There is a lot written and said about Mike Ashley.
This has gone into a whole other dimension ever since he bought Newcastle United.
I actually think the NUFC owner sees this as a massive bonus now…because whenever the media mention Mike Ashley in connection with Newcastle United, they invariably also mention Sports Direct.
Even more free advertising for SD.
Most of the conversation at the moment regarding Ashley is to do with Rafa Benitez and the transfer market.
A lot of what is said is along the lines of ‘Why isn’t Mike Ashley backing Rafa Benitez, surely he must know he is the best manager he could possibly get, somebody who could bring success at last, he is running a massive risk of losing him etc etc.’
However, I think the bottom line is that Mike Ashley actually wants Rafa out.
It was only the first transfer window when the owner played along with his manager.
Once promotion looked on the cards in January 2017 he (Ashley) then refused any more cash and that has continued in the next three windows with either nothing or very little net spend in any window.
Mike Ashley isn’t interested in success on the pitch and once you accept that, it then starts to make a lot more sense.
If by some fluke we did win something then he would be pleased because more cash from all kinds of angles would be coming in BUT he doesn’t believe in spending anything he doesn’t have to, on what he sees as something (winning a trophy/getting top four) that is never going to happen.
To back up his thinking, Ashley would no doubt point to 50 years without a trophy for the club and a different playing field these days compared to when we got Champions League in the 90s and 2000s.
He just wants to try and stay in the PL with as little spend as possible and if the worst happens (for the third time under him!), he thinks instant promotion is more or less guaranteed with having the cash saved up from minimal spending when in the top tier AND the parachute payments that would come his way once again if relegated. Newcastle received over £41m in parachute payments for the 2016/17 season and with the new Premier League TV deals kicking in as from 2019/20, those figures are almost certain to go up.
This might sound a little mad considering the current goings on but I COULD see a figure well on the way to £100m being spent next summer, or the one after.
BUT only if we were a Championship club!
Here’s the reasoning….
Remember, we spent over £50m in summer 2016.
Also, you could even see a spend of close to £100m next summer (2019) in the Championship AND Mike Ashley making a profit on transfers.
If Lascelles, Shelvey, Lejeune and Dubravka play this coming season like they did February onwards, very likely they could be sold for a combined £100m+ and Mike Ashley wouldn’t then even have to spend any of the Premier League revenues which he had/has stashed away, if he wanted to allow spending of £100m or so to more or less guarantee (as he sees it) instant promotion
In the meantime, Sports Direct (Mike Ashley) and the rest of his retail empire continue to benefit from the worldwide exposure Newcastle United provide for nothing.
And people wonder why Mike Ashley wants to keep hold of Newcastle United…