Under the ownership of Mike Ashley, Newcastle fans have found that there is little point in looking too far ahead.

The NUFC owner’s only strategy has been to try and get through the next season and survive in the Premier League on the lowest possible spend.

Willing accomplices such as Derek Llambias would claim the existence of five year plans, when the evidence clearly told you otherwise.

The only possible loose ‘long-term plan’ you could maybe put forward, was with the now seemingly abandoned policy of buying young players from weak overseas leagues, in the hope they might be sold for a lot of money in the future.

In his 11 years and counting in control at NUFC, Mike Ashley has allowed almost zero investment in the infrastructure of Newcastle United: the training ground, Academy set-up and St James Park itself.

Newcastle supporters are rightly worried about the here and now, Mike Ashley refusing to support Rafa Benitez in any meaningful way this summer, Newcastle making the biggest profit of all 20 PL clubs in the summer window. Watford the only other to make a profit and that was due to Richarlison leaving for £40m+.

However, looking at the situation in a year’s time, Ashley is storing up an absolute nightmare, in my opinion.

Assuming nothing positive happens in the meantime, there looks to be little doubt that Rafa Benitez won’t be staying for the 2019/20 season, even if he keeps Newcastle in the Premier League.

I think if that is the case, then Jamaal Lascelles will surely follow. He will have  done his bit and no Newcastle supporter could then blame him for now looking after himself and leaving the Mike Ashley circus.

Mohamed Diame is out of contract next summer and will be 32 by then, so that is surely one current key first team player we can count out.

In addition, Rondon and Kenedy have no buying clauses and will return to their respective clubs.

By the end of September 2019 this would be the age profile of our squad:

30 Ciaran Clark, Ki Sung-yueng, Matt Ritchie, Martin Dubravka, Federico Fernandez

29 Joselu

28 Paul Dummett, Karl Darlow, Florian Lejeune, Dwight Gayle

27 Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey, Yoshinori Muto, Christian Atsu

26 Ayoze Perez, DeAndre Yedlin

25 Javier Manquillo

24 Isaac Hayden, Jacob Murphy

Suddenly we will have gone from people talking last season about Newcastle having a young improving side last season, to one that is ageing and almost certainly struggling.

If Newcastle stay up this season and are left with the above as the basis of our squad, with a new Pardew/McClaren type puppet brought in to replace a departed Rafa, then that has disaster written all over it.

If Rafa Benitez fails to overcome the massive obstacles put in his way by Ashley this time, then if Newcastle end up in the Championship, disaster might not come close to describing what could happen.

Very likely at least a few of the remaining better players would leave as well, Mike Ashley happy to bank more cash and get higher earners off the wage bill.

History has shown that the last thing you want if dropping down to the Championship is an ageing team/squad, stripped of the small group of better quality players. Just look at the Mackems last season.

If there is one small positive when looking at this, I just wonder if Mike Ashley is happy for this situation to unfold. The owner hoping Rafa does just enough to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League despite minus backing in the transfer market, then the owner selling up, knowing he has left a right mess behind him for unsuspecting new owners, with Benitez and Lascelles already having walked away?

This just makes it even more imperative for me that everything is done to convince Mike Ashley that he should genuinely put the club up for sale as soon as possible, sell it and let new owners and Rafa Benitez try to start and repair the damage in the January window, as well as of course investing in that crumbling infrastructure of training ground, academy and St James Park (none of those three areas included in Financial Fair Play rules on spending).

To feature like Phil Yates submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • mentalman

    Shock horror in a years time the players will be a year older.

    Scraping the barrell now trying to find ways to have a go at MA

    • Billmag

      You don’t have to scrape the barrel to have a go at fatty, history will tell you how much the barrel of lard has destroyed this club.

      • mentalman

        Exactly so why do we need an article criticising him for a player getting older

  • Sickandtired

    Or he does another McClaren. Rafa walks, in comes another donkey in his place, and the money which hasn’t been spent gets provided to him.

    • Down Under Mag

      I think is defiitely a likely scenario – Ashley doesn’t liek Rafa bceause he is adored by the fans and the owner, who “saved the club from financial ruin” gets no credit and is despised amongst th efanbase as a pantomime villain. I think it will give fatty the uttmost pleasure to see Rafa walk and then hand the new manager (a likely waste of space – but a yes man who the fans will despise) a hold load of cash with a big “I told you so” two finger salute to Rafa and the fans…

  • FatParosite

    Don’t fool yourself ‘The owner hoping Rafa does just enough to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League despite minus backing in the transfer market, then the owner selling up.’ Even if we go down Ashley has had plenty of practice getting the club to yoyo. Expect the same. However there will be a smattering of fake news of takeovers to keep the gullible happy.

  • ghostrider

    Yeah, let’s worry about the age of our squad next season.
    Ronaldo has just went for over 100 million to inter at age 33.

    It’s almost as if the ages of our players are bus pass close.

    • Dingus

      F**k you. Troll c**t

      • Leazes.

        Report him and block him.

        • ghostrider

          Already done it.

        • Dingus

          But then I won’t be able to call him/her/them c**ts. I enjoy this particular endeavour

          • Jezza

            Believe me, completely ignoring him will hurt him far more than calling him a c***.

          • Dingus

            I don’t want to hurt it. Its feelings are not remotely important to me. I believe most people are emotionally constipated and their inability to vent inhibits their ability to have an enjoyable life. These trolls, insignificant and harmless as they may be, offer me a way to express myself. To tell a c**t what a c**t they are. They’re helping me

          • Dingus

            Actually, one of the c**ts brought yourself in to conversation the other day. It said you’re a fat cross-dresser. Repeatedly. And you hadn’t been mentioned at all before it brought you up. The whole thing was quite bizarre. I think it has a thing for you

          • Jezza

            The troll and his brother have been actively trying to discredit for a long time now, ever since I exposed them for the Manchester glory seeker trolls with multiple posting ID’s that they are. Just a pair of sad pathetic non entities trying to brighten up their desperate, lonely, unfulfilled, frustrated, sex starved lives.

    • Emprex

      are you really comparing Ronaldo to any Newcastle Player?

      • ghostrider

        Did I compare Ronaldo to any Newcastle player?

        • Emprex

          Since you are commenting on an article about Newcastle’s ageing squad, making a reference to Rolando signing for another club for £100 million. In Context you were.. Very worry :/

          • ghostrider

            Nope, I was not comparing players to Ronaldo. I was using age of our squad against his age and the price he went for.

            What does that mean?
            It means that our squad is not old.

        • Dingus

          You suggested there is a Newcastle player on that list that could go for a sum reflective of Ronaldo’s beyond the age of 30. Troll c**t.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Juventus

      • ghostrider

        I hold my hands up. Thanks for putting me right.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          The real best player ever Ronaldo played for inter

          • ghostrider

            Aye.

  • Your mum

    I have said this before The ‘current’ model is unsustainable for Ashley, without Rafa, we would be down. Charnley will have told Ashley they the club will require investment in the next year or two and ashley knows that the clube cannot be sustained without investment. He knows he needs to sell the club this season o avoid losing money the following summer and the price of the club halving. IMO hanging onto the club for another season 18/19 is going to allow him to sell if for around £300m as he will have got the maximum amount of advertising from the club. As the players age, the value decreases, so it’s just a balancing act for him now, it’s all about getting out at the right time for him. But it needs to be this season or he will have to invest some cash.

    • ghostrider

      I disagree.
      The current model is more than sustainable.
      Also I do not buy into the relegation without Rafa, either.

      The issue is in what people think sustainable is.
      If it’s about gunning for top 4 then I agree the current model is not sustainable.

      If it’s to play among the also ran teams outside of the top 6 then this model is more than sustainable and even with a different manager to Rafa.

      However, the fans want better/more and Ashley is not prepared to throw money at the club.
      His best bet for his own sanity would be to leave and never run another football club again in this country, because he’s tarnished among fans.

      His best bet would be buying a cheaper foreign club and marketing from that club.

      I just hope that, if he does go, then we are taken over by owners who know what sustaining the club’s existence means, on top of any fan appeasement money they might put in, in order to curry favour.

      I just can’t help thinking there’s something not suite right about all this carry on though.

      I mean, on one hand Rafa can’t seem to walk. It’s as if he’s literally took so much time to sort his earlier contract that he omitted to put in it that he wants control of footballing matters and transfers.

      Then Ashley offers two deals which Rafa backs away from.
      then Rafa buys 2 players from Asia which fits Ashley’s marketing strategy and yet Ashley might walk?

      Or did Ashley/Charnley get those players behind Rafa’s back…but yet Rafa still can’t walk for constructive dismissal like Keegan got?

      Rafa omitted this even though he must have been well aware of the Keegan debacle and the entire club debacle.

      Something just doesn’t smell right.

      You know what I think?
      I think Rafa will sign a new contract.
      I think we’re getting played here.

      This is the new era.
      Rafa signs a 5 year deal and we buy a fair share of players from asia….etc.

      Just maybe….eh?
      Possible…..eh?

      Minutely feasible?…….eh?

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Eh how are you two talking 🤔 the acolytes on here say your the same person haha

        • ghostrider

          What?

          • SuperDesHamilton

            I can’t be bothered with you, you deliberately look for arguments. I’ve give you the benefit of the doubt a lot when people call you a troll. You aren’t a troll, you’re a P rick

          • ghostrider

            You’re quite entitled to your opinion.

    • Carverlier football

      You seem to know a lot about this. Out of curiousity, how are you on 00/01 squad numbers…?

  • NUFCLX

    The problem is we do not know how bad things are now. Suggest watching the TrueFaith blog on twitter with the Rangers fans. It opened my eyes up and I thought Fatman could not surprise me anymore.
    Support the Magpie Group, ignore the apologists, the fans can and will make a difference.

  • Desree

    51700 turned up sat. 250 stood outside a shop.

    Ashley has the club, fans and Rafa where he wants them.

    He has planned for a relegation. The club will make 280 m in two seasons. If he can stay up and sell Shelvey and Lascelles for 50m that is the transfer kitty sorted for another survival attempt.

    If we go down he will sell whoever he can and spend enough to get promotion.

    • Ben Jones

      I think it’s more likely he’s planned on maintaining last seasons position for minimal outlay to leave the club in the position where it has cash in bank, lots of money owed from past transfers, no money owing out, trimming squad(expenses) All to make the club an attractive proposition with near 200m a year turnover, all falls apart(the sale) if they look like they’re getting relegated and that being the case, as you point out, the funds will be there one way or another to get us back up.

    • Leazes.

      The numbers inside the ground aren’t Ashley supporters, who appear to be solely London based journalistas and PR peeps.

      I thought it was a good first turnout, the sentiments will gather momentum, and despite the moratorium on the event by Mark Denton. from BBC Look North we’ll have to do it without him…. so much for local news!

      • Ron

        A great turnout, but many there inspite of MA – def not because of MA

        • Leazes.

          Chris Waugh on the chronicle put up some nonsense about fans chanting for Rafa as a sign of their support for the regime. I don’t think he meant it to come out the way that it did…. that’s youth for you though.

          • Ron

            Deaf as well as blind.

  • Leazes.

    The owner isn’t going to sell the club I’m sure of that, where would he advertise his online marketing which accounts for the bulk of his sales (not his shops which appear to be no more than store rooms). The supposed sale was fake PR aimed at Journalists….

    It was Miles Starforth of the Shields Gazette who had said he had information about genuine buyout….. I think he was fed an insight by Bishop and the nonsense was fed into the media machine via him to keep the press sweet on the lack of spending.

    I think the local press have been dummied and nutmegged by Ashleys people for a decade, they are the weak link who supply the national media, they’ve still buying the story of ‘interested parties’ though ‘documents they’ve seen’… but won’t mention names……agt all.

    PS My apologies to Mark Douglas of the Chronicle for calling him a Blackburn Rovers fan…..I think I confused him with the papers editor, and as was correctly pointed out to me by a poster on here, he does say at his Book launch ‘Inside the Rafalution’ that he’s a Bradford City Fan…. my mistake.

    • TheFatController

      As we’ve discussed before, the stores act to market the brand, provide a place for returns and impulse purchases, as well as the store rooms as you rightly say.

      St James is the flagship store now, as its best marketing tool.

      The WeeGordonolution will just reduce the value of the marketing as championship games are now on quest so loads probably miss it – you were more likely to remember its on 5 as it was on your very first page of any channel list..

      • Leazes.

        He has made exponential profits on the online part…. he cant do without the advertising otherwise SD will contract…. he would have to buy another club, and I cant see that happening.

        His strategy is to string along the media and the fans….. that’s the reason Bishop was employed…. he martials the local press who are the easiest to get to because they are the hungriest.

  • 1957

    It’s a myth that the infrastructure is the reason for the failure of our academy. You could have the best academy facilities in the world and we’ll still not produce our own players as long as the we keep the poor quality coaching staff who work there. Not to worry though Pedro will be back soon to destroy a few more kids dreams of making the PL. Anyone who watched the u23’s on a regular basis would be in any doubt how poor a coach / manager he is (its like watching schoolboy football).

    If Alli had joined us he would have become a conference player not an England international

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Charnleys head is a waste, why’s it so massive when it’s got nowt in it. Wonder if he rattles when he shakes it

    • ghostrider

      Love him or hate him but he’s in a job for some reason and it isn’t because he’s got an empty head.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        He’s the lowest paid MD in the Premiership by a marianas trench maybe? He shuts his mouth & does as he’s told like a good lap dog

        • ghostrider

          he does what he’s paid to do, obviously. If he didn’t he would be sacked….right?
          The lowest paid MD you say.
          It means nothing about what’s inside his head.
          He’s paid a handsome wage.

          He’s paid more than top surgeons in many cases in this country. Are their heads empty?

          Many people would do Charnley’s job if they were capable and many would do it for even less than he works for.

          It’s extremely easy for any person to go on about people shutting their mouth and just being a yes person but the truth is 99% of working people under a boss of sorts will be yes people.

          If you weren’t you’d be out of a job. It really is as simple as that.

  • Dingus

    Soon as Rafael Benítez goes and Sam Allardyce takes charge, all of a sudden Ashley will be able to produce a positive net spend. This is so Ashley, who WILL still be owner, takes delight in antagonising Newcastle fans. And cue Sky Sports reporters giving it the old “Newcastle fans should be grateful, not protesting. They got exactly what they want.”

    Of course, this could all be different. But there are enough of you empty-headed, myopic f*ckpigs still going to games. When will you learn?

    • Leazes.

      He certainly has become adept at antagonism.

    • Ashley-out

      as soon as Rafa goes it`ll all fall apart & Newcastle will be relegated again.
      Rafa leaves next year then so will Lascelles & Shelvey, Rondon & Kenedy

      • ghostrider

        Players come and go, always.
        Newcastle United will always survive as long as there’s an owner who ensures it.
        Under Ashley we have that.
        Under a new one it would be a lottery.
        The last resort is a fan buyout but nobody seems interested.
        Why?
        Because maybe running a club is not the walk in the park that people think it is.

      • Dingus

        Facts, my man. Facts

        • Ashley-out

          i can`t see whats below i`ve blocked him so it must be an idiot

          • Dingus

            Affirmative

      • mentalman

        Lascelles and shelvey were at the club before rafa

        • Ashley-out

          i know they were, do you think they`ll hang around for another relegation battle with a puppet coach, that will be no

          • mentalman

            Depends if anyone else offers them more money, if not they’ll still be here

    • Kneebotherm8

      Ashley is saving his”pennies”for when Allardyce arrives………at the moment he is constructively forcing Benitez out………whilst crying that he’s got a contract offer on the table,an offer he knows a self respecting manager like Rafa will not take up……….a man too vocal for the FCB……..adios Rafa..

  • Jate Legend

    “Assuming nothing positive happens in the meantime…” stopped reading, pointlessly negative article again.

    • Jezza

      Absolutely right. There is so much pointless negativity from Newcastle fans these days. We have got loads of reasons to be positive. Come everybody. lets have your reasons for Newcastle fans to be positive. I’ll set the ball rolling straight away with a big positive. We made a bigger profit than the Mackems in the recent transfer window.

      • Milburn_Taylor

        there is nothing to be positive about with Newcastle in it`s current state

        • Jezza

          Agreed. Even our net transfer spend is negative. These are the darkest of times. The immediate future for our club is extremely bleak. We are being destroyed by a vile ogre.

      • Jate Legend

        My point was more that it’s pointlessly negative to assume that nothing positive is going to happen for an entire year, not that everything is hunky-dory in the Toon.

        • Danimal

          Nothing positive has happened in the previous eleven, so ‘an entire year’ isn’t really a stretch to most of our imaginations.

          • Jate Legend

            Right so that’s what I’m talking about. Nothing positive has happened? In the last year we’ve consolidated our status back in the prem with the best finish for a newly promoted team in 5 years, we beat man u, Chelsea and arsenal at home and went on a couple of runs where we played some good football. I’d like to see Ashley leave and someone with more ambition come in, and he’s made some terrible decisions over the years, but inferring from that that nothing positive has happened in eleven years and nothing positive will ever happen again is just over the top.

          • Danimal

            Of course there will be some ups as well as downs, that’s what keeps us hanging on. But the underlying trend is downscaling the ambitions and capabilities of our club.

  • Rob Brown

    My god, we are one game in. FFS take a happy pill

    • Ashley-out

      1 game, try 11 years of apathy, asset stripping, turning a premiership squad into a glorified championship one, zero investment in training facilities or the U23`s.
      1 game, try again.

      • ghostrider

        Plenty of investment, just not the big 30/40/50/60/70/80/90 millions that some fans expect.

        • Your mum

          The irony is, if ashley came in tomorrow and said there is £200m Rafa, spend it how you wish. People would still moan when they saw that the debt was £300+m and the club was up for sale for £500m. I’m not supporting Ashley in any way, but he is not a Sheikh, the buying of NUFC was a business decision and it has to be self sustaining for it to be successful. Unfortunately the circumstances in the footballing world changed and Ashley’s initial model was never going to work.

          • Ashley-out

            idiot and blocked.

          • Hughie_Gallacher

            What a pity we can’t block Richard Keys and Simon Jordan just as easily as the Manc trolls.

          • Ashley-out

            yes it is

          • ghostrider

            Excellent post.

          • Carverlier football

            I’d be satisfied with him just giving Rafa the surplus £75m or more we have right now, that the club has generated on it’s own. Oh, and 11 years of back dated SD advertising money…

          • cmrowley

            piffle

          • Your mum

            but true

          • cmrowley

            Nothing in that statement is true. From the false non ironic irony statement through the fictitious debt piffle all the way to the idea that there was a model in place and this model somehow had the rug pulled from under by football world changing.

            All, total and utter, piffle, nonsense, rubbish, claptrap, balderdash, blather and blether.

          • Danimal

            One hell of an ‘if’.

        • Ashley-out

          idiot and blocked

          • ghostrider

            No problem.

          • Leazes.

            Yes he is

          • Ashley-out

            blocked along with your mum

        • Westdentoon

          Have you seen the training/academy facilities by any chance?
          I’m involved in youth coaching and can tell you first hand we now lag considerably behind Sunderland & Boro in this area. These two clubs are now regularly chosen by talented Tyneside youngsters ahead of NUFC because of this.
          Rafa has cried out to bring us up to premiership standards and this also has been ignored.

          • ghostrider

            There’s lots of stuff that could be upgraded at the club.
            The training facilities may not be state of the art like some other clubs but they’re workable.
            That’s hardly a major issue as it stands but it can be addressed as and when, like other stuff.
            Maybe we have to see where Ashley’s mind lies on this and the club.

            As for Sunderland and Boro being chosen ahead of NUFC. Where did you get that info from?

            How about many youngsters feel they have a better chance at those clubs rather than a bigger club in Newcastle.

            It’s like saying York city are attracting more youngsters than Newcastle.
            Not every youngster can go to Newcastle…nor Boro or Sunderland…or anywhere else.

            As for Rafa crying out to bring the training facilities up to standard. Come on man, you’re making it out to be a lot worse than it actually is.
            What do you think we require?

          • X,WHY,Y MAN.

            This geezer has to be one of those Scandinavian creatures of Folklore people are talking about on here !

          • Westdentoon

            Where did I get that info from???
            I’ve seen it man with my own eyes, kids I’ve trained with, choosing these clubs over Newcastle as their parents were much more impressed with the set up elsewhere (boro especially). I’m not talking one or two either and there is a general acceptance emerging in North East youth football that NUFC is inferior for academy development for your child.
            Believe what you want but this is fact.
            There IS serious under investment in this area, like it or not.
            You seem incapable of accepting the wrongs at NUFC and if you feel a ‘workable’ training facility and academy is all we need then you are out of touch with the modern game.
            A solid academy and training facility is the bedrock of any successful club and Rafa knows this through working at the biggest clubs in the world. But hey you probably know better than him..

          • ghostrider

            Feel free to decide anything you want to as your fact.
            I’ll stick to what I said.

          • Westdentoon

            ‘Decide whatever i want as my fact’…??
            Wtf you talking about?
            I’m just telling it how it is, what I see regularly, so yes it is fact you t*t.
            No wonder you get called a troll every day!

            You are one of a few on here who can’t seem to take on board anybody else’s opinions or experiences & only you can be correct.

            Your blinded by an undying love of Ashley & I too will stick to what I say (& know).

          • jack

            Hes an idiot mate , just Block him

          • Danimal

            “As and when”. Is that Ashley-speak for ‘never’?…’other stuff’ = ‘running a football club in a reasonable fashion’?

          • X,WHY,Y MAN.

            Your not one of those “Wild-Bunch” are you lol

          • Westdentoon

            😂 now that’s a throwback to my youth!!

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Did George Best need the state of the art facilities no just a ball and a few blades of grass.

          • jack

            Idiot

          • Danimal

            Great point Monkfish. Perhaps we should get our youth players to kick an orange against a wall, they’d soon be up to the standard of the boys from Brazil.

          • Westdentoon

            Aye, but it’s not 1970 anymore encase you hadn’t realised!
            They used to use pig bladders for balls back in the day, maybe Ashley should sponsor an abattoir, might save a few quid on mitres!
            Dinasour.

        • cmrowley

          Since MA has been at NUFC, what has improved about the club? The investment you speak of, what was it and what was it invested in?

          • ghostrider

            When he first came he invested a few hundred million into the club. That is massive improvement right there.
            Then he invested in the team.

            Your mistake is in thinking spending more than you make is some kind oof investment. It’s not unless you make something from it.

            That’s investment.
            Unless you want to explain what investment is.

          • cmrowley

            What did he invest a few hundred million into? do you mean when he bought the club?

            What did he invest in the team? (in response to your statement ‘then he invested in the team)

            What mistake have I made? I asked you a question. I can’t have made a mistake can I?

            As the saviour of NUFC, what is the tangible improvement you think MA has brought to the club.

          • Jezza

            Don’t feed the troll, marra. He is not a Newcastle supporter. He is a Manchester glory seeker who infests this forum purely to antagonise people and provoke a reaction because he’s got nothing else to do in his sad, empty, pathetic, unfulfilled, sex starved life. Don’t give him the satisfaction. Just block him.

          • ghostrider

            The improvement he’s made in NUFC is filling the stadium and having the club beg to nobody and nobody seeing this club as their rich pickings for peanuts when trying to steal our better players.

            And we are still able to play in the premier league…although these days I’d argue whether it’s a blessing or a curse with the way it’s run on a massive unfair basis.

          • cmrowley

            I’ll give you credit for trying… I’m not sure how to label what you have done, I think you have set up strawmen but I’m not sure…

            Was the ground empty before MA? – no, so this can be thrown away
            Was the club begging anybody before MA? – no, so this can be thrown away
            Was the club selling players for peanuts prior to MA? – no, so this can be thrown away

            We played in the PL for what, 15 years or so prior to MA arriving, and in the 11 years since he arrived we’ve been relegated twice? How are you even thinking this is someway a positive?

            As none of the above is an actual real improvement, do you want to try again?

      • Mirandinha9

        Also try:

        – A wage structure which has gone up only 20% per man since 2008
        – 2 relegations, many near misses and only twice in the top 10 in 11 years
        – 6 consecutive defeats to 5under1and
        – Perennial early cup exits
        – Ill treatment of club icons
        – Changing name of SJP
        – Wonga as sponsors

        The failures are endless – mind despite this negativity, ‘I love it, love it’ the image of Cashley in the article. It’s the type of face he pulls when he hears that Che Onwurah has been trying to get in touch with him!

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    You are absolutely correct. As I said the other day, we will not truly appreciate the damage Ashley has done to this club until he is gone.
    That applies to off pitch activities as well as the playing side.

    • ghostrider

      There is no damage.
      When he’s gone, only then will you appreciate the actual good he done if a real bad owner comes in.

      Make no mistake. Ashley saved this club from a fate much much much worse than any fan can think this club is under.

      • cmrowley

        What was the fate much much much worse than we’ve endured under MA?

        Worse than existence as a yo yo club? multiple relegation’s, perpetual relegation battles in the top league? consistent weakening of the squad? reduction in revenue streams? decreased spending on staff and wages in a a time of record revenues?, no investment in infrastructure? massive debt (!!)? no board to run the club? the club fractured into multiple entities (to ensure any potential buyer walks away)? Constructive dismissal of managers, employment of puppet managers… I could go on.

        “Make no mistake. Ashley saved this club from a fate much much much worse than any fan can think this club is under”
        Back that up, please explain.

        • Ben Jones

          Picture the scene, club finished 5 points off relegation in a season where outgoings exceeded income by 33m with a maxed out overdraft , player trading deficit and external debt costing 7m a season interest only with a squad worth maybe 70m on high contracts, where does the club go from there?

          The only mystery is why ashley didn’t wait till administration before he stepped in ala HoF, to pay what he did for the club has always baffled me, it was worthless at best

      • Albert albert

        Fool

    • Dutch

      Absolutely spot on. Ashley needs to go quickly before it becomes irreparable. He has totally ruined the club. HOF will go the same way no doubt.

      • ghostrider

        No, he hasn’t ruined the club.
        Let me tell you what he did do for people to think like yourself.

        He came into the club as a BILLIONAIRE at a time when very few sugar daddies were active in the footballing world.

        He took over from owners who offered the fans one trophy signing at a time whilst paying over the hill players huge wages that were literally unsustainable but the fans didn’t care as long as they got the trophy signing.
        Even Sir Bobby Robson who had the club 5th was not afforded patience. The fans ( a portion) wanted more because they were expectant now, not hopeful…and Shepherd and his borrowing wasn’t an issue with those fans. Money was no object….until the reality sunk in.

        Enter Ashley.. The fans friend….the (at the time) saviour and the man who was going to take the club up to the dizzy heights and blow most of the rest out of the water.

        That’s what moist of us thought….me included.

        One pint too many and he went and done something really silly. He thought the fans would benefit from having a messiah back for a second stint, in Keegan.

        Of course, not many were begging for that but what the hell, eh? It was Keegan and Ashley was billionaire. Keegan could buy the fans the presents they dreamed of and Keegan could buy the dreamy players he most likely believed he could.

        BANG….and the rest is a mixture of anything and everything good bad and absolute ugly with many fans on Ashley.

        It’s easy to forget the state the club was in when later focus is firmly on hatred and bile for one man or anyone that befriends/backs that man.

        It’s a funny old world.

        • Steve Smith

          What state was the club in? High (comparitive to the competition) revenues with high wages?

          Compared to what now? Low revenue and still high playing wage ratios?

          At least before the fans were treated with respect and shown ambition.

          We have the same issues that you claim we had pre Ashley but now no ambition and only contempt offered by the regime.

          If Ashley is doing such a great job in the grand scheme of things, why aren’t the Brightons, Bournemouths, Fulhams of the world struggling with their inflated wage bills?

          • ghostrider

            The Brightons, Bournemouths, Fulhams etc, will struggle with inflated wage bills.

            Brighton and Bournemouth will collapse like a pack of cards in short order.
            Fulham will depend on their owner to bail them out until ffp kicks in and drags them under.

            The noose is tightening around many of the pretender clubs.
            A few years down the line, keep a watch on what I’ve just said about them.

            It’s a conveyor belt of hand outs to the chancers to chance with and then fall flat.

            Ashley can see it and he’s not stupid enough to go overboard to achieve basically little to nothing extra.

          • Steve Smith

            It’s been 7 years. The noose doesn’t even appear to be around their necks.

            The tv companies won’t allow their cash cows to struggle. The money from tv and other deals will keep flowing and allow them to spend.

            The fans Everton and Bournemouth will be served caviar and Kobe beef. Ashley will keep serving up rice and beans while Muppets keep singing his praises.

          • Westdentoon

            Meanwhile Bournemouth also invest millions in a state of the art training facility to hopefully cement future success for them..

          • Danimal

            And good players and soon a new stadium.

          • ghostrider

            So Bournemouth, Brighton and Fulham have been in the premier league for 7 years apiece have they?

          • Steve Smith

            Neither have we… If you recall we’ve spent 2 years outside of the top flight during Ashley’s “successful” tenure.

            Substitute Bournemouth, Brighton and Fulham for any of the remaining ever present premier league clubs and try your argument again if you want to play the move the goalposts game.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Who are you comparing us to? We had a 72% wage to turnover ratio, that was considered high. Compare with Tottenham, there’s was 42%.

            Higher ratios than Tottenham’s are tolerated as normal now as TV is the largest income for most clubs and a bigger % of turnover

          • Wezza

            Because we don’t have a high wage bill. In fact it is the lowest it has been in quite some time.

        • cmrowley

          What do you think he bought the club for?

          • ghostrider

            To make it successful and to use it as a tool to market his other brand.
            A marriage made in heaven as the initial thought may have been.

            What do you think he bought it for?

          • cmrowley

            Which one of the companies (NUFC or SD) has been successful during this symbiotic relationship.

            Do you think MA has made NUFC successful?

          • ghostrider

            It depends on what you mean by successful. Seriously.

            If you mean, has he won us the premier league, then no.
            If you mean, has he got us into the champions league, then no.
            If you mean we haven’t got to a cup final or won one, then no.

            To be honest he’s not a successful premier league owner….but how many owners are?

            Now here’s something else.

            We’ve won the championship title twice.
            We did finish 5th in the premier league one time.
            We did produce a manager of the YEAR in the same season.
            We’ve managed to almost fill the stadium just about every time in league games doing all of the above.

            Is that success?
            It depends on how you view the club.

            Let me explain.

            There’s lower league clubs that win titles and promotions throughout the seasons up and down the leagues and not quite getting to the premier league.
            Is the owner of that club deemed a success… or the manager?

            Or is success only down to gaining something when in the premier league?

            If you think Newcastle United are more entitled to be successful in the premier league just because, then fair enough.
            If you think Ashley has been the devil for this club and can’t see past that, then fine. That’s your mindset.

            As for me, I look on success as the excitement of winning something and at the time of doing it so I can revel in it in a feel good way for as long as it lasts, until I place it in the memory bank to bring up as time goes on.

            I could bring up the time when we got pipped by Man Utd for the title but the thing is, that wasn’t excitement.
            Imagine that.
            Finishing second created no feel good factor for me. It wasn’t a success. In fact it depressed me in as much of a way as relegation did.

            Seems weird doesn’t it…but I didn’t see success.
            Then there’s the FA cup finals that we lost.

            The excitement before the game with the potential for success and yet I felt like we’d been relegated 10 leagues when we lost.
            Success?…..Nahhhhhh…not for me.

            1969 fairs cup?
            Now we’re talking. That was success. All I have to do is search my memory banks to bring that up.
            But I can’t. I can’t because I wasn’t old enough to register what it was all about and have to rely on footage and media, plus the stories of the older generation as my latched on success for my club.

            But we had some exciting times under other owners…right?
            I agree, we did. But we also had them under all owners…including Ashley.

            The problem starts when the dislike/hatred for one person becomes a focal point rather than anything feel good about the club/team/squad achievements.

            Hero to zero in short order was/is Ashley.
            It’s like meeting a new friend who makes you laugh like hell every time that friend is around but then you fall out with that friend and suddenly their jokes become cringeworthy in your company because you trained your hatred/dislike onto that person to the point where anything funny is replaced by your own barrier against it.

            And to cap it all off.
            One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

            In terms of success, go and ask non league fans what they think of their clubs success at winning a promotion or winning a so called small fry trophy.
            Their club is their giant and their players are their darlings.
            Their owner who ensures they have a club is likely a passing thought.

            Any cup they have will be cheerfully bragged about.

            When someone harpoons a person and drags them into a stadium with instructions to support and be a fanatical follower of a club against their will, then there’s one hell of a lot to moan about.

            However, if people choose to do it all unconditionally and without force, then the life of that fan will be strewn with every type of emotional mixture that goes with the choice of being that fanatical supporter.

            You make your own success in your own mind at every opportunity in terms of feel good factors. One Man Utd win is a success.
            Thrashing Man Utd or another elite is a success.

            But any win is a feel good success factor.
            Would one FA cup in the cabinet put Mike Ashley into the most successful owner category since the 50’s?

            What about 2nd in the premier league?
            Would the fans be appeased?
            How about getting through the group stages of the champions league under Ashley?

            Imagine just one of them in one season, eh?
            Success?
            What about Ashley?…..Would it be all quiet on the north east front?
            How long before the bile rears its ugly head?

            Just enjoy the now and live in the hope you’ve always done as a fan, regardless.
            One day we will win something again. It may not be the trophy you dreamed of but like I said earlier….success is success, no matter what is won.

          • Danimal

            I think, as you say, he bought it to make it successful and promote his brand. Until Ashley/Newcastle, it had widely been assumed that sports/brand partnerships only worked if the sport part was successful, the positivity rubbing off on the image of the brand. Sadly for us, Ashley discovered he could get his brand into the UK public consciousness by running a car crash of a football club, as his product was low end and the vast majority of his target market couldn’t give a toss about the fortunes of Newcastle United. Since that discovery, he has taken great pleasure in stripping our club of any pride, future success or fun, bit by bit.

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      The Mag should introduce a system whereby a certain ratio of down to up votes will result in the post’s deletion. A certain number of deletions will result in the poster’s IP address being blocked.
      The trolls would soon go elsewhere, out on the streets to mug someone, or campaign for the re-introduction of slavery in the UK (with Ashley as slavery Tsar). Whatever takes their fancy.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Do you really think that’s a good idea? There are a lot of sheep on here who can’t think for themselves.

        If you were around in 1988, the Mag was published with Gazza ‘laughing all the way to the bank’ on the front cover – the caption was ‘the independent voice’. As soon as any forum decides to restrict independent voices, they go downhill very quickly.

      • Steve Smith

        Censorship is the prerogative of Ashley.

      • Danimal

        That sounds like bullying, to be fair. I like to take the p1ss out of some people’s posts and sometimes their attitudes (genuine or otherwise) annoy me intensely but I’m not interested in censorship and creating an echo chamber.

      • Garry Norman

        Sounds like to sort of idea you’d see in North Korea or China…..

  • BanJones

    I’ve been saying exactly this for a while to anyone who will listen, the fan base will be toxic when Rafa is forced out – the fatman left with a low calibre manager and a relegation threatened club his jumble sale signage being seen by less and less people on TV.

    • Down Under Mag

      As long as he is still raking in the TV money he won’t care. That unfortunately is the problem.

  • Down Under Mag

    I remember a time when we could come on here and have half-sensible conversations about footballing matter and discuss the players, manager, club etc. Now all this site seems to be is a constant spouting of negativity, name calling and obvious trolls with such sad lives they have nothign better to do than go on fan forums and wind people up to try and give themselves meaning. Such a sad state of affairs!

    • Milburn_Taylor

      the trolls have spoilt the Mag but if everyone took action then they would have no one to wind up, it`s up to the real fans on here to block them

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      As you say, discussing various matters is spot on. Different opinions and debate is good.

      The trolls are those who just post insults, childish clipart etc.

      • Garry Norman

        Has anyone noticed the “trolls” are the ones putting reasonable , non-biased , deabatable points/topics, but because they don’t toe the “Ashley will destroy the Earth” line they get branded as trolls and abused?
        Is it so hard to ignore a comment you disagree with, or reply without it getting personal?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Exactly, as someone who has been called a troll on here many a time, I do find it a bit strange why my evidence – based debating style seems to cause a problem with those who prefer to just create ingenious was to get around the sweary-blocker.

          • Ashley-out

            you are a troll

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            There you go!

          • jack

            And he reneges on his bets too

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’ll be honouring my bets, Nott’s has arranged to contact me to receive his winnings.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Well done, found the bet, I’ll pay when and how you like. I’ll be at city away next, will you be there?

        • Danimal

          Reluctantly, I feel Bobbi F actually believes in what he posts. But when you use the word ‘reasonable’ to describe the obviously provocative Ashley-worshipping ramblings of Clarko and Monkfish…

          • Down Under Mag

            I think a difference of opinion is what football is all about – however, there are definitely those on here who go out of their way to be abusive and look to wind people up just for a laugh. i think it’s quite sad that they have so little else in their lives they have to get their kicks by trying to ruin things for others. I subscribe to the philosophy that if I wouldn’t say it to someones face then don’t write it online… but the keyboard warriors seem to think they can do or say anything they want without repercussions.

          • Garry Norman

            Which goes for both sides of the discussion. I’ve been labelled both a troll and an Ashley apologist in the recent past for having an opinion that isn’t part of the herd. Like the house of commons thing being embarrassing.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Lots of ifs, Buts & maybes here, So what is the point ?

  • JohnnyH

    Taken from the PL website;

    ‘The distribution of broadcast and central income to Clubs supports them in their efforts to develop and acquire talented players, build and improve stadiums, and support communities – all things that fans enjoy and from which society benefits.

    The collective and central nature of the way the Premier League markets rights and distributes income to Clubs allows the League and its members to support the entire football pyramid and a range of community programmes and good causes.

    The scale of Premier League support and investment in the wider game, and in communities and schools, is unprecedented in the world of professional sport.’

    Behind this somewhat vague undertaking, you would assume there are more rigorous standards t be applied on how the money is dispersed. This begs the question, to what extent do the PL audit what happens to the tv money, as I would speculate there is scant evidence of any accountable investment by the fat one with the millions he’s received, regarding any of those noble causes in the extract above.

    The Mag group should do some digging to try and get rid of the fat cockney scumbag and his trolls who infest this site.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      What do you think has happened to the TV money?

      Given in the last 10 years has seen money go in, not out, I don’t expect to a big change in 2018.

      • Danimal

        It’s partially plugged the gap created by us being the only PL club with diminishing commercial income, due to Ashley’s neglect.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Not exactly true though we have better profitabilty on our commercial enterprise now.

          • toonsteve

            Have we outsourced our declining sponsorship revenue?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s not declined as far as I can see. Sure, it would be £2-3m higher if SD were invocied as a premier league side. It’s not clear but SD may well have paid £500k for the 9 months of the Championship season

          • toonsteve

            If that is true it should have been disclosed as a related party transaction (which it wasn’t). However, given the auditors passed the dubious policy of bringing forward wages costs from future periods, I suspect they would let that one ride too!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            There was a related party reference in both our accounts and Sports Direct. In SD. it referred to £500k referencing promotional and advertising services. This may or may not be our perimeter advertising and may be a red herring. Also note, SD’s accounts do not span the same period as NUFC.

            The “dubious policy of bringing forward wages ” is not that dubious as it takes the prudent view. It Will be interesting as to how that makes 2018 look.

          • toonsteve

            Not seen it done at any other club. I suspect it was the main cause of the delay in filing the accounts – auditors wanted ensue that the specific players did not appear in the 2017/18 season. It also raises the question, are the players who the right off applies to know that they re deemed worthless.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s almost certainly (IMHO) that the provision was thrown in to take all the hit in the championship season. 2018 should look great in the accounts and by the Autumn, very cash rich.

            I think it’s all done to sweeten a sale. I don’t think the provision is allowable for tax, it’s certainly the prudent thing to do but as you say, not many football clubs are so prudent

          • toonsteve

            More likely done to create the illusion that we couldn t compete in the latest transfer market. It would take a buyer with Ashley”s dd incompetence to expect them not to adjust the 2018 numbers for the 2017 provision.

            I wonder what audit test Grant Thornton used to verify the right off.

            “0bserve player x and confirm he couldn t hit a cow s a**e with a banjo?”

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It may have needed just a chat with Rafa, even a statement that players with annual salaries of £20m have no future at the club with no resale value.

            Whilst you are right, the new owner may see this for what it is but if it’s Stavely’s group, a nice set of books in 2018, 19, 20 & 21 would make the club seems super valuable if they looked to sell on and make a reasonably quick & large profit.

            I really don’t think it has anything to do with not competing in the transfer market, that was more likely all about keeping the cash on the balance sheet, again, attractive to a group like, dare I say it, Staveley’s lot.

          • toonsteve

            Orher than Ashley, i m not overly familiar with corporate buyers who would be hoodwinked by this. Though i m sure they exist. Not sure it will benefit the average fan if Ashley manages to offload at a profit and we all have to endure this nonsense under a new owner who tells us they were conned by Ashley.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m not suggesting this set of buyers will be hoodwinked. However, a few years down the line, if you are presenting a business that makes good profits over continuous periods, the fact that the profits of year 2018 & 2019 are £10m overstated may just get a little lost in 5 years time.

          • toonsteve

            I thought he claimed it was up for sale a year ago. Are we expecting a 5 year sales process? That would suggest his price is unrealistic. That s a lot of Wip for his advisors – i guess they re not on a contingent fee!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            All we know is the asking price is more than £250m

          • toonsteve

            Do we? I m not sure. But we ve probably bored the t*ts off anyone who s reading this!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s the only offer that was formally rejected.

            As for being boring, it beats reading how some idiot has threatened to block me after they have forgotten they said they blocked me last week.

          • toonsteve

            Had a debate toneet in the pub comparing the Nufc siuation with liverpool. We came to the conclusion that nufc had gone into administration (as lfc) without formally going into admin, then we would be in much better shape. What s your view?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Definitely, it’s still a mystery why Ashley paid anything significant for the club.

            At Liverpool, the bank, RBS forced new owners and it was a very similar situation. Ashley only had to wait to pick the club up for peanuts and clear the debts. He’d have had £100m plus to spend on players.

            We were a PLC so stock market rules may have stopped Barclays from forcing change but Barclays had already put a team in at Nufc when Polygon pulled out of any investment in January 2007.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s not a specific provision so the individual will not need to know.

    • Wezza

      Good find. So basicly, Ashley isn’t doing with the PL money what it is meant for which should at least raise a few eyebrows. However, due to the nature of the FA and the obscene level of corruption, I expect NOTHING to be done.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    Have you seriously just written an article based on the notion that this time next year, we’ll all be one year older?

    • Ben Jones

      I’ve extrapolated it to 5 years time and it seems like there’s a trend & the picture looks even worse

      • Danimal

        While Bob has made a fairly amusing comment and you have copied him, the serious point is that realistically the ageing squad won’t be enhanced by an influx of new, young, quality players. All the recent evidence suggests anything but.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I read somewhere that Brighton and Huddersfield’s player will not age, they are the Peter Pan of the epl

  • Wor Lass

    So, Phil, were you one of the many people clamouring for Fatty to break his embargo on signing older players? let`s bash him by all means but keep it consistent.

  • 52k

    Geordies….turkeys voting for Xmas. Same old same old

  • Desree

    51700 turned up sat. 2500 stood outside a shop.

    Ashley has the club, fans and Rafa where he wants them.

    He has planned for a relegation. The club will make 280 m in two seasons. If he can stay up and sell Shelvey and Lascelles for 50m that is the transfer kitty sorted for another survival attempt.

    If we go down he will sell whoever he can and spend enough to get promotion.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      It started with two hundred outside the shop by Friday it will be 20,000 and none in the ground.

      • Guest

        It looked like a bunch of socialists.

        • Superdooperhooper

          So? Better than a bunch of ghastly braying Tories wearing hunting pinks and blowing bugles . Sky sports said 2000 BTW

          • Guest

            Ay cause sky sports tell the truth.

          • Danimal

            Even Fascist Murdoch-owned Sky don’t lazily use the term ‘socialist’ as an insult. Prat. I’m using that as an insult, just to be clear.

          • Superdooperhooper

            No they don’t tell the truth. BTW Monkseaton making up guest accounts to agree with your own posts? Not cool dude

        • Danimal

          What?

          • Guest

            It looked like a bunch off embarrassing people. Makes me laugh people standing outside a sports shop protesting about Mike Ashley.

          • Wezza

            What makes me laugh is a non Newcastle supporter trolling here daily along with his brother and occasionally senile father.

          • Will In Despair!

            Obviously that have major problems, it’s like having a stalker! Lol.

    • Guest

      2500?! Sounds like BBC reporting that. Try 500 if that.

    • ghostrider

      Ashley has most likely planned for relegation but not as a given. He’s not so stupid as to believe it cannot happen and needs a contingency plan.
      He’s also acutely aware that certain fans can disrupt the harmony of the manager and players and create a toxic environment for all, potentially resulting in relegation.

      • Danimal

        Ohhhhh, the fans are to blame for the two relegations. Thanks for clearing that up.

        • ghostrider

          They can certainly play a massive part.

  • Mike

    House of Fraser Debenhams and sports direct crash in a year’s time CAshley goes bust ….please santa

  • Spoon_Army

    I think there are many clubs outside the top 6-8 that basically work to a 6 month rolling plan. There are no guarantees in staying in the PL for these clubs.
    We are one of them. It’s part and parcel of the game.
    Even clubs like Bournemouth and Huddersfield who are streets ahead in terms of ambition compared to us will still sail close to the wind of relegation

    • ghostrider

      Bournemouth and Huddersfield are not streets ahead in terms of ambition.
      To have ambition there must be a goal to achieve.
      Tell me what goal Bournemouth and Huddersfield are set on achieving and then marry it up with what we’re doing.

      The premier league is a league where the elites use cannon fodder clubs to keep their elite status high. That’s the basic reality.

      Watch what happens to all the so called ambitious clubs trying to chase the track hares and spending everything they have on mediocre players for ridiculous fees and wages in the mistaken belief that one day they will catch one…only to find themselves back down the leagues trying to survive.

      • Will In Despair!

        We’ve never had ambition, sadly, this has been crystal clear from day one!

        Regardless of which way the term is used, Newcastle United has been a club with zero ambition for over a decade!

        • ghostrider

          When we finished 5th, was that just a freaky fluke?
          When Ashley brought in Keegan, was that not him showing ambition?
          Was employing Rafa not showing ambition?

          It’s fairly difficult to determine what ambition actually is, isn’t it….unless you can tell me what this club should be doing to be classed as ambition whilst ensuring we don’t create a monster that gobbles the club up..

      • Spoon_Army

        Clubs like Bournemouth and Huddersfield remember where they came from and have collective ambition to try and be better than they ever dreamed. Everyone associated with club pulls together…like Leicester did a few years ago. They know their limitations, they know the risks but still try. It gives their fans hope but realistic expectations. Better to go down fighting than be scared and play it safe. That in my opinion is the difference between us and them. We don’t have the ambition or fight to even try and be better than where we have come from. Everything about NUFC is just to stand still and play it safe.

        Portsmouth and Wigan are scrapping down in the lower leagues to survive but they both have a trophy their fans will cherish for the rest of their days. They caught the track hare and it’s a feeling I’m unlikely to know in my lifetime. I’m jealous.

        Not interested in the money side. I’m a football fan. Not an accountant.

  • Superdooperhooper

    Just seen an article on the daily star website – HoF distribution centre stops deliveries in contract dispute with ashley. Not only that but someone called ghostrider commented on it saying the toffs won’t shop there now that spiv barrow boy has taken over . Must be a different ghostrider !

    • Danimal

      Not like Ashley to cause a dispute, how could this have happened?

      • Superdooperhooper

        Apparently he wouldn’t agree to the conditions of the original contract already in place and wanted one that was vastly in his favour instead. Hard to believe isn’t it?

    • ghostrider

      I’ve never said anything of the sort.

    • Will In Despair!

      Are we surprised, No!

      Once he has control/ownership, its minimum wages for all the 0dious goit can get away with, with more to follow I’d expect, not great for the employees!

  • Down Under Mag

    Take a look at the BBC’s article discussing clubs who could effectively sustain themselves on empty stadiums. It’s a sobering reality that fans are literally so far down the pile of influences in football it is quite depressing with an owner like Ashley. We don’t feature, but I guarantee this is not the reality – we have all our bonuses, signings on fees and agent fees put into wages so it looks like we have higher amounts than we actually do, I would like to see comparisons of a level playing field across clubs…

    • ghostrider

      No club can sustain itself on an empty stadium.
      Most clubs could see out a season doing it but that would be the end of them as a club.
      Without the fans a club is literally nothing. Seriously, it is nothing.

      There’s a big big reason why bigger names build bigger stadiums and it isn’t just for more spacious emptiness.

      • Danimal

        My God, I agree. Going for a lie down. Or a stiff drink.

  • Martin

    I think a significant proportion of the hard core of support may walk away with Rafa. The problem is that because match revenue through ticket sales is increasingly less important, Ashley would always have the option of slashing prices to fill the stadium, particularly in certain parts of the ground. This is why personally I think boycotts will not work. However, protests that affect Sports Direct and the House of Tat could be very effective.