Sir John Hall has been speaking about Newcastle United and Mike Ashley.
The former owner claiming that Ashley is ‘serious’ about selling the club.
Something that many Newcastle fans find difficult to believe when Newcastle United has supposedly been up for sale for over 10 years, without a buyer.
Sir John Hall also repeats the reason as to why Mike Ashley bought the club in the first place, using the worldwide Premier League TV deals to promote and grow his retail empire, especially in East Asia. However, the former owner also claims that Ashley wanted the team/club to be successful, only for ‘bad decisions’ to derail that possibility.
The Newcastle fanbase simply sees a cynical and manipulative use of NUFC by Mike Ashley, rather than any remotely genuine concern for what happens to it as an actual football club.
Interestingly, when talking about people looking to buy football clubs these days, Sir John Hall claims: ‘People coming into football now do so not because they love football, but because they smell money.’
If anybody truly believes that Hall’s main motivation was a love of football when he got involved at Newcastle United, the facts tell you different.
Nobody can deny that Sir John Hall was key to setting in motion that relative success Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson brought to the club. However, it was a massive business opportunity and money making opportunity for Hall.
Along with Freddy Shepherd, Sir John Hall took millions out of the club on a yearly basis in salaries and share dividends once the club was flaoted on the stock market.
Only last month in an interview with The Guardian (see below), Kevin Keegan stated that it was the ‘greed’ of Hall and Shepherd that ‘led him to quit’ Newcastle United back in 1997.
Newcastle United would have been in a far far better position to get success on the pitch, if it hadn’t been for the fortunes taken out of the club by Sir John Hall and Freddy Shepherd whilst they were in control.
Before of course the final massive pay-off when we were then sold on to the nightmare that is Mike Ashley.
Jack Walker is somebody who stands almost totally alone, in terms of being a fan owning a Premier League club, who only had only the one motivation of bringing it success, rather than gaining financially.
Kevin Keegan when interviewed by The Guardian – 25 September 2018:
Why he (Kevin Keegan) walked away from Newcastle in 1997:
He talks about the time that Hall, then chairman of Newcastle, approached him to manage the club the first time. “He said the two people talking to each other right now can save Newcastle United – you’ve got the passion, I’ve got the money.”
And he admits it was the same passion that led him to quit when Hall put the club on the stock market. “It was this greed to get every penny they (Sir John Hall and Freddy Shepherd) could from the float. This guy from the City, Mark Corbidge, was basically running the club, and he asked me to sign a 10-year contract now or leave. I just walked out. I walked back home and said to [his wife] Jean: ‘That’s it!’ She said: ‘What are we going to do?’ I said: ‘We’re going to America NOW!’”
Sir John Hall as quoted by The Chronicle, speaking at a charity event on Saturday 13 October 2018:
“I think Mike Ashley is serious in his intention to sell, but there aren’t many people with the sort of money to buy it off him.
“There certainly aren’t in the North East, anyway.
“There has definitely been interest in the club, I know that, but clearly nobody has yet given him the price he wants.
“If you have fallen out of love with your business, you have to sell – and I think Mike’s fallen out of love with Newcastle.
“If someone wants to buy a football club, they will come along and do it. It won’t be a long, drawn-out process done in public.
“People coming into football now do so not because they love football, but because they smell money.
“But, when it comes to Newcastle, you will need to spend £300m or £400m to buy the club, and then another £500m over five years to really make the club competitive if you want to change Newcastle’s fortunes.
“It’s not just about who comes along; there has to be success or they have to be able to bring success.
“He had the intentions of taking the club forward. That’s what he (Mike Ashley) told me, anyway,
“He told me he wanted to use the club to help grow his business in East Asia, which I thought would benefit everyone because it would mean Newcastle United would gain a wider fanbase, and grow too.
“But things went wrong, he received some back advice which led him to make poor decisions, and he’s never been able to wrestle that back. I’m sad it hasn’t happened how he thought it might.”