As a Newcastle United fan now in the 12th season of Mike Ashley owning the club, you think you have seen it all, then they put Dennis Wise and Richard Keys in the same room.
Whether they are in the direct pay of Mike Ashley, or just do it to ensure they keep/boost their profile as pundits/experts, the net effect is the same.
Shameless comments/discussion that they clearly don’t even believe, no matter how thick they might be, as well as how cynical they are in the way they are willing to say anything for money.
Gathered together by beIN Sports, Andy Gray and Sam Allardyce were also in the room on Saturday as Newcastle were due to take on Cardiff.
However, even those two had the good grace to sit there and look (slightly) shamefaced as this monstrous segment took place, as Richard Keys and Dennis Wise took part in this clearly scripted pre-arranged ‘interview’/’discussion’ that only involved the pair of them.
It was so amateurish in trying to make it look natural, it could have been Alan Partridge at his finest.
This is what took place and my observations in brackets on the various nonsense spouted…
“Why does Mike Ashley not put his hand in his pocket and back Rafa Benitez?”
(Nobody is asking Mike Ashley to ‘put his hand in his pocket’, just to let the club try and generate as much money as possible and then allow that revenue to be spent on and off the pitch to take the club forward.)
Dennis Wise (grinning):
“Do you know what, it’s really funny, we have just been sitting here talking about it.
“Rafa in his first two years had £102million to spend…”
(Fancy having this ‘fact’ to hand, almost as though Keith Bishop prepared it…the figure is actually more like £90m as well)
“On what…18 players?”
(17 NUFC first team squad players moved out of the club in summer 2016 alone, so Rafa has actually only replaced bodies, as well as making a profit in the transfer market. Plus, even if the figure was £102m and 18 players brought in, that only averages around £5.5m per player, not exactly the basis of a Premier League team/squad)
“On 18 players, yeah.
“So how much do you want?
“He (Mike Ashley) has actually come out and turned around and said ‘I’m not a country, I’m a person. I haven’t got as much money as these countries that com out and purchase all these players. I’m not spending the money that the Man Cities of this World are going to spend.’”
(What kind of a country are Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Brighton, Fulham, Wolves and others? Once again we face this nonsense of the likes of Dennis Wise trying to make out that Newcastle fans are demanding we compete with Man City in the transfer market, rather than the likes of Huddersfield and Brighton who we were promoted with 15 months ago.)
“This is Ashley?”
“He’s comes out and said it, he done a fantastic interview where he sat down and explained it, but what he does do is he gives money to the managers and they use it in the manner that they use it and they’re complaining that he (Mike Ashley) made money in the transfer window. But do you know what, what is wrong with that? That is part and parcel of the business, if you trade well, your trading on players, then well done to you, and full credit.
“I look at the situation, and I look at Rafa, and I think that people haven’t really credited Mike for bringing Rafa in.
“You know, thought it was a fantastic masterstroke of him (Ashley) getting him in to manage the football club at the time.”
(Rafa Benitez approached Newcastle, not the other way around. Mike Ashley only employed him because he realised he (Ashley) had dug such a hole, that only a proper manager like Rafa could turn the club around. What is wrong with making a profit in the transfer market he asks? Well….nothing, if you have a great squad that doesn’t need a lot of money spent on it.)
“This was at a time in Benitez’ life, was it not, when he’d just been sacked, after six months at Real Madrid, so he wasn’t doing a lot was he ?’
(This is classic, as though Rafa Benitez was so desperate for a job that Mike Ashley did him a favour, letting him come in after his last club was Real Madrid, to a club that was all but relegated already.)
“No he wasn’t. You know what to go and get a manager like that, I don’t think Mike got a pat on the back for that, he won’t, because unfortunately that’s how people perceive Mike, they don’t think he does anything that is right for the football club.
“But he does, he does a lot for the football club and he won’t sell that football club to somebody who will strip it.
“Somebody comes along and the money is right, but he knows they will also put money in, then he may do that (sell Newcastle United).”
“So one of his (Mike Ashley) problems is, that he won’t sell the club to asset strippers, he wants to protect the integrity of the club?”
(Totally shameless, Mike Ashley only interested in protecting the ‘integrity’ of Newcastle United. Somebody who has shamelessly dragged us through the gutter.)
“A team that I played for and a club you love, Coventry, got stripped and lost a lot of things and he is not prepared to do something like that.
“He has got that club in a comfortable position. Yes, he’s had problems doing it with the fans because they don’t like him but he has got it in a strong position and they are gradually building.”
“Is the club for sale? You speak with authority because of course you worked with Ashley up there, I don’t know exactly what your job title was, you ran the club in effect. Is his problem then, that it is up for sale, but he wants to protect the club and sell to the right people.”
“He wants to protect the club, yes, and I don’t blame him for that.”
“What sort of money has he invested in it, what is his commitment to it?”
(Talk about staged questions….)
“The commitment I don’t know right now, I’m guessing £120m…£130m…loan to the club.”
(…and answers. Though of course the majority of that money ‘owed’ was simply part of the price of buying Newcastle United. £45m to pay off the mortgage amount still owed for redeveloping St James Park, as well as money that was still owed for players previously bought. Pretty much every normal club having amounts still owed for players they have bought in instalments.)
“Interest free loan? So if he pulled that out, they go bust?”
“Oh of course, yes of course.
(Why would the club automatically ‘go bust’. if Ashley demanded that he/NUFC ‘repaid’ him this £130m? In what circumstances would that cash need to be paid? Presumably if Mike Ashley walked away, rather than selling the club, and somebody else had that commitment to pay those ‘loans’. With Premier League revenues and the potential for so much more if Ashley was no longer involved, no reason why a new owner couldn’t finance paying Ashley that money, either through personal funds and/or commercial loans.)
“You know, when he first took over that football club there was a lot of debt at the football club. He had to put a lot of his money in and he had to clear the debt and he decided ‘I want to clear the debt’, so he loaned the club the money.
“He has put a quarter of a billion pounds into that club from day one.”
(If Mike Ashley has PUT IN £250m, then surely if he then sold the club he would then be TAKING OUT £400m from NUFC. Ridiculous to portray it that way, when somebody takes over another business (such as a football club or whatever), they will almost always pay money to purchase it AND then also put money in to stimulate growth, buy stock/players and whatever. The idea being that by purchasing and investing, you then at a later date sell and make a profit, hopefully. If Ashley got his supposed £400m price tag, then he would walk away with a massive profit and having had all those years of huge free advertising to promote his retail empire around the world.)
“A quarter of a billion?!!”
“I was at the football club when Sam (Allardyce) had just left. I then turn up about three weeks later and I have seen the kind of wages these players were on and it was far too high for that football club.
(At this point, amusingly Sam Allardyce looks a bit sheepish, because of course in the one transfer window when he was at NUFC, he wrecked havoc, it was him who got ‘bargain’ free transfers Viduka and Geremi on £100,000 a week contracts, brought in the likes of Smith and Barton on five year deals at £60,000 a week. He basically paved the way for relegation the following season by making terrible signings.)
“They were on long contracts and therefore certain things had to be sorted out and certain things had to be addressed.
“That football club is in a lot better position than it was before Mike.”
(Nobody could deny that Hall and Shepherd made some disastrous decisions in later years in the way they treated Sir Bobby and brought in idiots such as Allardyce and Souness, then wasting massive amounts on poor buys such as Owen, Luque and Boumsong, plus many of those Allardyce buys. However, if it hadn’t been Mike Ashley, somebody else would have come along and bought NUFC. If that had happened, I think Newcastle fans would be very confident that nothing could have been worse than what we’ve experienced under Ashley…two relegations, only one finish in the PL top nine, not trying in the cups, as well as all the added off pitch pathetic nonsense – such as renaming SJP and employing disgraceful people such as Wise, JFK and Pardew.)