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Opinion

Mike Ashley – Says plan was to put £240m into Newcastle United by 2018 and not expect anything back…

7 months ago
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One thing we can confidently believe now, is that when Mike Ashley tells us something…we shouldn’t believe it.

After closing all of the other Newcastle United club shops in favour of the Sports Direct ones, this afternoon will see Newcastle fans gather outside the one remaining club (now Sports Direct?) shop at St James Park.

Newcastle supporters have had enough, well, Newcastle fans have had enough for quite some time, but now we face a very strange position whereby via pure accident (Rafa approached NUFC, not the other way around) Mike Ashley has a top class manager in position but insists he makes a profit in the transfer market, whilst pretty much every other rival club had a £50m or higher net spend this summer.

This World Class manager only nine months before his contract runs out and he leaves the club. Anybody who thinks anything else is possible, unless Ashley radically changes his running of the club or sells it, is massively mistaken.

Rafa Benitez has kept saying that he loves being at Newcastle United but don’t be fooled, he does really mean it but he won’t be staying on Ashley’s current terms.

We are now at a point where Mike Ashley has insisted on a £20m+ profit in this latest transfer window, how apt then to look back at the NUFC owner’s claim that his intention was always to put in £20m of his own money and expect nothing back. A quick add up would have seen the owner giving/investing £240m in Newcastle so far, with no expectation of getting a penny of that cash back.

This is completely separate to the ‘loans’ he has made to Newcastle, which are in reality actually the money he spent to buy the club (including paying off the mortgage amount still owed for the SJP redevelopment etc), plus another £30m+ of loans that he put in after relegating the club twice.

Unbelievable..,quite literally.

Mike Ashley only made the claim that he was willing to personally gift NUFC £20m every single season AFTER the point passed where he (allegedly) had any intention of doing so.

Those £20m per season claims made by Mike Ashley exactly 10 years and 1 day ago, when he famously/infamously claimed he was putting the club up for sale, saying to fans this meant they could stop protesting about him forcing Keegan out and just get behind the team.

Now 10 years on and we all know he was anything but genuine in supposedly trying to sell Newcastle United, even the most incompetent of estate agents would manage to sell any house within 10 years, if the owner genuinely wanted to sell.

Many links to Arsenal…as the 3-0 defeat at The Emirates proved to be Keegan’s last ever game, whilst 10 years and a day later we are protesting on a Newcastle v Arsenal matchday.

Interesting to revisit some of the more claims Mike Ashley made in that statement (see below) back on 14 September 2008, including his claim that he’d always intended to follow the Arsenal model of success. I doubt Arsenal fans would be able to spot these similarities between the two clubs over the past 10 years…

Like many liars,, Mike Ashley just says whatever it takes to get him through to the next day, week, month, year….then repeats the process, denying everything and blaming stuff on whoever happens to be around, such as the ‘board’ or executive team running Newcastle United, which at the moment is just Lee Charnley in both cases.

It is all quite mad that over 10 years on when Mike Ashley is insisting on £20m+ profits in a transfer window, that he actually talked back in September 2008 about deluded Newcastle fans who he reckoned were expecting him to put £100m of his own money in every season.

That is always a top tip for fibbers, if you are going to lie, then lie big!

City Hall Gifts - shop.themag.co.uk

Mike Ashley Statement – 14 September 2008:

‘I knew that the club would cost me money every year after I had bought it. I have backed the club with money. 

I was always prepared to bank roll Newcastle up to the tune of £20 million per year but no more. That was my bargain. I would pour up to £20 million a year into the club and not expect anything back.

It has to be realised that if I put £100 million into the club year in year out then it would not be too long before I was cleaned out and a debt ridden Newcastle United would find itself in the position that faced Leeds United.

My plan and my strategy for Newcastle is different. It has to be. Arsenal is the shining example in England of a sustainable business model. It takes time. It can’t be done overnight. Newcastle has therefore set up an extensive scouting system. We look for young players, for players in foreign leagues who everyone does not know about. We try and stay ahead of the competition. We search high and low looking for value, for potential that we can bring on and for players who will allow Newcastle to compete at the very highest level but who don’t cost the earth.

I am prepared to back large signings for millions of pounds but for a player who is young and has their career in front of them and not for established players at the other end of their careers. There is no other workable way forward for Newcastle. It is in this regard that Dennis and his team have done a first class job in scouting for talent to secure the future of the club.

My investment in the club has extended to time, effort and yet again, money being poured into the Academy. I want Newcastle to be able to create its own legends of the future to rival those of the past. This is a long term plan. A long term plan for the future of the club so that it can flourish.

One person alone can’t manage a Premiership football club and scout the world looking for world class players and stars of the future. It needs a structure and it needs people who are dedicated to that task. It needs all members of the management team to share that vision for it to work.

I am not stupid and have listened to the fans. I have really loved taking my kids to the games, being next to them and all the fans. But I am now a dad who can’t take his kids to a football game on a Saturday because I am advised that we would be assaulted. Therefore, I am no longer prepared to subsidise Newcastle United.

I am putting the club up for sale. I hope that the fans get what they want and that the next owner is someone who can lavish the amount of money on the club that the fans want.

I am still a fan of Newcastle United. We, my kids and I, have loved standing on the terraces with the fans, we have loved travelling with the away fans and we have met so many fans whose company we have enjoyed. We have absolutely loved it but it is not safe anymore for us as a family.

I am very conscious of the responsibility that I bear in owning Newcastle United. Tough decisions have to be made in business and I will not shy away from doing what I consider to be in the best interests of the club.

I hope that all the fans get to read this statement so that they understand what I am about. I would not expect all of the fans to agree with me. But I have set out, clearly, my plan. If I can’t sell the club to someone who will give the fans what they want then I shall continue to ensure that Newcastle is run on a business and football model that is sustainable. I care too much about the club merely to abandon it.

I have the interests of Newcastle United at heart. I have listened to you. You want me out. That is what I am now trying to do but it won’t happen overnight and it may not happen at all if a buyer does not come in.

You don’t need to demonstrate against me again because I have got the message. Any further action will only have an adverse effect on the team. As fans of Newcastle United you need to spend your energy getting behind, not me, but the players who need your support.

Mike Ashley’
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