An embarrassing PR statement, dressed up as an article, was put out by KPMG in support of Mike Ashley.

The ‘article’ appeared on the KPMG Football Benchmark website.

No author’s name appeared on the piece and it all seemed a little strange as to why they had decided to put this write up on their site.

The PR statement/article was exceptionally amateurish and poor, so badly researched and paying only a passing resemblance to the truth/facts, it looked more like something the combined talents of Richard Keys and Dennis Wise would have produced, rather than one of the world’s biggest and most respected auditing specialists.

As the PR statement/article was quickly taken apart by Newcastle fans and neutrals alike, KPMG failed to respond to questions asking why it had been put up and also requests to back up the claims made.

Instead, the PR statement/article has now been withdrawn by KPMG with no explanaton.

mike ashley

KPMG may have removed the offensive piece and hope to make it disappear but these are some of the key extracts from it:

‘For a club that plays its football in black and white, perhaps it is appropriate that Newcastle United haven’t won the English league title since the 1920s. The 91 years of waiting for a repeat of the episode have not, though, dulled the belief among fans that they should be challenging for honours every season.’

(Haven’t won the league before pretty much any of us were born, yet Newcastle fans think ‘they should be challenging for honours’…really, really? Who are these fans he speaks of?)

Mr Ashley is not a public speaker, so the frequently-negative narrative tends to continue unchallenged. He did make an appearance towards the end of last season, using the occasion to announce he will make all funds the club generates from within its own resources available for transfers.’

(Mike Ashley IS a public speaker when he chooses to be, especially when Sky Sports give him an unchallenged opportunity to put out propaganda. As for ‘unchallenged’, his PR people are constantly trying to distort the truth on his behalf. Also, how exactly have ‘all funds’ being made available for transfers when Newcastle made a £20m+ profit on deals in and out this summer?)

Newcastle United are for sale, with Mike Ashley said to be looking for between £200m and £300m to sell.’

(Very few Newcastle fans accept that Mike Ashley is genuinely willing to sell the club, with it having allegedly been up for sale these past 10 years. Even if it is though, every man and his dog knows that £400m is the minimum much publicised price tag. Backed up by the likes of George Caulkin of The Times who has seen the written bids put forward by the Amanda Staveley led bidders.)

‘Newcastle’s average finishing position over the 71 post-War seasons is 15.14. That puts them on average three places above the relegation zone: far closer to the drop than to the top.’

(With statistics, you can use them to mean pretty much whatever you want. This stat also conveniently ignores the fact for most of those 71 seasons there was actually 22 not 20 clubs in the top tier. If you are claiming what happened in the 1940s is relevant to now, why not the decades beforehand?)

Despite the reduction in broadcast revenue that came with relegation to the Championship in 2016-17, match-day revenue consisted of only 27% of the club’s turnover – £23.4m of the £86m total revenue. In 2015-16 it was only 20%, or £24.7m. Any new owner might see significant increases in ticket prices as a means of generating revenue, without which there is not a great deal of flexibility for further investment.

(Mike Ashley himself has said that growth in commercial revenue is Newcastle’s big hope of competing and yet the commercial revenue after over a decade in charge is no higher than when he took over in 2007! As for talking about that matchday revenue, no mention of all that in the Championship season, NUFC averaged 51,000+ crowds and their matchday revenue was almost two and a half times higher than any of the other 22 clubs)

Mr. Ashley is often criticised on social media and radio phone-ins for his lack of “ambition”. But this, in truth, is synonymous with debt. Other clubs whose ambitions grew beyond their means have suffered terribly for it. Leeds United fuelled their run to the Champions League semi-final in the 2000-1 season with unaffordable debt. Three years later they were relegated from the Premier League, without since having returned. Nottingham Forest (£6.2m matchday revenue in 2016/17), Sheffield Wednesday (£9.8m), Aston Villa (£10.7m): all are big clubs of similar, or even better, history and stature to Newcastle, yet all have been lost to the Premier League for extended periods, owing to their having tried and failed to generate the funds required for a successful and sustainable return to the top division.

(If you are going to go down this route in comparing us to failing clubs who have been mismanaged, why not point to the spectacular success of Leicester on and off the pitch, or how small clubs such as Bournemouth and others are massively outspending and outperforming Newcastle? Plus, fans want Newcastle United simply to spend the money they generate, not necessarily go into debt, and they believe far more revenue could be generated under new owners.)

The difference between those clubs and Newcastle is that they do not benefit from an owner like Mike Ashley. His commercial decisions, such as making the club synonymous with his Sports Direct chain and for taking sponsorship from the payday-loan usurer Wonga, have proved controversial on Tyneside. But these are the deals that pay the bills. Our KPMG Football Benchmark data analysis shows that during 2015-16, their last Premier League season for which data are available, Newcastle had the eighth-highest commercial income in the Premier League, externalising revenues pretty well.

(See above, giving Ashley credit for the commercial income level, when it is no higher than back in 2007 is quite amazing. As for the benefits with Sports Direct, it is SD who take all the benefits for FREE! As for linking us with WONGA, a moral and disastrous business decision, plus plenty other potential sponsors out there.)

Though choosing not to spend extravagantly on individual signings – Michael Owen’s £16m arrival from Real Madrid in 2005-6 remains the Magpies’ transfer record – Mr. Ashley should not be criticised for his financial input. And over the past 10 years, Newcastle have certainly spent their fair share on transfers.

(Where are the figures to back this up?!!! If I remember correctly, an average net spend of £2.6m per season during Ashley’s reign.)

  • Kenny

    i hate that picture of the bong eyed little [email protected] Wise

    • East Durham Mag

      It would ge a winner embossed on every sheet of bog roll.

    • Ron

      It’s a grimace Ashley had no where to put the bottle in his other hand.

  • Tweed Mag

    Further proof that Ashley’s minions are clueless. Why they try to defend his record is beyond belief. I hope they keep going with articles like this as it only serves to undermine him. Thick as two short planks.

  • Steve Smith

    “exceptionally amateurish and poor”

    That is KPMG in a nutshell these days. They’re useless and leaning on the past lustre of their brand name.

    They win work purely by merit of their size and capacity now, not their quality of work.

    All it’s going to take is a few mergers of smaller competition and they’ll be in trouble.

  • Jimblag23

    Aston Villa’s problems are down to abysmal ownership, not over the top ambition.

    • Coble’s Return

      And Forest hugely over-achieved during the Clough years.

  • Paul Patterson


  • Toonrobbybobson

    Wow amazed KPMG would go anywhere besr releasing something like this. What did they have to gain? What was the purpose? Strange one.

    This makes me think hes rattled because this is so left field. Very odd.

    But the key facts they state in their are so wrong. We should release our own press statements as a collective with key facts that are backed up. No fluff or opinion to them but made available to key media outlets.

    • Kneebotherm8

      KPMG major links with Sportsdirect failing business acquisitions.

  • Polarboy

    It beggars belief that a billionaire is so amateurish in his attempts at PR, or indeed that his money can’t afford better representation. Then again he likely does his PR in the same way he does everything else, on the cheap.

  • Ron

    It is now worse for Ashley that KPMG published and then withdrew. It would have been better not to publish at all. Maybe it is a strange way of supporting the campaign to remove Ashley, I suspect not though!

    It is to KPMG’s shame not to have proof read (or audited) the article before showing it to the world, as auditors they have a responsibility to check the accuracy of Directors reports and the like, so it’s to their shame that their internal controls show woeful and significant weaknesses.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Sportsdirect has direct links with KPMG in acquisitions of House of Fraser,JJB sports and others……………..I think that’s all we need to know really………you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours………..These Ashley backers such as Rio Ferdinand and the likes all seem to have a link with Ashleys business empire……….20 pieces of silver?….

  • TheFatController

    I love the apologists use of certain adjectives to describe big money transfers.

    Here it’s ‘extravagant’, like you’re spending is not justifiable investment based on return if it’s ‘big’.

    So, would we say Man city and the spend on aguerro, de bruyne, Mendy, Walker, and the like was extravagant simply because it was high? Or sensible investment delivering very good return?

    Loaded adjectives from an accounting firm. Very professional.

    • ICKOI

      Our fans – “We know we can’t compete with the likes of Manchester City”

      Also fans – “So, would we say Man City and the spend on Aguero, De Bruyne, Mendy, Walker, and the like was extravagant simply because it was high?”

      • Andrew

        Not sure what point you’re trying to make ICKOI. Nowhere in the original comment did it say we were looking to compete with City.

        Try harder.

        • ICKOI

          Nowhere in my comment did I say the original comment said we were trying to compete.

          • Wor Lass

            So what WAS the point of your comment. I don`t get it.

          • ICKOI

            That it’s silly to use Manchester City’s transfer business as an example when talking about Newcastle United’s transfer business.

          • TheFatController

            Ok, my point was general, but I used the highest spenders to make it.

            The general point being high spend transfers aren’t extravagant, they are wise investments in the main.

            If they weren’t, City and the others who spend big would be bottom of the table not top, with poor players and huge debt.

            That they make profit and have great players suggests ‘extravagance’ is a totally misleading adjective for big money transfers, irrespective of club.

            A transfer is either a wise or unwise investment, those are polarities based on a less emotional adjective.

          • ICKOI

            ‘I used the highest spenders to make it’

            And that was my problem with your first comment.

            ‘The general point being high spend transfers aren’t extravagant, they are wise investments in the main. If they weren’t, City and the others who spend big would be bottom of the table not top, with poor players and huge debt.’

            The definitions of the word extravagant are as follows; is lacking restraint in spending money or using resources, costing too much money and exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate. I would argue that, by definiton, spending €110.20m on Walker and Mendy is extravagant.

            They are only wise investments if they are a success or if they retain/increase in value, they have been plenty of teams that have spent extravagant amounts of money on players which have not been successful or retained/increased in value. Money spent does not guarantee success.

          • TheFatController

            They are successful though?

            Can you explain how Mendy and Walker have lost value? Have City valued them lower, or been unable to sell, or do they not play them regularly nor win titles ?

            Most teams that spend big money are the most successful – can you highlight a club who has not seen a return on huge investment? And it needs to be a lot of examples, not the exceptions.

            Then I’ll agree that ‘extravagant’ applies to a lot of transfer fees. Otherwise, they’re just investments, most do provide a return, because as I stated, Manchester City make a profit.

          • ICKOI

            I would agree that Manchester City’s current team is successful but what about Manchester United? Or West Ham? Or Arsenal? Those teams have also spent what I would call an extravagant amount in recent times and I wouldn’t call it a success.

            Manchester City make a profit because their own owners sponsor the club. Their turnover wasn’t grown organically.

          • Wezza

            Well Man Utd are living in the shadow of City, still struggling to come to terms with Fergies’ retirement.

          • ICKOI

            How is that relevant to my comment?

          • Kenny

            Another vermin troll, f##k off scum

          • TheFatController

            That’s made me chuckle.

            Employee of Bishop, Vermin Troll. Same thing yes.

          • Benji

            haha it got too confusing for a f##king [email protected] like you so you went to your usual vermin troll vermin troll. F##k off yourself pr!ck

          • Wezza

            He is using Euros for his explanations… now I wonder who that could be. A dummy perhaps.

          • Brent Jackson

            It was just allegorical matey to highlight the use of loaded adjectives and in no way an actual comparison. Get a grip.

          • ICKOI

            I never said it was a comparison…

          • TheFatController

            I think we are all picking up that you were so desperate to link the mention of man city spend to the ‘myth’ that’s we all wonder why we don’t spend Iike City, you made the link where none existed, was necessary or was needed.

            Which is a sure sign of a different agenda being introduced solely for the ulterior motive of backing Ashley against his detractors.

          • ICKOI

            You’re now resorting to replying to my comments that are responding to other people because you couldn’t counter the replies that I made directly to you.

            You do realise this is the same argument right? It will end the same way, that ending being you not being able to come with a response, you’re just wasting both our time, if you want to discuss it further go back and respond to the last comment I made directly to you, you can’t keep going back to the beginning every time you lose the discussion.

          • TheFatController

            If you need to right, I’ll let you. It’s the people who can’t avoid you in life that have my sympathy, and your parents / guardian etc that I blame.

            So run along and tell people you’re right and I’m wrong. They’ll pat your head and say ‘yes lovely’ And just ignore you like always…

          • ICKOI

            I didn’t tell you that you were wrong, I proved it, which is something you can’t accept or admit to so now you’re lashing out and resorting to “insults”. Maybe you need to take a look at the way you behave in your own life because I can’t imagine being around someone who lashes out with abuse every time that they are wrong about something.

          • Wor Lass

            OKI DOKI!

          • TheFatController

            He seems like a Bishop worker, His first comment was unrelated to anything I said, the premise being ‘hey look – these fans think we should spend like Man City, because they mentioned Man City and their transfer fees’

            It’s such a ham-fisted attempt to distort what I said, it could only come from a Bishop worker.

          • TheFatController

            I was talking about his use of an adjective to describe big money transfers.

            It wasn’t about our transfer business. His point was general, as was mine, you infer it’s specific to our club or to Man City . It’s not.

          • ICKOI

            ‘I love the apologists use of certain adjectives to describe big money transfers. Here it’s “extravagant”, like you’re spending is not justifiable investment based on return if it’s “big”‘

            You quoted the statement (‘extravagant’) regarding Newcastle’s transfer business, you were specifically talking about the issues surrounding Newcastle United and our transfer business.

          • TheFatController

            You are dull with your bending reality to fit your needs. You made the connection up to suit your agenda, which might just be why you were challenged on it by others. They saw it as unconnected, Why might that be?

            Only you have challenged back. Where are the people agreeing with you? Maybe set up another profile and back yourself on this ?

          • ICKOI

            I’ve just explained how it was connected and you’re unable to refute that explanation because I’m right…

            You’re the only one who is “challenging” me, other people asked for an explanation, read my explanation and accepted that explanation because I’m right…

          • TheFatController

            So let me get this right ?

            I didn’t say anywhere we should match man city for spend.

            You imply I did say that.

            And you’re now saying you’re right and I did say we should match man city spend. I just didn’t say it though. But why let the truth back in?

            So you’re right that when I didn’t say something, I actually did, even though that’s impossible?


          • ICKOI

            You’re doing the same thing that you’re trying to accuse me of doing…

            Quote me where I said that you stated ‘we should match man city for spend’.

          • TheFatController

            That’s not really explaining why you put my comment against a generalised criticism made of our fan base that is irrelevant to my comment other than the club mentioned is the same?

          • ICKOI

            I have explained it further down the page, you’ve read and responded to my explanation.

    • Ron

      Auditors or novelists – they need to decide!

  • 1957

    KPMG were singled out in a report on the poor quality of the ‘big 4’ auditing organisations. They have had some high profile clients bite the dust including Carrilion, they have little or no credibility unless you are trying to conceal a failing business

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      Interesting. The company I work for often employs KPMG. Clearly they can’t be much cop if they approve of the article that’s just been pulled.

      • Ron

        Hi Hughie
        You need to ask for a pay rise. They must have more money than sense to employ that lot, point that out and you might also get a profit related bonus.

        Happy days!

        Good luck!

        • Steve Smith

          I actually did just this at a former job a while ago by ripping apart one of their reports and getting asked to redo their work.

          They’re not quite Capita or Newton Europe levels of incompetent but they’re trying their best.

          • Ron

            Just as long as they have a shredder to file their working papers, what could possibly go wrong.

      • Kneebotherm8

        Currying favour with a past, existing and potential future client…..Ashley buys companies when they’re on their knees and more often than not he deals with………KPMG……..they’ll all be on first name terms no doubt……..all pssing in the same pot….

  • Cockneytrev

    Most of the football community have no idea of what Ashley and his PR minions are doing, there is so much false information being put out about him and us,, speaking to football fans around the country, most are under the impression that Ashley has been a kind benefactor and without him we would have been dead and buried,, he has been very clever about his whole ownership, freezing season tickets for 10 years , drinking with fans, wearing the shirt, it all makes us look like were ungrateful..
    If possible we need to turn what the media is printing etc. But no easy feat due to his backing of various media outlets,
    the attending of his SD AGM by Newcastle fans is a step in the right direction, there they have the right to ask legitimate questions, he won’t enjoy this ( seen by the fact he will not be attending) especially if it affects share price, this will make share holders question him and his business practices.
    IMO it will take maybe the fans hiring a big PR firm to battle on our behalf, fight fire with fire,

    • Ron

      Most of the football community have no idea of what Ashley and his PR minions are doing,and I think that Ashley and his PR minions don’t know what they’re doing either.
      They must be good if the whole population gets to the same conclusion.

      • Cockneytrev


  • mactoon

    Neil Jensen, Chelsea fan and football writer quotes the KPMG piece in his article on the onsideview website and uses their quotes to question whether we are a big club or not

    • Ron

      Wonder what his street cred was like before then.

  • gav0684

    а︅w︅︅е︅s︅о︅m s︅е︅︅r︅v︅i︅c︅е w︅︅h︅е︅rе i s︅h︅о︅w w︅︅h︅оlе m︅︅y c︅r︅а︅z︅y p︅i︅︅ct︅u︅r︅е︅s & lu︅rk︅in︅’ 4 1︅i︅g︅h︅t s︅︅t︅а︅nd ̩
    A︅dd m︅e: s︅t︅e︅︅l︅e︅m︅a︅︅.︅c︅o︅m︅︅/︅︅a︅l︅b︅u︅m︅6︅4︅︅2︅9︅7︅7

    • ebangermash

      ︅u a︅︅r︅e f︅*︅c︅k*︅n︅g a︅m︅︅a︅zi︅n︅g

    • Kenny

      F##k off

  • pbarretka

    O︀o︀o︀a︀u︀h︀ D︀u︀u︀u︀d︀es ! T︀h︀︀e L︀i︀s︀︀t w︀i︀t︀h N︀a︀k︀ed︀-︀W︀o︀︀m︀e︀n︀s f︀r︀o︀m y︀ou︀︀r Ci︀t︀y ︀w︀a︀s︀ pu︀b︀l︀i︀s︀︀he︀d
    He︀r︀e︀e︀ o︀︀n : s︀︀t︀e︀l︀︀e︀m︀a︀.︀c︀o︀︀m︀︀/︀a︀l︀b︀u︀m︀︀-︀8︀︀4︀0︀9︀2︀4 💋

    • galmaly47

      LOOL T︀h︀a︀n︀k︀︀s︀ ︀B︀r︀ot︀h︀a︀!︀! I’︀v︀e f︀o︀u︀nd the︀r︀e︀e︀ m︀︀y T︀e︀a︀ch︀e︀r N︀a︀k︀e︀︀d ! H︀a︀h︀a︀a︀h︀h︀

      • xanton9292

        H︀a︀a︀h︀h︀a︀h︀h︀ l︀u︀c︀k︀y ma︀n

  • GToon

    For the post below – Once again, may I point you in the direction of my learned friend Clarko. Don’t tell him you’re a bloke tho as it might spoil it for him.

  • Sickandtired

    “Any new owner might see significant increases in ticket prices as a means of generating revenue,”

    And the existing one could have not taken Gallowgate expansion land for his own profit.

    • Pezza

      Which land? I thought the club sold it for a big profit and it can still be expanded.

      • Sickandtired

        The club never sold anything. Ashley bought the lease, which the club had, for himself.

        • Pezza

          I thought he (or SJ Holdings and another of his compAnies) bought the lease, freehold and shareholding from the club making a decent profit for the club. £6m I believe.

          I’m sure someone mentioned this on this website a few weeks ago, said it was 2010.

          • Sickandtired

            Dreaming, pal.
            St James’ Holdings took the former Metro/MGM plot. The ‘group’ making £2.5 million. Nowt at all to suggest the club itself got any of that.
            Further to that, Ashley then transferred ownership of two plots (believed to be the Metro and Strawberry place land) to Project J Newco. Yes, a subsidiary of MASH.

          • Pezza

            There is clear evidence, it’s set out in the accounts of 2010, the club received near enough £6m in total.

            Given the land & casino plan was a white elephant, it was good for the club.

          • Sickandtired

            Note 23. of the accounts, 2010. It’s there in black and white. The club is never mentioned – the Group is.

            It’s not me making anything up. Which makes me believe you are nowt but another pro Ashley Troll using a new screen name

          • Pezza

            It’s the club’s accounts. Not sure what you mean re. Group

          • Sickandtired

            You best educate yourself then lad. I’m not doing it for you.

          • Pezza

            There is no need to be aggressive, I’m just trying to understand your point but you have seemingly misunderstood the note.

            The group is the Newcastle United limited, company 2529667 is the group.

            The club received the money from the various MASH companies.

          • Sickandtired

            I haven’t misunderstood anything, and telling you to educate yourself is hardly aggressive.

          • Pezza

            But in this case, I’m educating you.

            The. Club have sold the shares, leasehold and freehold plots and received £6m for what was, useless land

          • Sickandtired

            Sure. Point me to where the club accounts state £6 million was received? 9. Disposal of subsidiary undertakings – £2.5 million.
            MGM Grand Newcastle (Holdings) Limited accounts 2010, – value of shares £2.5 million. September 2009 sold to St James Holdings. During the period ended July 2004 the company advanced funds of £2.5 million to MGM Grand Newcastle. A balance of £2.5 million remains outstanding at the year end (2010).
            Club accounts 2010 – “resulting in a profit for the group of £2.5 million.”
            St James Holdings bought the MGM shares. SJH is the parent company of the club. SJH is a subsidiary of MASH.
            That is the group which profited from the £2.5 million sale.
            The club cannot sell the Metro land as it is freehold and owned by Nexus. Ashley simply resold the lease.

          • Pezza

            3rd September 2009 sold its shareholding in MGM Grand Newcastle to St James Holdings. For a consideration of £5m, as you say,- “resulting in a profit for the group (Nufc) of £2.5 million.”

            15 January 2010, freehold land sold to Mash company Project j newco no 40 for £500,000 the book value was £200k so a profit of £300k

            15 January 2010, leasehold land sold to Mash company Project j newco no 39 for £500,000, the book value was £500k the sale was at cost.

            So, £5m+ 1/2m + 1/2m = £6m

          • Sickandtired

            Man, you have f’n comprehension problems. Blocked.

          • Pezza

            You block anyone who corrects your mistakes?

            You seem to be thrown be the word ‘group’. Nufc profited £2.8m and ventured by £6m

          • Angelswithdirtyfaces

            The “£2.5m” sum is not the final profit to be made from the development deal.

  • Down Under Mag

    Another case of Bishop fed diatribe having holes poked in it for fun by those who actually bother to learn the facts rather than regurgitate the tired old company line in support of the owner. They said it was all going to blow over? Well not if they keep feeding fans this kind of ammunition to hammer them with!

  • Pezza

    Its still available, it has Keith Bishop all over it:
    ‘At Newcastle, though, there seldom was anything left over. At the end of the 1993-4 season, Newcastle’s debt stood at less than £1m. Over the course of the next 13 years it grew to £60m. When the £54m in equity received from a share issue in 1997 is included, the numbers show that Newcastle spent £114m more than they generated over that period. Arguably their successes had come at a price that was unsustainable.”

  • Pezza

    And more, as if Kpmg will know what insolvency is

    In an attempt to fulfil the ambitions of its fans, the club spiralled towards insolvency. Sliding down the table they were also heading towards a precarious position that, without the owner, might have been irretrievable. They went from fifth in 2003-4, to 14th in 2004-5, seventh in 2005-6, to 13th, 12th and finally 18th place and relegation in 2008-9. It is not that there was no investment in the club, it is just that this was invested unwisely.

    Since then, overspending has been reined in, making Newcastle work within their own means while in the Premier League. It has made for a topsy-turvy ride. But unlike for those other clubs languishing in the Championship – former European champions among them in Forest and Villa – on both the occasions Newcastle fell out of the Premier League under Mr. Ashley’s ownership, they bounced straight back into the top division. And each time this has been thanks to the owner’s willingness to pump in tens of millions of pounds to prevent the hiccups and blips turning into disaster and disgrace. Without that sustenance, there seems a strong likelihood the Magpies would have gone the way of all the other well-supported clubs in the EFL.

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    KPMG are a bunch of crooks anyway, kindred spirits with Fatty – repeatedly get fined for dodgy audits etc.,