Mike Ashley runs Newcastle United in a way that is unlike how any other Premier League club is run.
We all know the many weird and wonderful examples, such as using the football club as a prop for his retail empire, including renaming St James Park to the Sports Direct Arena without a single penny being paid into the club.
However, it is the transfer market where it is felt the most – by manager, playing squad and the fans.
It has been an ongoing problem that has dragged the club down, overall failing to invest properly in the squad, whilst when any kind of significant spending is made, it has usually been done in a chaotic way with conditions attached (only players of a certain age etc) that hamper sensible team/squad building.
Rafa Benitez is the latest to suffer under Mike Ashley’s ownership, with a net spend of under £1m since promotion, whilst Huddersfield have a net spend of £78m and Brighton £110m.
If anybody still doubts that Mike Ashley is bad for Newcastle United, how do you explain that NUFC are looking hot favourites to make it three relegations in their last nine Premier League campaigns?
Earlier today, The Telegraph revealed (see below) that Mike Ashley took £10m out of the club once the transfer window closed.
This followed a summer transfer window where the club made a £20m+ profit on deals in and out.
The club have refused to comment about the £10m taken out by the owner, when approached by the newspaper.
To be honest though, I’m worried that it was revealed to be only £10m Ashley has taken out.
The official NUFC Fans Forum minutes of the 24 September 2018 meeting (see below) had already informed us that a sum of money had been taken out by Mike Ashley, though it didn’t detail how much.
However, they did say that ‘by the end of the financial year we aim to pay back what is owed, in terms of short term funding, to whomever it is owed.’
Well basically, the ‘short term funding’ is only owed to Mike Ashley and in total it is £33m, so basically, if Ashley has taken £10m out so far, then in the coming months he fully intends to take out another £23m as per the official NUFC Fans Forum minutes.
Some of you may say fair enough, repaying himself money that he has loaned the (his own) football club.
However, this is not what other Premier League club owners do, they understand that from time to time they might need to put in extra cash for various reasons but don’t then later pay themselves out of the cashflow. They instead try to build the club up so when it eventually is sold, somebody is prepared to pay them enough that ensures they profit overall.
Mike Ashley wants it all ways though.
Take money out, which equals less money to buy players, AND then eventually make a massive profit as well.
If anybody thinks Newcastle’s league position is not connected to a lack of cash for signings, they haven’t been watching properly.
The Telegraph – Monday 22 October 2018:
‘Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner, took around £10m out of the club over the summer, depriving manager Rafa Benitez of much-needed transfer funds.
Telegraph Sport can reveal the amount Ashley took out of the business as he suddenly decided to take back some of the £144m he has provided the club in the form of interest free loans.
Ashley had promised in an official statement back in May – as he had done 12 months earlier – that Benitez would get “every penny” the club generated in the Premier League, as he claimed he wanted the Spaniard to stay long term.
But instead he has decided not to stick to that pledge, with Benitez’s refusal to sign a new deal thought to have been one of the reasons for him doing so.
The club refused to comment when asked to confirm £10m had been repaid to Ashley and to explain why it was taken out of the club given the lack of financial support for Benitez in the transfer market.’
Newcastle United Fans Forum minutes from meeting on 24 September 2018:
AH: “There is an idea from fans that the club has £30m – £50m in the bank. Is that accurate?”
‘The club stated that it was an oversimplification to talk about a cash position at any particular point in the season.
“The cash flow has peaks and troughs through the season and has to be managed – including periods to ensure the club is not in a negative cash balance – with support given either by the owner or through an external lender.
“Either way, by the end of the financial year we aim to pay back what is owed, in terms of short term funding, to whomever it is owed.
“The amount owed to the owner was disclosed in last accounts and the figure is currently less than that.
“However the source of funding and level of funding required for the remainder of the season is not yet finalised, so this position may change.
“Premier League payments are not made in full at the start of the season and come into the club in three main instalments in July, January and at the end of the season. The club also receives smaller monthly payments.”