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Sky Sports were doing so well with Mike Ashley Newcastle United coverage and then this…

2 years ago

Earlier today (Wednesday) The Mag praised Sky Sports for their coverage of the protests against Mike Ashley.

The broadcaster giving really good reporting as Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah presented a petition against the NUFC owner to the House of Commons.

They also talked at some length about #IfRafaGoesWeGo Newcastle fan protests in general.

However, they just had to go and spoil it.

They went with a feature on Newcastle / Mike Ashley transfer spending over the course of recent seasons.

Nothing wrong with the topic but the execution of it was embarrassing.

Newcastle fans instantly pointing to this as the work of Ashley’s PR goon, Keith Bishop, pushing a story to Sky Sports.

Sky Sport showing this Newcastle United transfer spending chart:

As you can see, a couple of things stand out in particular.

Firstly, they have conveniently started the stats in 2014/15, not including the Summer 2013 and January 2014 windows when Newcastle United / Mike Ashley didn’t buy a single senior player, whilst sales of players in those two windows totalled £23m (all selling stats taken from the very good Transfermarkt site).

Secondly, the story of spending on players is not taken in the overall context of money going out AND in, in other words, net spending.

For example, in summer 2016 Mike Ashley may well have allowed £54.1m to be spent on players BUT a massive £89.7m was generated by players (Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Janmaat etc) being sold.

Basically, that summer a whole team of players, and many more, left the club, so Rafa Benitez had no choice to bring in so many (12) players.

Spending £54.1m on players when you have sold most of your squad for £35m/£4om more than that figure, is completely different to if you had a net spend of some £40m or more.

Below I have matched  up the money generated by selling players (as per Transfermarkt) to go along the Sky Sports figures of what Mike Ashley allowed to be spent.

In these last nine transfer windows (starting summer 2014), NUFC have spent £209m according to Sky Sports, whilst Transfermarkt figures show £149.9m generated by sales.

So over the course of these last four and a half years/nine windows, Mike Ashley / Newcastle United have a net spend of £59.1m, an average net spend of £6.56m per transfer window.

However, if you include that 2013/14 season of no buys and £23m of departures (manly Yohan Cabaye), you then have a net spend of only £36.1m over five and half years. An average NUFC net spend of only £3.28m per transfer window.

With Everton spending up to £50m on Richarlison, promoted Fulham spending £25m+ on a midfielder, and Huddersfield £18m on their new club record signing, you just have to shake your head.

Spending in each of these last nine transfers according to Sky Sports and the in brackets the money generated by NUFC sales according to Transfermarkt.

Summer 2018

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

January 2018

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

Summer 2017

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

January 2017

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

Summer 2016

Bought £3,6m (Sold £17.8m)

January 2016

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

Summer 2015

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

January 2015

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)

Summer 2014 

Bought £3.6m (Sold £17.8m)


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