeps the fans onside then yes.

        • Leazes.

          With Ashley you are one click away from a disaster… denying the club its own revenue well its Russian Roulette on a grand scale.

  • Leazes.

    I don’t think there was ever a plan other to run United on a shoestring…. what we have is the cumulative effect of that policy….. he just wings it plays by ear and strings it along

    • Peaky

      Any idea where the surname ‘Hat Trick’ originates from Leazes ???
      😂😂

      • TheFatController

        It’s not his real surname. He took it from the name of a Bet Victor promotion, I heard.

        • Leazes.

          Bet Victor was set up by Victor Chandler…. thus the name Bet Victor…. he found he could compete by not paying any tax and moved offshore depriving HMRC of a means to pay for the Health Service, thus giving Nigel Farage the opportunity to promise £350m per week and land the country in the biggest mess since the south sea bubble.

          • TheFatController

            Fair point, although I think it was Boris and not Farage who led on the NHS bonus

          • Leazes.

            Yes it was wasn’t it.

          • Mark Potter

            You can find plenty of UKIP posters with Farage on them, saying they would give £3 billion to the NHS.

          • Mark Potter

            “Offshore” in BetVictor’s case being Gibraltar. What has that got to do with Brexit? It’s an online business and not subject to customs duties. It doesn’t care whether it operates in the EU or not. Except if it’s employees live in Spain and travel into Gibraltar every day (as 10,000s do). If the border is closed, or even tightly controlled, then businesses in Gibraltar will be affected. But it’s tax position remains unchanged – no-one in Gibraltar currently pays tax to the British government, nor will they after Brexit.

      • Leazes.

        There is a Surname ‘Trick’ believe it or not…..it comes from North Devon.

        • TheFatController

          His sister’s Cheap, I heard.

          • Leazes.

            I saw them at the Mayfair years ago

    • Mark Potter

      They don’t run it on a shoestring. The club has a turnover of more than £100m.

      • TheFatController

        Agreed. Just like Bournemouth and Huddersfield

        • Mark Potter

          Huddersfield’s last published accounts (covering their last season in the Championship) state, “Turnover increased from £11.3m to £15.8m”. Huddersfield’s strategic plan includes being a “sustainable and financially viable football club.”

          It was run on a “shoestring”, relative to Newcastle. Then they won the lottery, winning the play offs earned them a minimum of seven times their turnover.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    You could say very few football clubs have a plan. Most just buy the best available players with the income available and have to deal with agents wanting to move there top players on. I do not believe having a good academy would help at all. Would it make Adam Armstrong an international player no. We got relegated twice with top class players like Michael Owen the first time and players who went onto play in European cup finals the second. Both times we did indeed have a plan. The first time we shifted the players out who did not want to play and brought in quality.
    The second time we kept key players like Shelvey bought in players on top money and went up as Champions. That was the plan not cut back like Sunderland did and get relegated again. It worked so you have to give some credit to Ashley and Charnley. To finish tenth also deserves credit.

    • TheFatController

      Praise be the messiah/naughty boy is in the house again.

      I think you’re being disingenuous. It’s the loyal support, and genius of Hughton and Rafa that have actually rescued the failing plan a few times.

      A bit like a company that is up the spout, gets a troubleshooter in who puts them back on course, then the troubleshooter goes, the plan goes out the window and the downward spiral continues.

      When we’re next relegated, their fans may have a banner saying ‘who’s your next troubleshooter?’

      I’ll have a banner saying ‘not sure, but our current messiah is Monkseaton Mugpie’

      • Mark Potter

        The “genius” of Hughton? When Newcastle appointed him after Shearer got us relegated, what was your view on Hughton? Let me guess, appointed because he was cheap and compliant to Ashley?

        • TheFatController

          No. Who are you, sorry?

          Why would you challenge ‘the genius of Hughtob’’ given the mess he inherited and being mid PL table when he left?

          Why do I need to qualify what I thought of his appointment ? Why is that relevant to anything I put?

          You’re conjuring a scenario to attack me which is very bizarre. Weird. But this is the Web I guess. Take it elsewhere.

          • Mark Potter

            Despite all the faux outrage, I note you didn’t answer the point. Did you complain about the appointment of Hughton? It’s not a hard question.

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Correct there was uproar. History re writes itself.

    • Paul Patterson

      Praising the mugger who beats up and robs a granny, but then phones an ambulance . .

  • Tony English

    Top article.

  • ghostrider

    There’s absolutely no doubt Mike Ashley is stingy and there’s absolutely no doubt that the man is ruthless in his actions.
    But saying the only person that has any sense and purpose of direction being Rafa, is wide of the mark, unless you’re just on about what Rafa wants to achieve with someone else’s money, without taking any risks himself. Because that’s basically what seems to be the scenario… and it’s wrong.

    No matter how much fans dream of this that and the other, like I do as well…it comes at a potential heavy and disastrous price if the dream is gone for and not realised…because, as much as Rafa might be full of optimism about what he can do and what he wants to do it, it’s of no consequence to him if it all fails and Newcastle United suffer for it.

    Why?
    Because Rafa moves on, fully paid up and on to his next venture while we all sit back wondering if it was a good idea for Rafa to be allowed to run carefree with a transfer purse and a wage to match all transfers, all dependent on himself.

    You see, it would be pointless bemoaning Ashley at that point because the damage would have been done.

    However, maybe a gamble from Rafa might work…but where does it take us against the elites?
    How long do we get to flirt before it inevitably implodes…which it would because natural expectation takes precedence with fans. We want more and then some.And also the more we go for it the more the elites come raiding and being allowed to.
    It’s a cruel and unfair system and that’s what we need to see changed.

    Ne14st has to do it smarter and more careful, because of many things that create a handicap for that postcode.
    To a Newcastle United fan who lives in Newcastle itself, it can become a denial that the club is looked upon as second class compared to the elite clubs and mere run of the mill to the football hierarchy. Not to mention football players and their agents who class the north east as the back of beyond. Almost Scotland like and looked upon as some kind of arctic.

    Reliance on history is something that means little to most in football unless it’s recent history. And I mean very recent. Or let’s just say that premier league is the recent history that means something while the rest is neither nothing nor something to everybody except those who have a nostalgic mindset for those
    earlier times, which is generally the older generation, including myself.

    The younger generation as well as players….most see £ signs first and bragging rights of venue and very recent history as the next step to trophy guarantees..

    Do I sound harsh?
    The thing is, Ashley is not stupid.
    He’s had the best experience ever of being downtrodden as an owner of a football club and as the major shareholder of his companies.

    He knows the system so well that he’s multiple bites shy of it. He’s shy of it because he was bitten numerous times and learned big lessons from ..not once bitten twice shy… but many bites and multiple shyness.

    What does that mean?

    It means he’ll do what’s necessary to keep his businesses alive and build when fair opportunity arises…professionally.
    He will not give out presents to garner favour from fans (like he did earlier in his tenure) or people who basically want his head on a skewer when it doesn’t suit but will put on a pretence of calm when things do go right, or when he does spend bigger.

    He’s done all of that and wore the T-shirts..but his tomato sauce business is running fantastic, because he always has contingency plans… and yet, as much as people believe he could make a more fancy label or make the tomato sauce a bit more tasty, he says “let it run it’s course, because changing it can ruin it in much more potential than enhancing it.

    Is Ashley ambitious?
    The answer is, absolutely.
    The major problem that many people don’t get is, ambition has to be worked by percentage of calculated gambling in the favour of those who go for it.

    Ashley is a multi billionaire by doing just that. It doesn’t matter whether people call him for not paying this and that to workers. It happens everywhere and most people are under that set up, with only a small proportion of people who are what can be classed as well off compared.

    You see, Ashley realises that football is a different kind of business in terms of what ambition actually means.
    His trust in people to deal with football matters as experts has bit him so hard that his trust is likely rock bottom…and it doesn’t just heighten up with a manager like Rafa who harps on about his own ambition with Ashley’s money.

    Ashley knows it’s a massive risk and he’s not prepared to risk it but is prepared to risk the transfer pot being emptied on every occasion there’s transfer money in there…because he knows that dealing like this keeps this club alive and kicking at the top league, regardless of blips…when other clubs take the big borrowing risk and start to sink with lead boots on.

    Want to see ambition?
    True ambition will start as soon as the football hierarchy start to see Newcastle United and all other clubs as fair players in a fair system.
    Until then, Ashley is not willing to throw his house keys and car keys into the pot against clear stacked decks.

    • TheFatController

      Tolstoy?

    • TheFatController

      Ashley’s said himself he’s not ambitious. He wants out.

      How can you be ambitious when you won’t spend a penny of your own money and want out?

      You can say he’s ambitious, but that doesn’t make it true.

      • ghostrider

        Try and read into what I said.
        I said you do not become a multi billionaire by not being ambitious.
        The issue is in deciding what ambition is in terms of Newcastle UNited football club against the elites…and this is the crux of the problem.

        Ashley is ambitious in all aspects of his businesses but it’s a calculated gamble.
        You see you get arguments of people being, too ambitious or not ambitious enough, or simply not ambitious at all.
        Was Ellis Short ambitious when he came to Sunderland?
        You bet he was.
        Was he too ambitious?
        Only after the fact, not during it, because many Newcastle fans were willing to swap him for Ashley in a heartbeat.

        Hmmmm…makes you think, right?
        It’s how it’s all viewed.
        Excuses galore.
        “Why didn’t the club spend 100 million?”….. ” ahhhh, no ambition.”
        “Why did the club only spend 40 million cash plus spend 40 million on player sales.” ” Ahhhh, too little ambition.”

        “Why has the club spend 85 million on decent players like Wijnaldum, etc?”… “Ahhhhh, ambition, they’re having a real go.”

        “Why did we get relegated?”…..” Ahhhh, just not ambitious enough with the type of manager.”

        ” Why did the club pay too high a wage for too many players?”….”Ahhhhh, over ambitious.”

        The list is endless of all kinds of excuses as to why this and that plus the other.
        The reality is, Ashley is far from stupid to go completely gungho without a contingency plan.
        This ensures that anything we do try, is covered so we live to fight another day and start again.

        Going into debt to finance deals to entice players to play for a great club like Newcastle United, is beyond madness and past experience should tell us that….and yet that was called ambition, yet never called over ambition to the point of oblivion.

        • Chuck D

          Ashley is ambitious in all aspects of his businesses but it’s a calculated gamble.

          Correct he is ambitious in aspects of his “business”, he is not ambitious in terms of NUFC.

          Don’t think you’ve grasped that key difference.

          • ghostrider

            If he wasn’t ambitious we would not still be in the premier league after 11 years of his tenure.
            Have you grasped any of it?

  • Desree

    The plan has always been buy young, usually overseas players and sell for a profit. So if Mitro and Lascelles go then the plan is still the same.

    • Leazes.

      That’s wasn’t so much a ‘plan’ as a ‘restriction’….. His utterances about ‘getting value’ and ‘pound for pound’ nonsense is straight from the soul-less ‘Moneyball’ film…. Fantasy Football for Calvinist creative accountants.

    • ghostrider

      But it isn’t that though.
      The plan is to buy identified quality/potential and build the club, knowing some will be lost to the vulture clubs, due to the realisation of that potential for us.
      It happens to all clubs.

      The only difference is, the big clubs will sell a player for 90 million and buy one for 90 million or 100 or 180 million…or whatever and yet it’s all a merry-go-round for them which makes it appear like they’re massive spenders…yet they aren’t except for wages rising.

      That’s where we have to be careful because selling high from buying cheaper means more cash and more wants from fans for similar outgoing priced incoming players….but with mammoth wages to match and we cannot sustain that nonsense.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Ashley has his way of doing things and no one is going to change him, End of story !
    If you look back at his early interviews for The Chronicle, You can see even then the plan he had was to develop young players.
    Although that was just the broad outline of the plan because you have to read between the lines where Ashley is concerned.

    What I find crazy about The Mike Ashley era is his ability to turn misfits, Waifs and strays into saleable commodities.
    For some unbeknown reason he has been able to get top whack from these players like twisting Spurs arm up their back for 30 Million pound for Sissoko !
    That feat alone should have given him “The Freedom Of The City”, But alas, It is everything else he has done in his time here that rankles.

    If only that acumen was used when trying to buy players because that is where the whole Mike Ashley Regime falls down.
    Yes, It is great to demand big fees for your players but that doesn’t seem to translate to Ashley when the shoe is on the other foot.
    They want to buy players for two bob and a bag of apples so we are always going to be found wanting in the transfer market !

    All these daft articles though about Grandfathers, Fathers, Sons, Factory analogies, John’s nether regions are this length but if he has an accident and loses 2 inches, Etc, Are just getting ridiculous.

    We have no idea what is happening behind the scenes but everyone seems to be shouting before their hurt.
    Knackers like Lee Ryder don’t help with their constant ill informed rubbish that they print on a daily basis which has some up in arms.

    I don’t like Ashley but there is still a way to go yet but it seems to be crisis time already before a ball has even been kicked !

    • TheFatController

      Fair enough, but I am surprised that some don’t file ‘Rafa no contract renewal’ under ‘crisis’

      To any player approached it will look like he’s not here for long.

      So, being unattractive to players due to manager uncertainty I have filed under ‘transfer window crisis’

      • Mark Potter

        He has a year on his contract. How many other managers have contracts, and/or are likely to still be at a club, when player’s own contracts expire (typically 4-6 years long). Plenty of players signed following relegation despite the speculation that he wouldn’t stay in the Championship. Players signed last summer despite the speculation he would leave to go to a “bigger” club.

    • Leazes.

      Player trading is part of the Ashley way of doing things, it was pointed out by a senior Trader Wallah from the FTSE that he had made a profit on trading players of nearly £180m.. problem was ripping the squad apart was probably the reason for the relegations losing the club in the region of £180m, nothing has changed with the appointment of Benitez at all….if anything Rafa has made him more profit and has a weaker squad to show for his efforts.

    • Paul Patterson

      It’s all about profit and has been for a long time. I bet he couldn’t believe his luck when he got the offer for Andy Carroll. ‘£35m? For an academy prospect? £35m for free? No effort? Deal!’
      Repeat with Sissoko, repeat with Cabaye etc. Let Owen leave and save £100k a week, flog Milner who was signed before Ashley bought the club, there’s £12m profit, flog Dyer for £6m profit and save £70k a week, flog Given for £9m and save his wages in the process, as soon as a player asks for a new contract on higher wages, sell them and bring in a lesser player on lower wages. Not a problem if it works, but it seldom does. Rinse and repeat . .

      • Mark Potter

        Cabaye went on strike to force a move. Owen’s contract had run out, and he made it clear he was leaving. He had probably signed a pre-contract agreement with Man Utd. Carroll and Given both submitted written transfer request. Allerdyce sold Dyer, only weeks after Ashley bought the club. When he signed for West Ham, Dyer said: “I think it was well documented that I wanted to be nearer to my family…” He was sold for £6m, Newcastle had bought him for £6m or £6.5m (depending on which account you read), so there was no £6m profit at all. Allerdyce spent the money on the thug Barton, including infamously paying Barton’s loyalty bonus that he claimed from Man City for not requesting the transfer.

        • Paul Patterson

          And? They were replaced with? Lesser quality. Dyer bought for £6m in 1999, Given (£1m) in 1997, Milner (£6m) in 2004. Profits made.
          Everything at the club has been downsized over a various periods of time.

          • Mark Potter

            How is there a profit made on Dyer, if he was bought for about £6m, sold for about £6m and replaced with another player (Barton) for about £6m?

            The club isn’t run to make a profit for the owner, so in the longterm, there never has been any profit. Expenditure matches income.

            There’s only downsizing if you think Dyer was a far better player than Barton. Barton was a far better player than Cabaye, etc. etc.

            But that raises the issue of increased player fees and wages, agents’ fees etc. In that what you get for £6m is not as good as what we got for Dyer in 1997.

            Everyone has jumped on the Sky TV money rollercoaster, to get their cut. And every club who was a potential rival that we could outspend, has benefited to such an extent that we have no significant competitive edge. The income from matchdays is small, and getting smaller, compared to the TV money, so financially we compete on a more or less even playing field with about a dozen other clubs. They have used the TV money to close the gap. And nearly all of them have regularly sold top players to the big 5 clubs, whenever those big clubs came calling. One, because they can’t stop players moving, and two, they need the money.

    • GlasgowMag

      Everything is a crises because there is a total lack of communication between the club and the supporters!! The article hits the nail on the head every business should have a plan and direction otherwise it is doomed to failure. Most organisations also have a senior management team in place consisting of experienced individuals including marketing, operations, finance etc we have none!!! Stop the nonesense the club is not for sale invest in the business players/ training academy etc stop stealing the advertising revenue sort the managers contract out and stop treating your customers like something you had tread on, then we can all move forward to a successful future!!

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        Fair enough but the overly dramatic tone to every article starts to wear you down.
        “My Grand Father Didn’t Fight The Nazi’s For Ashley To Ruin His Club.”
        These are the type of thing you come onto Newcastle sites to see these days.
        It’s as though each one has to be more sob story and Oscar winning than its predecessor.

        Nee wonder people think we are deluded when you see stuff like this man !

        It’s up there with knackers who were involved in the “Shoes Off If You Love Keegan”, Outside of St James’ Park.
        Or Steve Wraith conducting a funeral in full priests regalia complete with coffin and pall bearers to lament “The Death Of St James’ Park.”

        It’s way, Way over the top !

  • BillytheFish

    The Fat Cuckoo is now blaming Rafa for lack of investment because he will not sign a new contract…..Get out of our club!

    • East Durham Mag

      He’s had a few years of undermining Rafa and talking out of his @rse to Sky and anyone who will listen to his [email protected] Ashley out.

      • TheFatController

        Ashley doesn’t understand the high value placed by players – football’s main commodity – on the manager they sign for.

        And the one’s that don’t care who the manger is, just give them the money, are they the ones we want ?

        Sadly for Ashley, in football you can’t trade well in its prime commodities without respecting the man you employ to manage them.

        • Mark Potter

          But isn’t this a myth? In most clubs the manager is only 4-5 games from the sack. The players must know this. Shelvey, Mitro, Townsend, Wijnaldum all “signed for” McClaren. Presumably some world class players “signed for” Rafa at Real, but had no problem after he was sacked playing for Zidane.

          Players announcing to the media how important the manager was in them signing is just PR. It’s also obligatory for them to say it’s a “big club”. None of them can say, “I’m a professional footballer. This is my job. I signed for the employer who offered me the best financial package.” Or, “My current employer didn’t want me any more. I had to sign for someone.”

          • TheFatController

            The mental gymnastics you will do to be obtuse are fantastic.

            Good work.

  • Peaky

    The only thing cunning about Fatso is the first 3 letters and replace the ning with a t……

    • Geordiegiants

      Most definetly. Plus he is a shithouse.

      • Peaky

        They ain’t never gonna take the old shithouses away from us….

        • Geordiegiants

          🤣😂🤣

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    I think the piece over-estimates the capability and skills of senior managers in any enterprise, and certainly Ashley’s abilities. He has a few accountants who advise on how to extract (not create) value from his businesses and that’s all. Most of his momey has come from financial activities rather than productive – that’s the MO these days. He will always benefit from long term stock market growth anyway, just has to sit there.

    • Leazes.

      Thus the land strip…. the advertising strip….the marketing strip….the player sales.

      I had a look in the Liverpool accounts…. they have a mission statement to secure the clubs position buy the best players and engage with fans….

      …..The United Accounts don’t mention football….. the club exists to furnish the accounts not the other way around!

      • Angelswithdirtyfaces

        Exactly…. he is extracting value from the club

  • Peaky

    Still no sight nor sound from Jezza…might have to start an appeal soon…..he must be overloaded with “I told you so’s” by now…
    🤣

    • TheNutJob

      the men in black got him
      😎

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      He is still in his care home for rest be out shortly.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Oh but he has a cunning plan already and it’s working perfectly thank you very much. It involves making as much money as he can out of Newcastle United. So far he’s executed this plan perfectly.

  • Darren Moat

    Great article, Ashley knows as little about football now as he did 10 years ago and the same mistakes repeated time and time again, I doubt Charnley can order bog roll without the say so of our owner and there lies the problem, it would seem when Ashley goes on holiday the club comes to a stand still, the season finished what seems an eternity ago and yet the only transfer stories apart from goalkeeper are outgoings, another disfunctional summer awaits I’m sure

  • TheNutJob

    Fatty`s even put the block on Rafaball & i was looking forward to it, after all it did bring us the Hoss
    🐎 🐎 🐎

  • Spectrum

    It’s not tomato “ketchup”. It’s tomato SAUCE. Stop adopting Americanisms.

    • TheNutJob

      say`s ketchup on mine
      😂😂😂

      • Peaky

        Why is brown sauce sauce and not a ketchup ?? Leazes will know…

        • TheNutJob

          you bet he`ll know

          • Leazes.

            Correct

          • Spectrum

            And it’s toilet, not bathroom.

          • TheNutJob

            i have bathroom

          • Spectrum

            When you need to “go”, I hope you do it in the toilet and not on the floor of the bathroom ?

          • nufcslf

            And most important of all it is football not soccer. Christ, I’ve been living in North America for 37 and half years and still have all of these word games to this day…most of it on purpose to wind people up…

          • TheNutJob

            big place North America in fact the 2nd biggest country in the world is there but i presume you`re in the USA

          • nufcslf

            Vancouver, Canada, but still uses all the same Anerican terminology. 14 when we emigrated from Newcastle, just never found any reason to change in any way, but that’s not without fitting in and being a part of everything. Home is what you make of it no matter where you are.

          • TheNutJob

            very true, wor kids been to Canada but i haven`t, he drove all over Montana as well

          • nufcslf

            That’s the way to see different countries and get a feel for the people. I’m honestly surprised we lasted without not ending up back home. My mam has never really settled, brother stayed and went to Newcastle Polly as it was then and still lives in Barny. Both mam and dad are in their 80’s now and to old for that huge move. Football and going to matches would have always been my reason…until fatty and the last 11 years…Never happened and with being married, kids and now 3 grand kids never will. Holidays it will be.

          • TheNutJob

            aye my bro was very impressed with Canada & the States
            we had one mate go to work in America and he came back with a dodgy American accent, took some stick for a year

          • TheNutJob

            Bathroom

          • Spectrum

            Toilet. So there ! lol

        • Leazes.

          It is…. the first Catsups were the Worcestershire sauces, which were fermented fish sauces…. I saw it on the Hairy Bikers.

      • Spectrum

        We English call it tomato sauce, not “ketchup”. We also pronounce “clerk” as clark, it’s a zebra crossing, not a crosswalk, and it’s x y zed – not x y zee.

        I’m sure plenty of others come to mind.

        • Peaky

          Bumbag…….fannypack.

        • TheNutJob

          i use tomato ketchup, i use brown sauce.

        • paul mclaughlan

          And it’s ibiza not eyebiza. Although I agree that’s off topic.

    • Leazes.

      Its not Americanism its Chinese.

      • TheNutJob

        😂😂😂😂😂

    • Steve Smith

      Red sauce.

      • Spectrum

        ToMAHto, not ToMAYto.

  • TheNutJob

    Engerland another glorious victory, 4-0 or 4-1

    • Peaky

      Yes,we need to muller these part time hat & cigar makers…..momentum needed for Belgium.

      • TheNutJob

        looks like they have a Hoss as well

      • TheNutJob

        Mullered, good and propa

  • TheNutJob

    ee aye addio we`re gona win the cup

    ⚽🏆🏆🏆

    • Leazes.

      It like watching Spurs vs Palace at the Emirates

      • TheNutJob

        some poor teams in this world cup & some good ones sitting at home

        • Leazes.

          Shame

    • Peaky

      What a cu*t that Torres is….dirty cheating South Americans…..rest Kane now For Belgium and give Steptoe Vardy a run out second half.

      • TheNutJob

        Steptoe`s coming on

      • paul mclaughlan

        Dirty cheating Central Americans I’m sure you mean? 😂

        • Peaky

          🤣😂🤣
          Yes but South Americans are still dirty cheats…

          • TheNutJob

            Trumps getting rid of them Juan by juan

    • Leazes.

      Well done you’ve rendered a good debate useless with your inane drivel, and I bloody fell for it.

      • TheNutJob

        😲😲

        • Leazes.

          Started with Newcastle United and Brexit and ended with Ketchup

          • TheNutJob

            😂😂

  • Peaky

    Slimy Frank’s voice does my heed in….

  • Peter C

    Really interesting analogy, and good analysis of the current situation at Newcastle, and of the past 11 years of Mike Ashley’s ownership.

    Is it a total fluke, he’s successful in business.

  • Wezza147

    He does have a plan though and the football is secondary.
    Spend as little as possible
    Spend as little on wages as possible
    Asset strip and run on bare bones
    Eliminate trouble makers
    Avoid relegation
    Use PR teams to lie, spin and generally manipulate the publics expectations, renew season tickets
    Transfer prize money to Holdings account black holes
    Repeat.

    It will never change.

  • TheNutJob

    is that Bob Marley on the Senegalese touchline

    • Peaky

      🎵🎵Three Little Birds On My Doorstep 🎵🎵🎵🎵

      • TheNutJob

        😂😂😂

    • Peaky

      You’ve done it now Nutty….I’m on the Hophouse 13,hosing the garden with Bob Marley blasting out….

      • TheNutJob

        😂😂😂

    • GlasgowMag

      More like Eddy Grant 😂😂

      • TheNutJob

        the nips are playing Kamikaze football here
        😂😂

        • GlasgowMag

          Yip I think fat boy also takes that approach to management or is that Russian roulette lol😂😂

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Hmmm slightly racist all round, well done.

          • Lhc#Freetommyrobinson

            But if I had said this, which I wouldn’t anyway, have people noticed yet how certain people on here turn a blind eye, just saying!

  • Rich Lawson

    The only ”cunning plan” Ashley has is wearing a pair of (SD) underpants on his head and sticking two pencils up his nose before blaming his feckless manager for all our woes .

    • GlasgowMag

      And then drinks 16 pints🍺🍺 and falls a sleep under the fire place🔥🛌,the black adder approach to management lol😂😂

      • paul mclaughlan

        To be fair Blackadder was the sensible one. It was all around him who were insane.

    • Fireman Sam

      Ashley has a cunning plan, just like the EU. We give him a pound and he gives us 50p back.

  • David Bruce

    why or u talking about brexit and football leave it alone WE VOTED 2 LEAVE stop

    trying to relive the vote DEMORACY thats what my dad fought 4 .

    • GlasgowMag

      What,s Brexit got to do with your dads boxing career🥊🥊😂😂

    • Leazes.

      Was he a suffragette?

    • paul mclaughlan

      Why are you talking about Brexit?

    • Mark Potter

      “We”? The people of Newcastle voted to remain. Are you a Mackem? Sunderland voted to leave.

      Democracy doesn’t mean that all discussion of the issue stops. Remember, we had a referendum before, and voted to join the then EEC. No-one suggested that those who wanted to leave were undemocratic in fighting to overturn that decision for 40 years. They had a right to freedom of speech. Why do leavers want to suppress the freedom of speech of those who disagree with the decision? That sounds more like fascism.

      • TheFatController

        I thought many remainders simply claim the economic impact was seriously underestimated and this highlights it was a portly informed referendum.

        You can have free speech, no problem would be their point. But you can’t have ‘blind’ decision making – complex decisions by politicians invariably do not go to a public referendum and now we know why.

        • Fireman Sam

          These extremely clever and enlightened politicians you speak of (seriously have you seen them, they havnt got a clue) voted unanimously to give the decision to the people via a referendum.

          Then, despite the full support of the BBC and various public personalities failed to put across an argument.

          It really IS NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

          • paul mclaughlan

            Only problem is we now have a (mainly) service based economy. Ergo we’ve nowt to sell to the rest of the world.

          • Leazes.

            Yes …what does Tyneside make now?

            Putting the shutters up isn’t conducive to service industry, tourism or banking and insurance, and the aging population of our region will be exacerbated by the draw of the south of the country for well paid jobs…..

            The 50k university and college places in the city have masked the true population age problem, there will be a decline in the take up of places

            ….Who is going to look after this aging population with the blanket ban on EU and Non EU workers without leaving the door open the NHS as it is pays some agencies for foreign workers in their home countries to get around the National Minimum wage….

          • GlasgowMag

            Cameron did a deal with the Devil to stay in power offering the referendum as a sweetener to stave of the growing UKIP vote within his own ranks. The vote was to simplistic yes or no without the correct information. What gets me is why the leavers are so scared for the public or parliament to have a vote on the final deal when we know the exact facts, because they probably know it will get rejected!!!

          • Leazes.

            Yup!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            But we’ve had a general election since and the one major UK wide party that stood on a remain / another referendum ticket lost votes.

            You may argue that the electorate don’t vote on policies in a GE, they vote the way they always vote because their granny voted Labour etc. Nevertheless, even if the electorate are that stupid, the result has to stand.

          • Mark Potter

            And the only party which has ever had an official leave policy (UKIP), rather than a “we have to respect the vote” position, got how many seats?

            It’s bizarre that a minority of Conservative MPs have been able to force this through.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I don’t think UKIP lost any seats as they didn’t have any. I think for UKIP, there job was done.

            My point remains that should the electorate have wanted another referendum, the party promising that referendum surely would have got more votes. Personally, I think the Lib Dems should have been more honest and said they’d reverse the article 50 decision and stay in.

          • nevfur

            Probably because remoaners will reject the deal regardless as will others for political reasons so it won’t actually be a vote on the deal but purely a vote to stay in longer and the whole process takes time further continuing the uncertainty for business and costs money. We have voted out so let the elected government get on with doing their job and following the will of the people in doing that.

          • GlasgowMag

            Confused, One of the main arguments was to bring back power to our elected parliament but then because it doesn’t suit you refuse to give them the final vote on the deal!! The campaign was built on lies give the public the vote on the final deal if they vote still to leave so be it but at least we will all be clear on exactly what we are voting for!!!

          • nevfur

            More grasping at straws, a vote in Parliament would purely give the chance to remoaners and those with a political slant to vote against the deal regardless of how good it may be. We have voted and are coming out.

          • GlasgowMag

            Yes you are correct we are coming out!! this plan was devised by the Tory elite from their school base at Eton!! Tell lies to the public (addition money for the NHS) throw in the jonny foreigner is taking all our jobs BS to stir up the masses and it worked won by a measly 2% god help us all!!!

          • nevfur

            Yawn, just keep on whinging

          • GlasgowMag

            Yip thought so attention span of a goldfish enjoy your sleep!! 😂😂

          • nevfur

            What? You have the attention span of a goldfish. I see, that’s probably why you haven’t noticed that the Brexit vote has already happened.

          • Mark Potter

            If we had “given up political control of our country” then how come our MPs were able to vote on this? Why did the EU allow a referendum?

      • Fireman Sam

        Are you a student at Newcastle university? Or a civil servant at longbenton? If not you will likely be in a minority amongst your peers.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        they voted for the EEC NOT the EU

      • Elvin Burdon

        I thought they had

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I voted to remain but we can’t keep running a vote until we vote to go back in.

        We voted and we are out. We’ve since had a general election where the one major party that was in favour of another vote in the EU scored their lowest number of seats ever.

        I think we have to accept the appetite for remaining is not as high as a few bedsheet wavers of a day out to London would like to believe.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter
      Winston Churchill

      • Fireman Sam

        Our democracy is a choice between a bunch of loons and an even bigger bunch of loons.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          My Dad who`s 67 voted against in the 75 referendum,
          he still insists it was fixed.

        • Leazes.

          Don’t confuse diplomacy and expediency with stupidity.

      • Leazes.

        Churchill wasn’t a democrat, he voted against the vote for Women.

      • Desree

        Dictatorships are much better. Just look at Iraq, Lebanon, NUFC

        • Sickandtired

          Lebanon is not under a Dictatorship.

  • Mike

    40K SEASON tickets 50k crowds yes we are MUGS, keep buying the sports direct crp

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    England win 6-1,
    Southgate says he was disappointed with the performance
    Bet that cheered the lads up no end

    • Dillon Tovak

      😂 that was so transparent with wanting to portray himself as a tough boss, never satisfied until the tournaments won.
      In reality he’s spaffed his wad, exceeding all his wildest dreams.

  • FatParosite

    Nearly 9 paragraphs in you get to the watershed statement. ‘There was, briefly, a plan in place a few years ago,’ and the whole thing comes tumbling down around very very weak foundations. There was NO plan.. There is NO point to this article.

  • Fireman Sam

    It would seem that Mike ashleys reign over Newcastle supporters is similar to that of the EU over the people of Europe, as much as everyone hates them, they keep ignoring us and we just can’t get rid of them.

    And nobody knows where all the money has gone.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      £4bn unaccounted for in the EU nearly every year

      • Leazes.

        I didn’t know you were a Daily Mail Reader!

    • Leazes.

      Speak for yourself….Leaving would be even worse for workers, leading to attacks on their rights and possibly an erosion of everything achieved under the workers’ rights directive which has to date been protected by EU membership…. its not enough to write into place laws and then not take part in their implementation and indeed construction.

  • Mxpx

    The eu and Mike Ashley are only similar in that nobody has a say in what they do in Mike Ashleys defence running a business isn’t a democratic process the only way to vote is with your wallet which tbf is more say than anyone had in junkers election I’m not convinced that no deal is the best option BUT its better than anything that’s been offered to us if we flipped the table over and said come back to us when you’re ready to make us a proper offer this would be an excellent position for us to establish strength sadly this is what happens most of the time Ashley has penfold make a low offer to other clubs for a player

    • Leazes.

      I think Westminster is more remote especially as they don’t seem to know where we are, but in Europe we are a region….they are attempting to form this sort of beneficial relationship between people which was good until the Germans turned on Greece with hostility, and that seemed to be a big factor in the way the British establishment viewed the EU. We are still going to have to implement laws on safety and construction of goods and materials but without any input, but like Dad’s Army it is the British way to muddle through one crisis to the next.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    Good point but the Ashley plan was to adopt a business like strategy.

    The idea seemed to have the key areas of the business to be interchangeable. I.e the scout did not rely on the manager, coaching staff could operate regardlesd of manager and players could be replaced at any time.

    Great idea in principle but doesn’t always work in practice

  • Toon

    Good mature article (on The Mag, well done!)

  • Hughie

    Disagree with you. I think Ashley and co have a very clear but rigid long term policy/plan based solely on very conservative and careful accounting which minimises risk in their eyes. The model is almost certainly based on Ashley and his advisers’ previous business experience. Regrettably the plan has failed spectacularly twice, and has produced mediocre results, because the investment strategy is overly cautious, and is being applied to the wrong industry. What amazes me is that although the club took major financial risks and changed its strategy during each relegation season, once back in the PL it has failed to learn its lesson and continues to under- invest thereby increasing the risk of a repeat. So there is definitely a plan– eg don’t buy any player for more than about £12M; retain a relatively low wage cap; concentrate on young mainly foreign players; do not buy from PL clubs in the inflated English market; concentrate on loans because if a player fails the club is not lumbered.

  • mentalman

    He’s had good ideas for the club the biggest mistake he has made is he should have brought in a top director of football to make his business strategies work in a footballing world.

    • Sickandtired

      What ideas? What business strategies? The club’s commercial revenue is lower than when he bought it! Deprives the club of advertising and merchandising revenue and pockets assets for himself (Gallowgate land).
      He also appointed a Director of Football, in Dennis Wise then Joker.
      Face reality, man.

      • mentalman

        Directors who know how to run a football club could have sorted the revenue streams out at little cost to the cub.

        The whole purple player thing could have worked if it was done properly and is a strategy that top clubs throughout Europe employ, difference is they have someone who knows how to make it work.

        What exactly could the club have done with the Gallowgate land?

        As i said he should have brought in a top DOF, i don’t think anyone would class the two you mentioned even in the bottom 1% of DOF’s

        • Sickandtired

          The land? He could have paid the club for it to begin with! Instead he’s developing a club asset for his own profit – it’s called asset stripping.
          Same as the merchandise, advertising and commercial revenue, none of which you refer to or acknowledge.
          The fact is, Ashley appoints cronies in all of his business dealings.

          • mentalman

            thats my point though, if he’d employed someone competent instead of his cronies some of the things he has tried could have worked.

          • Sickandtired

            Which ‘things’ are you meaning?

            His policy has been to buy cheap and sell for profit. There does not appear to have been any other commercial, business or football agenda other than that.

            Despite this approach resulting in two relegation’s, he continues with it, and he has a world class manager telling him otherwise now. Sort of ruins your theory.

            It’s his competence which is at the heart of all the failure – or rather incompetence.

  • Mike

    thought this was a NUFC site talking about football?