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Mike Ashley briefing with latest Newcastle United five year plan

10 months ago
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Mike Ashley has always been keen on his five year plans at Newcastle United.

Regularly over the past decade, the club and Ashley’s PR machine have claimed that any number of five year plans are in progress (see below).

This is quite ironic when Newcastle United, under this owner, are clearly a football club who only live/exist from one season to the next, or cynics may even claim, they live from week to week.

It is painfully transparent that Mike Ashley uses the ‘five year plan’ claim to try and present a public facade at the club which suggests there is some kind of plan to grow the club over a long period of time. A blatant attempt to try and shift focus from the here and now.

The latest (see below) is Mike Ashley’s people’s briefing The Chronicle with: ‘Benitez is keen to have more financial power at St James Park but also wants to make changes at the club’s Academy and wants a better training ground.  The Sunday Sun has learned that all three of those conditions could be met between over a five-year period – which would be the course of the initial contract offered to Benitez back in June.’

So with Mike Ashley now under the spotlight and more pressure than ever before at Newcastle United, we are presented with this nonsense from his PR machine. Supposed to believe that if we (and Rafa Benitez) just show a little patience, for five years, ‘everything’ he/we want will happen.

I believe this just about as much as I do that Mike Ashley was genuine about the club being  properly up for sale 10 years ago, it just being bad luck that it still hasn’t been sold a decade later.

These are desperate moves from the Ashley camp to stifle protests, I have a feeling that Newcastle fans won’t be fooled this time…

The Chronicle – February 2009:

‘United have mapped out their future and are banking on their youth and academy system to bring through the best in homegrown and foreign talent.

Managing director Derek Llambias (pictured above with Mike Ashley) told the Chronicle:

“In five years’ time I would hope we would be challenging for everything.

“We hope to be like an Aston Villa but you need to have solid grounding under your feet.

“Mike isn’t afraid to spend money out of his own pocket.

“We aren’t a selling club, we’re a buying club.

“We are out there in the market.

Club statement – June 2009:

“The Board have set a five year plan to promote core values of credibility, viability and sustainability both on and off the field of play at Newcastle United.”

United for Newcastle meeting – February 2011:

‘Even if the club reaches the Champions League in five years, those prices will be the same under the (10 year) deal.’

Derek Llambias – September 2011

‘From time to time we are approached by people claiming to have an interest in buying the club. Our message to them is clear: buy a box for a commitment of five-seasons and then we’ll know you’re serious.’

Eddie Rutherford (Head of Facilities) – September 2018

“If I say I want all this money to do everything I want to do in one go, I’m not going to get it so you need to be sensible. These are things we need to do, and do it in a nice progression.

“Five years ago to today, it’s absolutely phenomenal so I expect the same in five years time.”

The Chronicle – October 2018

“Benitez is keen to have more financial power at St James Park but also wants to make changes at the club’s Academy and wants a better training ground.

“The Sunday Sun has learned that all three of those conditions could be met between over a five-year period – which would be the course of the initial contract offered to Benitez back in June.”

(Thanks to @bigchrisholt for the inspiration for this article)

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