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Football finance expert ‘If Mike Ashley wanted to buy the club I supported I’d be soiling myself’

7 months ago
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The battle goes on against Mike Ashley.

Newcastle fans continue to run online interference on the social media of the NUFC owner’s retail empire, whilst another mass demonstration will take place at 1pm on Sunday outside Sports Direct in Newcastle City Centre.

An open meeting for fans to help decide future action against Mike Ashley is also scheduled to take place at the Labour Club on Leazes Park Road, 7pm kick-off on Wednesday 5 September.

For those people outside the region, the Mike Ashley PR machine is at full throttle as it attempts to muddy the waters and portray Ashley as the victim, with the fans and Rafa lucky to have him. Lined up to peddle this line have been all kinds of dubious characters, with Dennis Wise, Richard Keys, Sam Allardyce and Andy Gray leading the charge.

However, plenty of credible people, who don’t happen to be Newcastle fans, also know the true story.

Those in the media and elsewhere who are prepared to speak up and help expose the disgraceful way Mike Ashley runs Newcastle United.

One of those people is Kieran Maguire, who is a lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool.

He has regularly written in the past about Newcastle United and Mike Ashley, as well as of course, the situations at many other clubs.

Most recently he has spoken about Liverpool, this week commenting on the news that Sheik Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan (cousin of Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour) had failed with a bid of £2bn to buy the scousers.

FSG paid around £300m for Liverpool in 2010, some three years after Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United.

Unlike Ashley, in their time owning the club, the Liverpool owners have invested in the first team squad, as well as making significant investment in the stadium, training complex and Academy.

Now Kieran Maguire says that he can perfectly understand why they weren’t accepting £2bn for the club, saying that if they keep doing things right, FSG could have a football club worth £3bn in four or five years time.

When talking about who may or may not buy Liverpool, or indeed any other club, Kieran Maguire declares ‘My concern would always be what the motives of the potential owners are.’

Putting forward a prime example of the kind of character who a supporter most definitely wouldn’t want buying their club, Maguire says: ‘If Mike Ashley, for example, offered £2bn for the club I supported, I’d be soiling myself.’

Whilst I wouldn’t claim that Newcastle could have been worth £2bn by this point. If Mike Ashley had run Newcastle United on ambitious lines these past 11+ years, making proper investment in the playing squad, Academy, St James Park and the training complex, rather than looking to simply be a Sports Direct billboard and trying to survive in the Premier League on the lowest possible spend, then NUFC could have been worth massively more than what its true worth is today.

Kieran Maguire talking to the Liverpool Echo:

“FSG see a lot more growth in the club, in their masterplan, they’ll believe in four to five years Liverpool will be worth closer to £3bn.

“The most recent Premier League takeover deal that went through was at Arsenal where Stan Kroenke bought out Alisher Usmanov. That valued Arsenal at around £1.8bn.

 “If Arsenal are worth £1.8bn then Liverpool are worth at least £2bn. And if they continue to succeed on the field then they could easily add another £500m in the next few years.

“From an FSG point of view, it would be daft to sell for £2bn.

 “Matchday revenue is up, television money is up and commercial input is up because Standard Chartered have renegotiated their shirt sponsorship deal.

“My concern would always be what the motives of the potential owners are.

“If Mike Ashley, for example, offered £2bn for the club I supported, I’d be soiling myself.

“FSG appear to be doing the right things for the right reasons. Of course there is a financial benefit to them, but I don’t think Liverpool fans can really begrudge their investment in the stadium, the facilities and the squad.

“Liverpool are becoming everybody’s second favourite team again, and there are huge positives for the city in general on the back of people talking about Liverpool in a very positive light.

“The value of the club is a barometer of the success of the owners. And the fact Liverpool are increasing in value is a sign FSG must be doing it mostly right.”

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