Martin Samuel is a serial offender when it comes to writing articles that are pro-Mike Ashley and ridiculing Newcastle fans for their desperate efforts to try and see the back of him.

On Tuesday he delivered his latest bunch of nonsense in The Mail and I wrote yesterday (see below), pointing out where he was absolutely wrong.

Whether he was misleading readers on purpose, or whether through simple laziness, only he knows.

However, on this occasion it is a small victory for Newcastle fans.

A grudging (hidden away) correction has been published by the newspaper, with Martin Samuel/The Mail admitting that people were misled with fake facts.

This is the part they have owned up to that was 100% wrong (although they could have gone further – see below), followed by their almost apology.

The Mail – 13 August 2018:

Ashley’s Newcastle takeover in 2007 was also the answer to a financial crisis.

The reason the club were on the market was that Sir John Hall and the Shepherd family had run up short-term debts of £70m and recorded substantial further losses.

Hall had been trying to sell his stake for three years and Ashley paid off £76m in external debts.

This is included along with further interest-free loans in the £144m total debt the club currently owes to Mr Ashley.’

The Mail – 15 August 2018:

An earlier version of this article suggested that Mike Ashley paid off £144m in external debts when he purchased Newcastle United in 2007.

In fact, he paid off £76m and this is included along with further interest-free loans in the £144m total debt the club currently owes to Mr Ashley.’

This is what I wrote yesterday:

The Mag – 14 August 2018:

‘Serial offender national journalist at it again backing Mike Ashley with Newcastle United ‘facts’ that are not true’

It is quite amazing how many journalists think they know all about the issues at Newcastle United with Mike Ashley, without having to actually do any proper research.

Or alternatively, even worse, writing stuff that they know is untrue but which makes for a better story.

Newcastle fans have been on the receiving end from Martin Samuel before, a West Ham fan who writes for The Mail.

Somebody who thinks he is an authority on Newcastle United despite being at the opposite end of the country and clearly not doing any research as outlined above, or deliberately writing fiction.

Martin Samuel claims that Mike Ashley paid off £144m in external debts when he bought Newcastle United, it is simply not true.

Ashley has £144m as the total debt owed to him by Newcastle United now but some of that has been added in the meantime due to his reckless unambitious running of the club, which has led to two relegations.

As for the debts which were paid off when Mike Ashley bought the club, they were simply part of the price of buying the club. In other words, if these debts hadn’t been thee to be paid off, then he would have had to pay that much more on the purchase price.

It is simply ridiculous to claim that Ashley didn’t know about the major amounts that were outstanding.

The biggest one being a £45m mortgage that was being paid off year by year (due to finish in 2016) to pay for the St James Park redevelopment. This became payable on demand if the club was sold, there is no way Mike Ashley and his people didn’t know this debt existed when buying NUFC. The same with the money still owed on players bought by the Hall/Shepherd regime, these amounts are prominent in every club’s accounts each year, as well as the money still owed to them on players sold in instalments.

What is also laughable is that Martin Samuel makes it out to be as though Mike Ashley was riding to our rescue, rather than as his advisors told John Hall, because he knew it was an ideal asset to help him promote Sports Direct around the World via the far reaching Premier League TV coverage.

As for that £45m mortgage that was owed on the money borrowed to turn St James Park into a 52,000+ stadium with massive corporate/conferencing facilities, even if you accepted this was somehow a debt Mike Ashley didn’t know about (even though he obviously did)….you are talking about him getting a massive modern new stadium for only £45m.

What would the owners of Arsenal and Tottenham have given to only be paying that for a modern new stadium? Everton want a new stadium and that will cost the best part of half a billion the last time I looked.

Martin Samuel claims Mike Ashley first put the club up for sale in 2009 ‘when a compensation claim from Kevin Keegan was considered to have endangered the club’s future.’

Not true again, it was in 2008 after Kevin Keegan’s departure and Newcastle fans demonstrated against him, when Ashley claimed he was first wanted to sell. A load of rubbish of course anyway, as clearly he was just trying to dilute the protests by pretending he was trying to sell Newcastle United.

As for Kevin Keegan to have ‘endangered the club’s future’, that is laughable. As the independent panel/tribunal found, Keegan had been constantly lied to by Mike Ashley and his cronies and had been constructively dismissed. Once again it was Ashley if anyone, who was endangering the club, not Kevin Keegan.

The biggest laugh of all though is Martin Samuel defending Mike Ashley by saying that he would sell the club if only he could find a buyer.

Imagine you live in a street of 20 or more houses and over the course of the last 10 years, a dozen or more have been sold.

However, your next door neighbour has had his house up for sale for these entire last 10 years but has failed to sell it.

Would you think…

What dismal luck the poor bloke has had over these last 10 years, or….

Obviously he has no real intention of selling and is just messing people about and/or got it priced way over what it is worth

These last 10 years have seen the majority of major clubs in England change hands, either sold in their entirety or new investors take major stakes, often controlling ones.

When looking up some info on other clubs for this article/response, ironic to see that in light of Martin Samuel making a big thing of Mike Ashley paying off NUFC external debts as though it was some generous act, it turns out that when Sullivan and Gold bought into the club he supports, West Ham in 2010, as part of the deal they also agreed to take on £120m of debt from the previous owners.

Owning Newcastle United suits Mike Ashley just fine and he derives massive benefits from it, just look at how his figures on the rich list have increased since he bought Newcastle United. The football club is a key factor in promoting his retail empire.

He has no intention of selling and as I indicated above, if he really was trying to sell, how come all of these other clubs have managed to find a buyer  and yet Newcastle United supposedly can’t?

Martin Samuel writing in The Mail:

Ashley’s Newcastle takeover in 2007 was also the answer to a financial crisis.

‘The reason the club were on the market was that Sir John Hall and the Shepherd family had run up short-term debts of £70m and recorded substantial further losses.

‘Hall had been trying to sell his stake for three years and Ashley paid off £144m in external debts.

‘Indeed, for a club with such untapped potential, it is hard to think of a time in more than a decade when Newcastle hasn’t been for sale.

‘The first reports that Ashley was looking to cash in emerged in 2009 when a compensation claim from Kevin Keegan was considered to have endangered the club’s future, and he would certainly sell now for the right price.

‘It makes the angry entreaties to get out of Newcastle ever more ironic.

‘Ashley would: he just can’t find a buyer ready to take the chance he did 11 years ago.’

October 2009:

Kevin Keegan won £2m in damages after he was constructively dismissed by the club, Keegan having his case heard by the Premier League Manager’s Arbitration Panel.

The independent panel found in his favour against Newcastle United following his departure in September 2008.

The Tribunal condemned the club for lying in public statements about Keegan’s role.

Announcing its decision, the panel released a statement:

“We declare that Kevin Keegan was constructively dismissed by Newcastle United Football Club Ltd, for which Newcastle United Football Club Ltd must pay to Kevin Keegan damages in the sum of £2m plus interest to be assessed if not agreed.

“We are satisfied that Mr Keegan left the Club (i.e. resigned) because the Club sought to impose upon him a player, namely Gonzalez, whom he did not want, in breach of the term in his Contract which we have found entitled and required him to have the final say.

“This was his evidence, which we accept, and it is supported by the timing of his resignation.

“Mr Wise telephoned Mr Keegan and told him that he had a great player for the Club to sign, namely Ignacio Gonzalez, and that he should look him up.

“Mr Keegan tried to locate him on the internet but could find no reference to him.

“Mr Wise told him that he had been on loan at Monaco but having checked out the details, Mr Keegan was unimpressed and told Mr Wise that he did not think the player was good enough.

“Mr Wise then told him that the player was on “YouTube” and that Mr Keegan could look him up there but he found that the clips were of poor quality and provided no proper basis for signing a player to a Premier League Club.  Moreover, no one at the Club had ever seen him play.

“However, notwithstanding that he made it clear not only to Mr Wise but also to Mr Jimenez and to Mr Ashley that he very strongly objected to the signing of Mr Gonzalez (he was to be signed on loan with an option to purchase), the Club proceeded with the deal and the transfer was concluded the following day, on 31 August 2008.

“The Club did so, according to its witnesses who gave evidence before us, because it was in the Club’s commercial interests to do so.

“It was what the Club described as a ‘commercial deal’ by which the Club meant a deal which was in the commercial interests of the Club.

“The ‘commercial interests’, according to the Club, were that the signing of the player on loan would be a “favour” to two influential South American agents who would look favourably on the Club in the future.

“The loan deal cost the Club nearly £1m in wages for a player who was not expected to play for the first team but no payment was made by the Club to the agents in respect of the deal.”

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  • Wezza

    Busted. Now if all the others can admit they’re wrong.

  • Leazes.

    It wasn’t a debt…. it was mortgage repayments for the stadium.

    2007 Premiership ‘Debt’ per club (the year Ashley took over)

    Figure £m

    Arsenal 416
    Aston Villa 73
    Blackburn Rovers 17
    Bolton Wanderers 52
    Chelsea 701
    Everton 39
    Fulham 197
    Liverpool 280
    Manchester City 147
    Manchester United 699
    Middlesbrough 93
    Newcastle United 106.2
    Portsmouth 57.7
    Sunderland 69.2
    Tottenham Hotspur 65
    West Ham United 36
    Wigan Athletic 66.4

    We had bought a Stadium 15k extra fans…. an asset not a Debt

    • Wezza


    • Bob_the_Builder

      i always thought the figure was under £60m for the mortgage

      • Leazes.

        He cashed in other repayments as well and piled it up players mostly and that is what you see with other clubs in the list…. they didn’t do this.

        We had a stadium with 15k more seats generating more income than the mortgage those repayments…. it wasn’t a liability having a larger stadium.

        • Ben Jones

          What Leazes isn’t telling you is the stadium expansion was finished in 2000 and he’s talking about 2007, the extra income from the extra seats had been arriving for some time and the clubs expenses expanded to fill it and some, meaning we were running at a 33m loss with a maxed out overdraft, transfer deficit and bank debts with 7m interest only payments, where does the club go from there? Administration

        • Sickandtired

          And H&S had structured the mortgage to be fully repaid by 2016.

    • TheFatController

      Yes, it was the last act by the club we have seen that had ‘invest for future revenue and for future generations of fans to be involved’ we have seenfrom the club.

      It was important that more could get to the game, at cheaper cost, as otherwise families would be priced out.

      Then Ashley comes along and prices the level 7 as ‘family rates’ and calls himself a forward-thinking genius – well, it’s his only forward thinking policy we’ve seen and it came to him by default not design …

      • Leazes.

        They were all premium priced seats until two walk outs under Ashley….. the people who were frozen out could now take their place at £280 and £68 per season not per game….

        If you do that then you don’t need a Gallowgate redevelopment to house them…. you can run the club on a shoestring and still get substantial gates because you’ve driven out the Football fans who wanted a sporting club to compete.

  • Tweed Mag

    Can’t wait to see the apologists contradict this. No doubt poor journalism by Mr Samuel will be blamed.

    • Wezza

      They’ll say something like: “we should be thankful to MA… we could be another Leeds or Villa.’
      Whatever though, it doesn’t matter what the Manc troll brothers say.

      • Tweed Mag

        No doubt they will come up with something. The retraction in the Mail is interesting though. At least they have realised their mistake. It results in their defence of Ashley in the rest of the article losing all credibility. Bit like the apologists every time they have a tantrum.

        • Ben Jones

          No doubt. But you won’t find out as you’ve blocked them all

        • Wezza

          I block them mate, it is fair nicer plus it annoys them too!

          • Ben Jones

            Nope. Absolutely couldn’t care less, if I’m perfectly honest it is preferred, just stop going on about it man . We know already

    • Ben Jones

      You’ve blocked them all surely? It’s all we hear from you, block them and don’t listen to them, now you’re here presumably with us all unblocked waiting in anticipation.

      Make ya mind up

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Get the last two sets of Accounts and the ones from 2007 and read them. Will get rid of your anger

  • Bob_the_Builder

    wonder who pointed out the error to him ? he certainly wouldn`t retract it of his own accord

    • Tony English

      Samuel wouldn’t have had any part in this amendment, the only reason a paper issues a retraction is because they have been contacted by legal representation of a wronged or defamed party who have some financial clout.

      By presenting the debt as bigger than it actually was, can only really reflect badly on the way NUFC was run and then handed over by the Halls or Shepherds.

      They can’t be happy at constantly being told they mismanaged the club to the point of bankruptcy, especially Sir John, his ego is just as big as Ashleys.

  • Lord

    Ashley’s belligerent and asset stripping approach to transfers this summer has him found out (regardless of what Dennis Wise spouts).

    He could have kept the heat off with a modest £10m net spend but showing a profit a year after promotion can’t be defended.

    • Desree

      Agree. I think broadcasters will be putting serious heat on him. They are paying top dollar for an entertainment product that is LOSING money. If Fatty is banking 150m profit I can see him lasting about as long as Tony Montana did in Scarface. Rule no1 don’t underestimate the other guys greed

  • Ben Jones

    “The other debts were simply the cost of buying the club” ok. Still debt and still needed addressed, it was, interest free. This article is nonsense

    • Bob_the_Builder

      F##k off you hoop licking c#nt

      • Ben Jones

        Yes you can

        • Bob_the_Builder

          where`s your mum tonight, is the other bro hanging out of her,

          • Ben Jones

            I don’t think that kind of talk adds to ‘the mag’ experience

          • Bob_the_Builder

            F##k off then c#nt

          • Ben Jones

            Yes you can

    • Bob_the_Builder


    • Blackandwhite9

      Are you still up Benjamin; you have had a long day today, hope you have had your legal requirement of breaks,

      • Ben Jones

        What can I say? I don’t think mike ashley gives a f*ck about you, so you tell me why I’m being paid to say that bright lad

        • Blackandwhite9

          About me personally, of course he doesn’t give a [email protected], and I’m very comfortable with that fact, ( apologies for using that Word.. I am aware it makes you a little bit squeamish) but as a member of a much larger and more visual group ie NUFC season ticket holder .. he clearly does care … hence all his pals coming out recently to “ defend” him, though even some of them had to back track, also Benjamin, there is no need to get so defensive and personal we are only having a discussion, I do appreciate that we all have to make a living, it’s just that I am in the fortunate position of not having to take the route that you have taken / chosen … have a nice day

          • Ben Jones

            Zzzz zzzz. Dreadful patta

          • Blackandwhite9

            Dear me Benjamin we are struggling now aren’t we… only half way through your shift as well

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    There is one doing the rounds from the man of poison attacking Ashley from the Times the paper which for a hundred years has hated not only our football club but our City and industry. That one will cheer you all up as even by Dean and Jonathons standards that man hates Newcastle call him simple George from the Times. Has a mate called Luke equally as bad.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      George is my hero

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Hate him with a passion at a talk in at the Irish Club got the bouncers in to evict me as got not win an argument. Left on my own accord but hope to meet him on a train one day as he is pure poison to our club and City.

        • Wor Lass

          You could always corner him in a lift.

          • Megatron1505

            If he dived on you, would you pull him off, and would you pull him off vigorously?

          • TheFatController

            His lift record is 45 wins, 34 of them by TKO, 6 on a split decision, and 5 by pressing the emergency stop button.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Would you back yourself to batter him monk?

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            They did not want to know so left on my own accord so they could enjoy the second half of bile and poison from George and Luke. Funny enough that bloke from the Mirror Simon Bird who normally hates us was fair.

          • Mirandinha9

            I can remember you getting chucked out. We were laughing our heads off. Couldn’t believe someone of your age could behave like that, but, now i’ve seen your many posts and your bewildering support for Cashley, it all makes sense.

          • Ben Jones

            Confirmation the Monk is real and not a Lee brother. Scenes

          • TheFatController

            Monk skits in the Monkseaton Arms with lots of eye scars and slurring his words telling everyone ‘I coulda been a contender’’ …

          • SuperDesHamilton

            He is however the world heavyweight champion when it comes to stalking toon players in lifts

        • TheFatController

          Did you leave on your own accord because the bouncers was you and were too scared to evict you?

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Please see above he is pure scum.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          He saved a cat from a tree once

    • Wor Lass

      We already know about that – brilliant piece of journalism.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        The Times have always hated us our jobs the football club they want the South to prosper the North to rot and George is the enemy ask John Gibson Or Alan Oliver George is the Margaret Thatcher to the North East.

        • Wor Lass

          You try too hard sometimes.

    • Superdooperhooper

      If your mate mike feels he’s being unfairly maligned he can complain to ipso about it. And they can put it in the bin alongside his last complaint about the times

  • Sickandtired

    And what is the Barclays charge against the club for, dated 22 Dec 2016? £144 mil owed to Fatty and more to Barclays – but for what and how much, who knows?
    Ashley’s £33 million 21st Dec ’16 (£18 mil of that back to himself) is secured on all NUFC property. Barclays charge is secured against PL/FA revenue to the club.

    • Ben Jones


  • SuperDesHamilton

    Is Samuel the fat useless one that looks like the bloke that use to steal olive from Popeye?

    • Sickandtired

      That’s an insult to Brutus!

      • SuperDesHamilton

        That’s the charver! Apologies Brutus

      • Wor Lass

        He was Bluto when I was a very young lad – Bluto the Terrible, in fact.

        • Sickandtired

          You old git ;-)

          • Wor Lass

            True, sadly!

          • Jonas

            If I watched that now I’d just be thinking about how Bluto would split Olive in half.

  • Carverlier football

    Papers should be required to print corrections on the same page and with the same prominence of the original article. Newspapers with an agenda (I’m looking at the likes of The Sun and The Mail, but they’re not alone) know they can print a lie on the front page, for example in an election lead up, and know that the correction will be buried in small print on page 16 where nobody will notice…

    • Sickandtired

      Every ‘paper has an agenda. Just decides which side of the fence or argument you are on.
      Agree with you on the apology like.

    • NUFCLX

      It will never happen, I can only assume someone of prominence complained and they corrected their story. The worst offenders are Sky and Talk Sport, with their so called experts, don’t think I have ever listened to any of these so called “experts” who actually have the facts in front of them. They all tell the listeners what they THINK happened and when it is wrong there is never a retraction.

    • Down Under Mag

      Newspapers should be held liable for any misleading information and treated /charged the same as if they were trying to defraud a government institution. A few legal cases brought against them will soon see facts written with verifiable prrof rather than them thinking they can just write whatever they want without consequence. Perhaps NUFC fans can start and take them to court over liable print like this and use the proceeds to fund further demonstrations :)

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    Will Jim correct his little fibs?

  • Mirandinha9

    After sickening Monkseaton Magpies tonight as I now know who he is, i’m putting my last post on tonight. This forum is utterly boring, characterised by a number of individuals who spend every single minute of every hour posting comments. Goodness, it’s a sad indictment, though, now I know the identity of one of the chief culprits, it makes sense. I may return when Cashley goes, though, I’ll be heavily celebrating at that point.

    • Gallowgate Dave

      Who is he?

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      You did not sicken me at all and doubt you spoke to me. The people I spoke to go to games. What is boring are the negative articles and the constant attacks on our football club by people who claim they are fans.

    • Ben Jones

      Makes no sense and sounds overly dramatic. Bye, come back soon

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Jim the debt when he took over was £148m. Current assets £8m liabilities £156m.
    Take one from the other and you have the net debt. These are Hall and Shepherds accounts not ASHLEY’S.

    • Phil Yare

      the debt was all your mothers as ive heard shes a slag