A number of dubious media stories have come out in the last few days as the cold war between Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley hots up in advance of transfer deadline.

Rafa isn’t shy of using the press himself, as he tries to get things done properly at Newcastle United.

However, when Mike Ashley and his PR sidekick Keith Bishop (pictured above) are on the move, they are simply looking to mislead and spin, to muddy the waters and confuse people. They don’t necessarily need to totally convince fans/public, it is enough to just put doubt there in many/most cases.

One person who has regularly ran stories on Newcastle United from an ‘informed’ perspective, is Matt Hughes at The Times.

Many times he has written stuff that appears to most Newcastle fans to have been fed by Ashley’s PR sidekick, one example you can see below.

Back in October 2017, backing up the idea that Mike Ashley was supposedly serious about selling Newcastle United, Matt Hughes claimed as fact that aside from Amanda Staveley’s group, Mike Ashley had ‘Three separate groups of potential investors conducting due diligence at Newcastle United.’

Most Newcastle fans have come to accept it is simply a lie that Mike Ashley has any intention of selling up, the owner gaining so many benefits from his ownership. Ashley has claimed a number of times NUFC is up for sale but clearly that hasn’t been the case, if he had been serious then the club would have been sold by now – it being 10 years since he first claimed Newcastle United was up for sale and he supposedly wanted out. If indeed there have been any approaches to buy, Mike Ashley has obviously priced the club out of any chance of selling.

If there had indeed been people seriously looking to buy last October and going so far as doing due diligence, according to Matt Hughes, why was there never any follow up(s) about why a sale hadn’t happened? If indeed three parties had been bothered enough to get to due diligence, they must surely have already known the ballpark figure Mike Ashley was asking, and to be seriously interested in buying the club. It is very far-fetched to then believe that all three interested bidders lose interest for no apparent reason.

The latest this weekend from Matt Hughes (Keith Bishop???), claims a reason for Rafa Benitez not getting any transfer budget, is due to Mike Ashley wanting to sell Newcastle United…

I think we have all heard this somewhere before.

Hughes claims that Ashley doesn’t want to commit to buying players by instalments, as every other club does, because then any sale  would see a buyer demanding the money still owed to be knocked off the selling price.

What a load of rubbish.

Money committed to transfers isn’t money down the drain (hopefully!), it is used to buy something that then becomes an asset of the club you are buying.

Take the example say of Liverpool, who bought Mo Salah for £35m last summer. Say if Liverpool still owe£15m or £20m now, would a buyer of their club be expecting to get it for cheaper overall now, because of money still owed on Salah? Not only the player’s value having increased in these 12 months but also what he has contributed in that time to make the club more valuable.

Similarly, go back to the days when Newcastle actually bought players, 22 years after the event and in these past 11 years Mike Ashley has still failed to even match the £15m that was paid for Alan Shearer. Back then, if Newcastle had sold Newcastle United in the weeks and months after buying Shearer, do you think a buyer would believe he’d be entitled to a discount because Newcastle still owed £5m or whatever on the NUFC legend?

Matt Hughes also claims: ‘To compound matters, Ashley has had little choice other than to accept fees for sales in instalments.’ This is rubbish, there is no reason why Mike Ashley (a billionaire just in case you have forgotten) couldn’t have insisted that say Fulham (also owned by a billionaire) paid all the money up front for Mitrovic. To get the deal done it might then have meant a sale price of say £18m or £20m instead of £22m, but no reason why that couldn’t have happened, it is purely Mike Ashley choosing that this is how things are done, he isn’t forced to do it.

No amount of PR spin via friendly journalists can convince otherwise.

The intention surely here is to put that bit of doubt in people’s minds, to get some thinking/believing that not allowing spending  on essential Rafa signings is somehow justified, or even a good thing as it will (supposedly) help the club to get sold.

Matt Hughes writing in The Times:

“Rafael Benítez’s difficulty in getting Newcastle United to spend significant sums in the transfer market this summer has been exacerbated by owner Mike Ashley’s insistence on paying all fees up front, which is highly unusual in the Premier League, where spreading payments over instalments is standard practice.

“Ashley is reluctant to follow this model because it could affect the club’s value in the event of a sale, with interested buyers likely to deduct any liabilities from their offer price.

 “To compound matters, Ashley has had little choice other than to accept fees for sales in instalments, leading to the unusual situation where Newcastle could make an accounting loss on player trading in this window despite agreeing to sell them for fees that will eventually bring in more than £40 million.”

The Mag – 7 October 2017:

There has also been claims that the NUFC stories emanating from The Times headquarters in London, are likely to be the work of Mike Ashley PR goon Keith Bishop feeding the story/stories to the London based journalist.

Matt Hughes writing in The Times:

“There are three separate groups of potential investors conducting due diligence at Newcastle United in addition to PCP Capital Partners, which is run by Amanda Staveley, who held informal talks with club officials at St James Park last weekend.

“Unlike PCP, the other interested parties have signed non-disclosure agreements and are pushing for a quick deal, ideally before the next Premier League TV rights package is completed in February, which they all expect to have an inflationary effect.

Mike Ashley, the owner, also wants a quick sale as he is keen to avoid an outlay in the January transfer window on an asset of which he is in the process of disposing, having conceded that Newcastle’s squad requires strengthening.”

  • Lord

    So paying for players in instalments will devalue the offer price in the event of a sale will it?

    And how will another relegation battle and loss of a world class manager improve that price? 🤔

  • Paul Patterson

    Expect more smoke and mirrors leading up to 5pm on Thursday and then beware the sting in the tail with Lascelles or Shelvey being primed for a move. I’m amazed the spin merchants even waste their time putting stuff out that genuine Newcastle fans will see though instantly.
    Newcastle United exists purely for the benefit of Ashley and S****s D****t . .

  • Leicester Mag

    I’m in tears so upset at the tragic position Ashley finds himself maybe Geldof could re-write feed the world after all Mike probably shifts about the same amount of food as a small village. We live in a world where disinformation, alternative truths now are the norm. As someone who owns a small business I can recommend may be Mike needs to contact my accountant as I’ve been able to offset against guaranteed income to avoid a technical loss. This is a crock of 🐴💩. Ears may deceive but eyes seldom do. Fans can see the truth and know this malignant and malevolent parasite needs removing. To me we may be approaching the end game. This frenzy of counter briefing is triggered because the truth hurts and becoming harder to keep the con going. Rafa or no Rafa while Ashley remains so will the lies and malpractice

    • Leazes.

      Absolutely, fake news, misinformation, disinformation, deflection, PR spin, ‘Bigging-up’….. it all worked for Hall and Shepherd as well…. but they needed compliance and they got it….

      …..this is what Graham Porter refers to as ‘the politics surrounding the club’ but I call the ‘lie machine’ and its perpetrated by bought out journalists.

      The Mag is no different with ‘fake writers’ and ‘false sentiment’…. I wonder if Mag writer Jack Lacey Hatton(44 articles) has changed the picture on his facebook account yet, you know the one on his masthead with his Man United shirt on!

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Leazes thinks 9/11 was an inside job & Reptilian monarchs rule the world though, David icke of Newcastle

        • FatParosite

          Isn’t that a conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theorist?

          • SuperDesHamilton

            You’ll have to ask the expert. Once he takes the tin foil hat off of course

          • Brian Standen

            Isn’t that like someone who deals in stolen fence posts being a Fence Fence ?

    • Leicester Mag

      As was once said of Lord Mountbatten and equally true of Ashley if he swallowed a nail he’d 💩 a corkscrew

    • FatParosite

      I think Ashley knows he can keep repeating the trick ad infinitum. 21k at another home loss friendly backs that assumption up.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    So now buying players will decrease the value of the club? Is their no level or lie too low this man will stoop too

    • Leicester Mag

      In a word NO

      • SuperDesHamilton

        It’s worrying he could stoop lower

  • Leazes.

    Simon Van der Velde(Jackie Smithfield) said…’The intention surely here is to put that bit of doubt in people’s minds, to get some thinking/believing that not allowing spending on essential Rafa signings is somehow justified’….

    I totally agree…. but his target audience isn’t fans directly…. its the Journalists who surround United, some of whom are playing ball and other are not….

    Mark Douglas of the Chronicle has just rubbished the ridiculous claim.

    The excuses are wearing thin in Thomson Towers as well it seems!

    • Stephen

      I find it impossible to believe that no one wants to buy this fantastic club with a massive fan base and stadium in the centre of a vibrant city.
      My guess is that the sale contains clauses relating to the merchandise

      • Brian Standen

        It’s like flying with Ryannair – add on for cases, add on for seats, add on for priority boarding, add on for a slash!
        Even his SD shops advertising 70% off is false , it’s 70% off an invented price in the first place!

      • FatParosite

        They would buy it…. IF it was for sale.

    • FatParosite

      You will be hard put to find anyone at Thomson Towers that truly disagrees. Most of the regurgitated rubbish they print is littered by psychological slips like ‘perceived lack of budget’ statements. They are all doing their best to keep Ashley in place.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The club is still up for sale but what you do not understand is to sell it for a very reasonable price say £350m you need a buyer. We have had very little interest is none at all as Amanda did not have any backers or those who were interested all pulled out. I think the problem lies with Rafa not signing a contract that is why there have been only five players come in with two more likely. Rafa should have kept things private and has certainly done himself no favours. What the new signings must think with his outburst. He needs to focus on Saturday and start with a win.

    • JohnCornwell’sHair

      So in order for something that’s for sale to actually be sold you need someone that is willing to buy it? Thanks for clearing that up.
      I also think you need someone that is serious about selling, but i’m quite cynical these days.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Another lie, like you go to away games & drink in a restaurant before matches. Couldn’t lie straight in bed

      • The mag is my life

        It’s also a bar on a match day. Go in see this for yourself. One thing I’ve noticed about this forum is it’s full of sad little [email protected] with nothing else going on, yourself included mate.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Oooooo you’re tough

        • Superdooperhooper

          Judging by the immaturity of his posts he’s obviously not old enough to go into pubs

    • Brian Standen

      £350 million is a fair price but with mike Ashley it’s like booking an online e holiday
      Deal of the day £250pp all inclusive – then you go through the booking process and final price is £350pp!

      The goalpost move because of hidden extras!

      Ok it’s a loose analogy but same principle

      • Wezza

        Ignore the troll and Man Utd supporter, monkseatonmagpies. He has been exposed a long time ago and just likes to wind us up to fulfil his cravings and sex starved life.

        • Ben Jones

          There you have it Brian, you were presumably happy to converse with Monk. but in waltzes Wezza, someone not involved in the conversation whatsoever, and that’s it, you have to end the voluntary conversation you were happy to have on his say so.


        • TheFatController

          Surely he’s a bot? No human could write that gumph repetitively ?

      • Peter C

        More like booking with Ryanair

        • Brian Standen

          I did that one below

      • Geordiegiants

        The reason nobody wants it when they look at the books is, the fatcunt has contracts tied up for everything connected to his jumble sale for years and years. Whoever buys the club will for arguments sake, have his jumble sale providing kit for 90% of the takings on a five year contract. Nine bar will be a separate entity, the advertising will be locked up to his jumble sale etc etc etc. The stadium will be leased back, it will be never ending. That’s how he gets all of his money out.

        • skarabrae

          That’s the terrifying reality… even if he ever leaves… he’d leave us well & truly screwed…. it’s a pointless club now!!

          • Geordiegiants


          • Jonas

            That depressed me. That my club is not just gone for now but possibly forever. It is basically S**** D**** FC now in all but name.

            Then I was cheered up at the thought of doing a Rangers in that event. Its a utter disgrace that that could be the best case scenario for our club.
            I’d take it now to get rid of him, for the record.

    • Damon Horner

      Would keeping things private have benefited Rafa or the club? It feels that’s inconsequential in your view because it’s all about him blindly signing a contract.

      • Big Hairy Man

        Exactly. The reason he won’t blindly sign a new contract is most likely that he doesn’t trust Ashley as far as he can kick him, and with good reason.

    • toonsteve

      In reference to the article above, why was there no buyer in dec 17/jan 18? The times’ journalist stated there were three interested parties aside from Stavely. If the three interested parties all pulled out, alongside Stavely’s backers then that is concrete evidence that the club is not worth Ashley’s asking price. It s either overpriced or the journalist was peddling lies. Which do you reckon?

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Not overpriced and there were three people who took a look at the club but decided not to proceed.

        • toonsteve

          So if the willing buyers were not prepared to pay the price, what is the commercial basis for the valuation?

          • TheFatController

            Don’t hit him with economics, supply and demand to him relate just to availability of medications prescribed

      • Peter C

        Hid the nail on the head. Both, club overpriced, and journalists, peddling, Fake News, ie MASH Propaganda.

    • TheFatController

      Rafa keeps it private and they don’t respect him. He gives them most of the window to do the right thing, is very professional, but then has to come out and expose the abuse of the club and him over transfers for the long term good of the club and fans.

      The new signings probably respect him as he is decent, honest and respectful, but won’t be taken for a mug. They’ll want to play for him but know not to try anything on.

      If you had any social skills you’d know that’s what the new players would think. It’s human nature.

      • FatParosite

        There will be non disclosure agreements in place to stop Rafa outing the fat one….

        • Geordiegiants

          Let hope not, Rafa is a man of principles like Keegan.

  • JohnCornwell’sHair

    Price reduced for quick sale!?
    Ashley loves a reduction doesn’t he?

    • Leazes.

      £400m and 70% OFF

    • HarryHype59

      70% off his £400m asking price?

  • BanJones

    I fully support Mike in this sensible accounting measure to enable the sale of the club he is desperate to get away from despite the World Wide Coverage he gets for his high quality sports clothing empire. It’s amazing that a man is so clever and honest and tastes nice, well done Mike.

    • East Durham Mag

      Isn’t irony good

      • BanJones

        I would rather take the ssip than block them. It amuses me anyway!

    • TheFatController

      I’ve never actually seen him say he tastes nice. But the rest yes, he’s uttered that guff regularly.

      I see him more as a ‘I don’t like the taste but I’d do it just for you anyway Mike’ type.

  • Sickandtired

    “Mike Ashley, the owner, also wants a quick sale as he is keen to avoid an outlay in the January transfer window on an asset of which he is in the process of disposing, having conceded that Newcastle’s squad requires strengthening.”

    What outlay? The fly in the ointment here is people keep making out it’s his personal money – rather than club revenue. Ashley wants to retain as much profit in the accounts as possible thereby trying to justify his inflated ‘sale’ price. That’s also why he buys for cash and sells on the drip.

    The trouble is, any sane person understands he appears to have no intention of selling and instead uses it as a smokescreen to avoid a spend, season on season, which would make us a reasonably competitive football club. The fact that he has done it once – when giving saved up riches to McClaren, with epic failure – is once again his own stupid fault for employing a numpty.

    A numpty in the long line of numpties, by the numpty owner.

  • Peaco

    Is Keith Bishop Lee Charnley with a silly wig and a couple of pillows down his shirt? You never see em in the same photo do you? Perhaps that’s why Charnley never speaks?

  • Desree

    There is no such thing as journalism now. They should be known for what they are, copywriters. These people would make more money working for the large corporations, banks and government.

    Lee Ryder on the other hand?

    • Leicester Mag

      Ryder is journalism’s Clouseau. A crayon technician

      • Leazes.

        Ryder filled fifty back pages with Adam Armstrong nonsense…..who was sold before he kicked a ball for us!

        • TheFatController

          He just cut and pastes the current status of the club or player in the first five paragraphs of an article. Then the last two short paragraphs have something new he’s written that was online elsewhere the day before …

          Credit to him for getting a job that involves doing that for money.

  • East Durham Mag

    The media seems to be the only way Rafa has of venting his frustrations. As we know some of the media are sympathetic and some like Richard Keys and some publications and contributers to this forum are right up Fattys @rse. I know who i believe.

  • Thompson

    Time to target lee charnley in anyway we can .To protesting outside side of his house .Someone like Ashley and charnley must have dirt on them somewhere in there past .Lets destroy them publicly .Make as much pressure as we can on them

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Will try and get some supporters to stand out side your house and sing newcastle songs. That would be a great idea.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Bit awkward when your friends are in your head.

      • Brian Standen

        By the way. Don’t tell me ALL your mates are pro Ashley!

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Not pro Ashley but pro club and they hate the protesters with a passion.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            The ones that exist in your head.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            I’d love to meet your ‘mates’ I’d pick you up & slap them all with you

          • Jimmy Grant

            What club’s that then cos it aint Newcastle United or you wouldn’t be so ready to attack those who want to see it in the hands of an owner who cared!

          • nufcslf

            You’re proper tit. I’m almost glad you waste your money on the waste of time that is Sports Direct United. Hope it eventually drains every penny you have.

        • MadMag83

          His ”mates” are Charnley, Bishop, Joe Kinnear, and Pardew!

  • Down Under Mag

    Look, we all know know Rafa is no saint when it comes to manipulating the media for his own ends. He has been like this at every club he has been at. The difference is this time around he hasn’t been given any money to spend let alone allowed to bring in his first choice targets. It isn’t like he’s spent 100m quid and then came back wanting more. He’s turned a profit in the window and is basically just asking for more than a championship squad, something he can push on from last season with, something both he and the fans can be proud of. Sadly he is wallowing in the bargain bin of transfers like so many before him. Mid-table will be fine for Ashley, Pfft even 17th will be fine by Ashley…it isn’t for Rafa or the fans. If we end up there fine, but setting us up as that being the target is simply not good enough!

  • HarryHype59

    I wish a decent and honest journalist would highlight the folly of selling players by instalments whilst insisting on outright purchases of incoming players. This is irregular in the E PL as it is inefficient, due to high transfer fees in this era.

    This is why most club’s don’t do it! Liabilities in deferred fees can be offset by the future income streams so wouldn’t reduce the selling price of the club.

    This policy also results in too many shirt fillers. Last season this club signed £30m plus worth of players not good enough to be first team regulars.

    This method of conducting transfers is done for the benefit of Mike Ashley not NUFC.

    • Ben Jones

      If we’re insisting on outright purchases for incoming players then why do we owe money to clubs for players as shown on the last accounts?, may I suggest that is the reason journos are not highlighting it, because it would be incorrect

    • Leazes.

      The fact that Ashley has in the last year appointed both Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop suggests he here to stay rather than to sell the club….

      …..this is a PR war to get compliant Journalists knocked into line.

      We saw last season that the Gallowgate flags protest was ignored by the TV cameras of Sky and MOTD…. but spin can only go so far, it isn’t going to stop the disillusionment at the promise of jam tomorrow by the hacks.

      The empty spaces that will open up as the season progresses into winter will also get through to those ‘backing the team and not the regime'(sic).

      Ashleys shop in Northumberland Street is being targeted for protest on Saturday.

      The TV cameras of Tyne Tees and the BBC will again look away but there is no option now, as Rafa’s bus drives off into the watery sunset.

    • Steve Smith

      He pays up front in order to try and get discounts on purchases and accepts instalments to both extract maximum price from sales as well as misdirect everybody as to how little he’s going to give his manager to spend.

      • HarryHype59

        So we got a discount on the Hoss, Atsu, Manky and Murphy in addition to numerous other shirt fillers who we would sell at a loss, but can’t shift, because of wages and long contracts?

        Great transfer policy!

  • Wezza

    More predictable PR rubbish that we anticipated. It is the clubs money and therefore it can be spent on maintaining and improving the squad. Football is an ongoing business that doesn’t stop, unlike a business that at can actually shut up shop before it is sold. Rubbish, that’s excuse doesn’t work either as well as the contract thing – which was the original PR propaganda lies. So which is it. They can’t even keep their PR excuses the same.
    I ask again.
    What club intentionally lies and deceives it’s own fans and the media?

  • Steve Davis

    As a frustrated Toon fan living in Ireland one thing is obvious to me.
    My Cashley is simply using Nufc to promote and advertise his Sports Direct empire. He has no interest in the club other than what he can get out of it.
    He has got more media coverage this transfer window than most other clubs without spending a penny. Stupid he isn’t. Comments on forums like this don’t matter a T*SS. They just wind fans up. Trolls, fake reports etc need seeing for what they are are and ignoring.
    Understand why MA does what he does is key. Then we need to stand United and pry him out. We all know he needs to go so let’s concentrate on that instead of winding ourselves up reacting to dross posted here and other sites.
    We need to stop going to matches. Simple as that. Yes, it will hurt the team but the the alternative is more of the same, year on year on year. A proper protest is needed until he is gone.

  • Awaymag

    **** *** Mike Ashley PR people and associated journalist

  • Jimmy Grant

    I’ve been visiting this site for some time now and resisted posting but want to ask this of the Ashley apologist trolls:

    You all come to his defence in the face of consistent proof that he’s bad for our club. You make him out as some kind of astute businessman putting NUFC back on an even keel but all this avoids the big question: why the hell did he buy a football club in the first place when he doesn’t intend to invest in it and challenge for major hounours?

    You all know the answer to this: free advertising for his tat! How the hell you can spend hour upon hour on here coming up with the same piffle about him being badly done by at the hands of a large and vocal number of us loyal and decent fans is beyond me. It’s either because your a bunch of corporate fanboys or trolls as plenty of others suggest.

  • Taz

    Mr Hughes and everyone that thinks the fat mofo that owns the club are doing a good job are not of sound mind.Hughes and the fat man are prizecocks and that’s being polite

  • Jonas

    Ashley being a good business man and yet incapable of selling a club he so allegedly wants to sell, as funds have been withheld for ten years is more than one contradiction in one that this Hughes fella probably isn’t wrestling with.

  • nufcslf

    Couldn’t give a f**k what this fat c**t pulls this week. The man is pure filth and even death is too good for the piece of sh*t. Rse hole.

  • Rob Brown

    Personally I can’t see any reason what Ashley has to gain by saying he is selling the club if he’s not.

    It only brings instability to the table, and that’s not good for anyone, including him.

  • MadMag83

    There’s absolutely no difference between buying players in installments and selling them in installments. Any interested parties would offset the money going out against the money coming in. The only reason Ashley conducts transfers in this way is greed. It means he can sell at a higher price, and buy at a lower price, with the added bonus of being able to plead poverty. The only way Ashley is leaving is either in his box, or when the club stops making him so much money.