There’s always a bit in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares when Gordon, incredulous about how bad things are, drags the unsuspecting owner of the establishment into the kitchen and shows them the state of the place.  The owner, inevitably a complete shambles who should never have got into the restaurant game in the first place, feigns ignorance and blames the chef before committing to rolling their sleeves up to do something about it.

Mike Ashley’s basically one of them.

A parliamentary inquiry described his shop as “a business whose working practices are closer to that of a Victorian workhouse than that of a modern, reputable high street retailer”, one that treats workers “without dignity or respect.” Ashley went on TV to say he was appalled to hear of what he called “odd isolated incidents” despite working in the location himself.

If Channel 4 commissioned Football Nightmares then they could find no better club to have in the first episode than Newcastle United.

This week, once again Mike Ashley would have reminded us of those dunce restaurant owners, passing the buck when his ailing businesses is under the spotlight.  If you believe his PR it’s not that he’s failed to invest in the training ground or the team but that Rafa Benitez hasn’t invited him to training, or a game where he could see for himself how things are going.   Why on earth didn’t Rafa let him know how bad things had got?

Oh, that’s right, he did.  Not once, not twice, but three times Mike Ashley has stated that Benitez could have every penny the club generated.4

In May 2017, after a meeting between Ashley, Benitez and Charnley following promotion, an official club statement carried the quote from Ashley: “I’ve confirmed to Rafa and Lee that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season.”

Three days later, Ashley wanted to reiterate the point, and again, the club website carried new quotes – “Rafa, as always, has my full support, and contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.”

Then three months later, during the transfer window, when asked how much money he’d give Benitez, Ashley responded “Not enough, it’s not a secret. Every penny the club generates he can have,  but it doesn’t generate enough.”

So how much does it generate?

Media income last season was £123m. Average matchday income in the last three Premier League seasons has been £26m and average commercial income £25m. So that’s roughly £174m a season that the club generates these days.

In 17/18 and 18/19 the total combined net transfer spend at Newcastle is £1m. In a period when the club has generated roughly £348m of income.  There are costs to pay of course, wages are always growing but haven’t exceeded £100m in a season, even with performance bonuses included. Running costs average £25m a year too, so that’s £250m of the £348m gone.

But what about the other £98m?  Can someone tell Rio (buy my gear exclusively at Mike Ashley’s shop) Ferdinand that the club has this money sitting in the bank without asking Ashley for another penny?

If Newcastle United was a restaurant, Benitez would be a Michelin star chef working in an ill stocked kitchen with half the gas rings out, oven doors that don’t shut, blunt knives and meat past it’s sell by date.   Ferdinand, Souness, Bellamy, Keys, Gray, Wise and co would complain that Benitez should do more with salt.

Ramsay would come in and condemn the whole place as the owner clearly isn’t interested.

You can keep in touch with all of Chris Holt’s blogs via NUFC Miscommunication, NUFC-Ashlies Blogspot and BigChrisHolt on Tumblr

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  • Hughie

    People forget the 139 million Ashley loan – that may be the answer to any sale

    • Damon Horner

      You might need to elaborate a bit more. Do you think it’s been partially repaid?

      • GlasgowMag

        Must be the same interest as a Wonga loan the amount of time it’s taking to repay!!!🤔🤔🤣😂

        • Damon Horner

          If you wanted to buy HoF and didn’t have it all tied up in investments then it’s a handy way to get that cash! It’s done it’s job. Some out there think he’s been a financial godsend because of it.

          • Paul Patterson

            He pocketed £25m of Nufc wallpaper last transfer window.

          • Damon Horner

            I just don’t think it’s a coincidence we’re discussing a missing £90mil and a man who is “owed money” from the club who, in his words, has no “wallpaper” can make a retail purchase for £90mil.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if he has significantly paid himself to buy it because if he has it would probably fit the scenario where he gives all spare money as well assuming that’s been sanctioned as a valid cost.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            You have to be realistic, he has not bought HoF, Sports Direct have. I very much doubt he’s taken any reayment of his loan in the last 12 months. He’s not done so in 12 years.

          • Paul Patterson

            Mike Ashley is Sports Direct.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            No, that’s a mistake I’ve heard a lot. Mike Ashley is not Sports Direct not NUFC. He owns 100% of NUFC and around 53% of Sports Direct, they are all separate entities.

            Sports Direct have all the borrowing power & cash to buy HoF without Ashley’s help.

          • drc74

            ashley owns 55% of sports direct, the other share holders have small amounts compared to lard axse, so he rides rough shot over everyone, what he says goes, his business practices are even frowned upon in tbe city

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            He does have the majority stake but he is very careful to keep onside with the city. The city does not like majority shareholders running over minority shareholders but I think he does what he can to not exercise that much power.

          • Sickandtired

            Are you living under a rock, or purposefully trolling?

          • panther

            trolling

          • drc74

            pulling the ‘ive got more shares than you’ move is frowned upon in the city, esp when it comes to paying high salaries/bonuses to family members and continuing to re employ your bessie mates even after votes of no confidence

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            Oh, I agree with you there. I wasn’t aware he had family members within sports Direct on big money.

            I think his recent actions are losing credibility.

          • drc74

            hes angered the stockmarket by hinting at selling shares and making announcements to manipulate share prices, he basically says the same things as he does with nufc, ie im selling

          • Sickandtired

            Lies. He has repaid himself £29 million – which he provided after his first relegation. £11 mil in 2012 and £18 mill in Dec ’16. The latter came from the St James Holdings loan of £33 mil – thereby increasing secured debt (to his companies) to £144 million.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            Over the course of his ownership, the money he / his company has put into the club has gone up.

            Yes, the extra loan of 2010 was repaid but that was secured on future player sales so was always short term.

            The club has £144m of his / his companies money, it started with £129m

          • Sickandtired

            Look, if you are going to make false assertions then at least stick to them. You claimed he has NOT taken any repayment of loans on his 12 years of ownership. That is false. The accounts state he has been repaid £29 million.
            However, the only secured loans made in relation to relegation 1 (2009) were actually from Barclays, not him.
            The 2010 accounts claim Ashley made a secured loan, yet there is no charge on record relating to that, only those of Barclays.

          • Kneebotherm8

            And he’s looking to sell for £400m……….that sounds like a nice little earner…….

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            It’s tied up £276m

            If you put £276 in a bank account with a 4pc interest rate, you’d do better than he has done.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Let’s class the free advertising he’s had year on year for his company as his interest.
            It’s a lot of years ago since we’ve seen 4% interest rates anyway.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            Given the risk, I’d have thought most would hope for more, however, he’s not asked for £400m yet, just more than £250m.

            The SD advertising is worth about £3m a year and he only has 53pc of that.

          • Kneebotherm8

            bobbi?????………yes it is bobbi isn’t it?

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            I have heard of such a lady

          • Kneebotherm8

            ok bobbi…..

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            It was a change rather forced upon me.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            I think you make the point, over the period of his ownership, he and his company have increased the amount put in.

          • Sickandtired

            I make the point that you are a trolling liar.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            I could say the same of you

          • Sickandtired

            Nothing I have said is a lie.
            You lied purposefully (or in total Troll ignorance) that he hasn’t repaid himself anything in 12 years.
            You also claim his ‘loan’ (2009) was secured on player transfer fees – yet there is no charge on file for a secure loan from Ashley at that time.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            I don’t think you lied, I think you misunderstood.

            Barclays didnt make a loan, they secured their overdraft.

            The club owe him / his company £144m from a starting point of £129m, money has gone in, not out over the course of his ownership.
            .

      • Sickandtired

        See my other comments. He has repaid himself £29 million since 2012. That was personal money he put in due to relegation 1.
        He took back £11 million in 2012. In Dec ’16 St James Holdings made a secured loan of £33 million. £18 million immediately went to Ashley as the remaining part of his personal loan – but the whole amount was added to the club debt.
        The club owes St James Holdings/MASH, not Ashley personally.

        • Damon Horner

          We’ll see. MASH for me exists for his own personal investments. Still have £90mil floating somewhere or paid somewhere.

    • Kenny

      been over this 1 million times, you cannot owe yourself money

    • Marty Dibergi remember

      The loan is £144m, there is no evidence that he’s taken any of that back.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Yeah just naming characters from spinal tap not clever fleckman too obvious

        • Marty Dibergi remember

          shhh, I’ve gone through the albums, and most characters. If I have to go for album tracks written in the key of G minor which will not last long.

          • Superdooperhooper

            Then why respond to my question on another thread? Rattled much?

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            How do you mean?

          • Superdooperhooper

            You’re telling me to be quiet shhh g minor whatever and you answer me on another thread fleckman. What’s it all about?

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            Have a think why I’ve had to get a new name….more than likely going to need another by tomorrow

      • Sickandtired

        He’s repaid himself £29 million since 2012. £18 million of that was part of the £33 mil loan in Dec ’16 – so it increased club debt further (despite it going back to him)

        • Marty Dibergi remember

          Over the course of his ownership, it’s gone up. The terms of the 2010 loan was secured on player sales so always a temporary fix.

          I doubt he’s (or at James holdings) takenyment of any loan since 2017. At least £115m is on a 12 month notice term in any case.

    • Sickandtired

      There are NO Ashley loans. All secured funding is through St James Holdings/MASH, not him personally.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Talking about food will have clarkos mouth watering

    • Scott Robinson

      Yes, and Monkseaton ‘baked beans on a bed of toast’ mam, or your speciality dish, oven chips cooked 3 different ways…’burnt, frozen, half-done’ and for dessert a custard cream.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        A think Monkseaton just eats crayons

        • Kenny

          he eats 💩

          • East Durham Mag

            Talks 💩

    • Kenny

      Rat poison on a cheese toastie.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Wishful thinking

        • Kenny

          worth a try

  • Paul Patterson

    Even if Rafa was allowed to spend the transfer profit would’ve been a start in the summer. Some pundits and trills seem to forget that he’s in profit..

    • Jonas

      Yes – every single club, person in the world has an outlay and appears to spend money if you’re one of these nutters that doesn’t count sales, income.
      How much of a propagandist do these ppl in the media on Rafa’s case have to be to avoid that?

  • Kenny

    Mmm, let’s see, the Fat [email protected] Nonce bought H of F and did the rest in at the casino

  • Wezza

    We know where… into one of MA’s Holding’s black holes. I’m just surprised it has taken this long for the truth to come out!

  • X2

    Ashley is bleeding the corpse of what used to be a football club dry. From his Sports Direct “victorian workhouse” perspective that is a smart thing to do.

  • mactoon

    A reported £90 million loss during the relegation season during which Ashley provided further loans to support player wages of Premiership proportions?

    • Marty Dibergi remember

      The loss was closer to £30m

      • mactoon

        I said ‘reported’ because it’s hard to pinpoint thè actual figures but the point I’m making is its easy to omit figures when you don’t know all the facts

        • Marty Dibergi remember

          I think it’s quite easy to pinpoint the actual figures. We reported a £46m loss with a £20m provision within that. It’s fair to say the ‘real’ loss is £26m.

          • mactoon

            Fine. Let’s say for the sake of argument that figure is correct. The point I’m making is this is just one figure the articles author is missing out of his calculations and there may well be others he is not including.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            It’s not Chris’ best work, rather playing to the gallery but he’s better on twitter where he admits his errors.

            My figures are right. The reporting from the media has been misleading at best.

          • mactoon

            Agreed on both points
            The published accounts are high level, lacking detail and the reporting of them are smoke and mirrors and usually positive spin for ashleys benefit. That doesn’t mean we should accept articles that don’t quote the full facts.

          • Marty Dibergi remember

            I don’t think it’s smoke and mirrors. It’s just the media like a headline that Nufc lost £90m.

            We lost £90m before player trading and adding in provision. The clubs own press release had this information yet the press ran the huge loss angle.

            We lost over £20m which is not great but better than the media spin.

        • Sickandtired

          Go look at Swiss Rambles twitter page. All explained there.

    • Sickandtired

      The real loss, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation and Amortisation), which strips out player sales and non-cash items to give underlying profitability, was minus £20m.

      Loans? PMSL! St James Holdings (not Ashley personally) provided a secured loan of £33 million, Dec ’16. £18 million immediately went back to Ashley to pay off his relegation 1 loan (he had repaid himself £11 mil of that £29 mil in 2012).
      Paying PL wages was his/Charnleys fault as they didn’t insert relegation clauses in anyone’s contracts!
      So, when times were hard, the largest amount of financing was spent on Ashley himself.
      Give yersel a shake, man.

      • mactoon

        Give myself a shake?

        I stated ‘reported’ loss because I am under no illusion that the reported figures were accurate. I am simply saying if someone is going to write an article they should include all the infornation.

        • Sickandtired

          ‘Further loans’? You should follow your own advice then mate.

          • mactoon

            I’m referring to money provided to pay player wages when we were relegated
            I’m sure they were recorded in the accounts?

      • Marty Dibergi remember

        It’s not really the ‘real loss’. If you are staying to strip out non cash items, the elephant in the room is the provision. However, to remove player amortisation is a little illogical as it is the player stock that generates the results on the pitch.

        Is writing down player value was not relevant, why are fans in a huff about our transfer spend?

    • Chris Holt

      not sure why you think that has relevance? It was paid for in 16/17. Are you saying Ashley will be repaying himself before he uses available funds to support Benitez? That wouldn’t fit with his letter in response to Chi Onwurah’s petition where he said the £144m of loans was still outstanding.

      • panther

        Ashley and truth have never met

      • mactoon

        no I’m just using that example to say there will be other amounts eating into the income we aren’t aware of. Another is £55 million to be paid for leasehold commitments (whatever they are) an unstated amount put aside for the HMRC investigation. I think I’m right in saying the accounts don’t even have to disclose all payments and they certainly don’t go into enough detail to let us make an educated guess so god knows what’s going on.

        • Chris Holt

          Losses from 16/17 (no matter how much less than you claimed) will not eat into profit from 17/18 or 18/19 unless loans taken to cover those losses are repaid, which they’re not. The owner has stated they’re not.

          £55m leasehold commitments are over the lifetime of the lease. Which is decades. Lease costs for the year in the most recent accounts are just £663k.

          The HMRC one is something that interests me more in terms of how much we’re concerned about having to pay. I think from a cursory search that the Rangers fine was £250k, but the unpaid bill was what crippled them at £49m.
          The HMRC evidence when NUFC challenged their document siezure said they believed the practices under investigation “were common across many of NUFC’s player transfer dealings”. It’s not to do with the fee though, but the agents payments, which it’s difficult to source.
          HMRC says the Demba Ba transfer saw £1.2m evaded for example. I guess if that’s indicative of an endemic practice we could be looking at tens of millions, if it’s limited to the 5 transfers investigated prior to the raid.
          If this were the reason though shouldn’t Rafa have been told? Would he not be aware that all he has to do is keep the club’s head above water and once the case finishes, he’ll get everything from then on?

          • mactoon

            or would Rafa have been excluded on a need to know basis. I doubt it is common practice to keep managers informed of club finances to that detail.

            The worrying thing about the HMRC investigation is that they can go back 6 years and can also charge penalties of up to 100% of the amount owed and interest provided they can prove deliberate evasion by understatement and/or concealment. The accounts state HMRC have claimed an amount (without penalties) and that has been accounted for but it could be more than twice that amount. Possibly the next excuse for having no money for transfers in January?

    • X2

      Ashley has sucked-out £280 million from the club. He continues to profit every year plus could sell to make even more. Our dead “football club” has been and continues to be a great earner for him.

      • Marty Dibergi remember

        I don’t think that true.

  • Peaky

    There’s ganna be hell on apparently at the forthcoming SD meeting…..fingers crossed everyone….🤞🤞🤞

    • mactoon

      Not that Ashley is bothered, he has refused to go to it! So he won’t have to answer questions, much the same as his NUFC ownership he is an absent owner, if he isn’t there he can avoid the awkward questions.

      • Billmag

        He disrespect’s us and the shareholders you can do that when you have mega money.

    • Billmag

      He wants to give his future son in law a lumpa.

  • ualexl2

    l︂а︂s︂t n︂i︂ght i v︂i︂s︂i︂t о︂n h︂оt а︂n︂d r︂ud︂е е︂vе︂ning – n︂о︂w i︂s p︂hо︂t︂о а︂lb︂u︂m ̩
    S︂i︂ng u︂p a︂nd a︂d︂d m︂e︂: ia︂︂l︂m︂a︂z︂.︂c︂︂o︂︂m︂/︂a︂l︂b︂︂u︂︂m︂︂0︂︂0︂6︂︂7︂3︂︂5

  • drc74

    You couldn’t make this shxt up, :)

    ‘Frustrated Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley has called for an Insolvency Service inquiry into the former directors of Beatties’ owner House of Fraser.

    The tracksuit tycoon is reported to have accusing them of “totally” misleading suppliers and the House of Fraser’s delivery company.