So which Newcastle managers has Mike Ashley backed in the transfer market?

The answer from most Newcastle United fans would probably be none.

However, it is slightly more complicated than that.

There is no doubt that overall, Mike Ashley has starved the first team squad of proper investment.

As the figures show below, over the course of now 12 seasons and 23 transfer windows, there has been an overall net transfer spend of only £33m.

This works out at £2.75m for each of the Ashley seasons, round about enough to buy you half a Joselu.

Expectations have regularly gone so low under Mike Ashley that fans are just relieved when he hasn’t insisted on a profit in any particular window.

However, the reality for nearly every other Premier League club is that season after season they have a net spend of whatever they can afford on transfers, they don’t just spend on signings what they bank from sales.

Listed below are the 12 Mike Ashley seasons and what net spend or profit there has been during each one, as well as listing who the manager was at the start of each season.

In six of them there has been a net profit and the other six a net spend.

In five of the six where Kevin Keegan, Rafa Benitez or Rafa Benitez have started in charge, Mike Ashley has insisted on a profit being made. The only exception being last (2017/18) season when a modest (especially for a promoted club) £23m net spend was allowed.

In the six seasons when Allardyce, Pardew or McClaren were in charge at the start, there was a net spend in each of them. The exception being when Mike Ashley sold Yohan Cabaye mid-season in 2013/14 when Pardew was ‘in charge’ as manager.

So when fans and neutrals alike were stunned when Mike Ashley insisted on a profit this summer in the transfer market, maybe it shouldn’t have been tat much of a surprise.

These stats showing that when NUFC have a good manager who won’t be a puppet, they are undermined when it comes to the transfer market.

One train of thought being that potentially Ashley likes to build up a bit of a savings fund when he has a decent manager in place, so that when they eventually have had enough and move on, he has funds waiting to play with and spend, when having somebody in place who is happy to be a puppet and have no say in what happens at the club.

The excellent (unofficial) NUFC stats man @bigchrisholt coming up with these cracking stats:

Net Spend +£7.3m 2007/08 – Sam Allardyce

Net Profit -£3.3m 2008/09 – Kevin Keegan

Net Profit -£17.5m 2009/10 – Chris Hughton

Net Profit -£24.7m 2010/11 – Chris Hughton

Net Spend +£12.0m 2011/12 – Alan Pardew

Net Spend +£13.3m 2012/13 – Alan Pardew

Net Profit -£19.4m 2013/14 – Alan Pardew

Net Spend +£18.8m 2014/15 – Alan Pardew

Net Spend +£74.5m 2015/16 – Steve McClaren

Net Profit -£28.4m 2016/17 – Rafa Benitez

Net Spend +£23m 2017/18 – Rafa Benitez

Net Profit -£22.6m 2018/19 – Rafa Benitez



  • Paul Patterson

    Giving the most money to the worst managers it seems. That covers up for the obvious- They were useless and needed money to mask failings. The biggest failing however, was overseeing and allowing their appointment in the first place . .

    • MadMag83

      It’s an odd one isn’t it? It would seem Ashley is more willing to back a manager when they’re new to the job. Once they kick up a fuss he cuts the purse strings. The only real exception to that is poor Chris Hughton who was never backed, probably because Ashley didn’t rate him and couldn’t wait to sack him so he could install his casino chum Pardew.

  • Themoscow72

    Since Ashley has been at the club the respective Bank Balances have been as follows 2008 overdrawn (13.0m), 2009 overdrawn ( 47.0m) 2010 overdrawn (22.0m),
    2011 surplus 2.0m, 2012 overdrawn (11.8m), 2013 overdrawn (16.0m), 2014 surplus 22.5m, 2015 surplus 44.5m, 2016 overdrawn £2.1m and 2017 overdrawn (12.3m).
    What is clear from these figures is when we had money in the bank Ashley backed the manager just unfortunate Rafa was not a round at the time.
    When people ask where the money goes the wages to turnover have been as follows staring with 2008 70.5% which means that for every £100.00 coming in £75.50 is spent on wages, 2009 82.8%, 2010 90.8%, 2011 60.6%, 2012 68.7%, 2013 64.3%, 2015 50.5%, 2016 59.4 % and 2017 101.9 %. So in short for most of the years there was not a lot left over to buy players but when there was we did and heavily.
    The profit situation reads 2008 loss (20.0m), 2009 loss (14.5m) 2010 loss (19.7m), 2011 profit 32.7m 2012 profit 1.4m, 2013 profit 8.8m, 2014 profit 18.8m, 2015 profit 32.5m 2016 profit 4.6m and 2017 loss (40.7m).
    So in summary in the Ashley years we have more or less broken even and in the years we had money we spent it and the years we did not have money did not spend.
    The one exception I feel could be the last set of Accounts which have yet to be published which could show a large surplus in the bank the club not spending either because Rafa did not sign a contract or Ashley wanted to repay some of his loan back. However we will find out at the end of March. Lets hope Rafa is backed in January by which time another Premier League payment will be in the Bank.

    • Tweed Mag

      First lesson of football management is to keep up with your opposition. NUFC did not do that on two occasions (relegation) and we are potentially going to see a third. Quote as many figures as you like, but the overall lack of investment is clear to see and had Ashley spent more, he would subsequently achieve a far greater profit if he ever wanted to sell. As far as the managers go, he rewards puppets and obstructs the capable.

    • Damon Horner

      Is that the full picture to you? There are no mentions of income and expenditure levels or the fact that at times, even an over investment can safeguard an income, for example, if he allowed Rafa £50mil this summer gone, that may be the difference between survival and relegation (obviously majorly affecting the income).
      That’s before we look at growth potential, modernisation and comparisons to our market competitors.

      • Billmag

        Damon I just despair at his posts I can no longer respond to his rubbish.

        • Themoscow72

          Probably went above your head but when we had money in 2014 and 2015 we invested heavily but like most people on here they ignore the facts.

          • Billmag

            Told you before the only facts that matter to me and the vast majority of fans is when is this club going to be stabilized, it’s you that choose’s to blank the disgraceful way this club has been run for the past 11 years.

          • fatboysneverendingstory

            Ashley has had 11 long years. Investment in player recruitment barely £30 mill. West Ham and Everton forked out more on one player during the last window. He is unwilling to break Michael Owen’s record fee while AFC Bournemouth’s record fee is £8 mill more than Newcastle’s. Zero investment in the stadium. Zero investment in academy / training facilities. Well atleast we must be rolling in cash. Guess what the debt has gone up. This debt is not a remnant of a previous era but as a result of Ashley’s blundering. It’s one of his party tricks a bit like spewing up in an open fireplace. He relegates us twice then rather than invest to rectify his mistakes his right hand gives his left hand a loan and again up goes the this mythical debt which he affectively adds to his asking price (whatever that is). He has invested NOTHING into the club. The purchase price went to shareholders of which i was one. Wonder what happened to the £20 mill per year investment i was promised when i signed over ?

          • Themoscow72

            He indeed has invested every penny we have had as the above figures prove it. He bought the club for £135m as that is an investment goodwill as such. The net debt was actually £148m when he purchased the club so on day one he put in £100m one day one which saved us £8m in interest payments again an investment. We were losing £30m a season before he took over five points of relegation so had to put more money in. He was going to put £10m a season in but the stupid idiots protested and he put the club up for sale.

          • fatboysneverendingstory

            Martin Samuel spouted bullshit figures resulting in the daily fail having to retract and correct itself. Have the balls to do the same. He payed put in £76 mill and that included stadium expansion loan. The stadium loan was an affordable mortgage that will continue to pay for itself 10 times over and was only repayable immediately in full if the club was sold. It was in affect part of the purchase price for Ashley or any other buyer at the time.. Every penny beyond this has been in the form of a loan to the same bloke who relegated us twice. No relegations would of meant little or zero debt. When was the last time your mate gave Newcastle a penny. Ashley fuks up…. another Ashley loan ….clubs repays fatboy, Ashley fuks up ….another Ashley loan……. club repays Fatboy….. and on and on and fuking on. It’s like having to listen to your most hated track on constant repeat. He’s your mate monky boy where is the £20 mill a year i was promised. That would be £220 mill by now. Give him i call and let us know.

          • Ram Kishore

            I do agree that we invested heavily and people tend to forget it.. But we could say all went down the pothole.. whose fault it is.. Ashley’s 😂😂
            I believe it was all who were involved from pardew, Carr, charnley, Steve M, players on big wages lazy to play or hiring wrong people to do the job.

      • Themoscow72

        Not sue about this year as accounts as not out yet but you have to have the money in the bank to buy players and that is why certain managers got money to spend and others did not eg 2011 and 2015.

  • Christopher Edwards

    A little bit misleading as Benitez has made big money on players he had nothing to do with bringing in, i.e Sissoko, Winjaldum, Janmaat, Townsend, Thauvin, Mitrovic and Mbemba who had all been recruited as young players with potential sell on value.
    If you look at the players he has brought in for similar outlays, Gayle, Ritchie, Fernandez, Lejune, Manquillo, Clark, Yedlin, Joselu, Murphy, Muto and Atsu I would say only Lejune and Yedlin are likely to have increased in value. The two players with the most value at the club currently are probably Lascelles and Shelvey, again, not Benitez buys. Once he has sold those he will struggle to make any more profits on his buys.

    • MadMag83

      I don’t see your argument here. Benitez is a football manager, his job is to try and find players who will do a job on the pitch, not to unearth players he can sell for a profit.

      Do you think Man City bought De Bruyne with sell on value in mind? 😂

      • Christopher Edwards

        No, but I wanted to point out that it wasn’t necessarily that he wasn’t backed as well as the other managers, it’s just that he sold a number of the players with sell on values.

        • MadMag83

          Fair enough mate. But would he have been allowed to spend those sums of money in the Championship had he not been able to sell those players? Or was it just Ashley sanctioning a relatively small spend in order to return to the cash cow of the Premier League?

        • TheFatController

          You’re point is valid in terms of money spent, but the full picture needs to include that Rafa has had to shift out a lot of poor buys and use low money to buy players who can replace them and be useful on the field – so Gayle, Ritchie, Clark, yedlin, Dubravka, Muto, Fernandez, Lejeune, Kenedy are all players he knew would be of some use and fill the void left by the deadwood on stupid money and contributing nothing (I won’t list the buys or loans that gave nothing in return for big money as I don’t have 30 mins spare …)

    • Tweed Mag

      I don’t think he made ‘big money’ on Thauvin, Townsend or Mbemba. But the point is that the club has not seen proper (even modest) investment by the owner, season after season. That is why we are where we are – in danger of relegation. The article is not misleading when you look at the whole picture.

    • Leazes.

      Not much left to sell.

  • Kneebotherm8

    I think I knew before this article that Keegan,Hughton and Benitez were never backed like any of the other yes men managers……..just confirms what we’ve always known to be true……

  • Leazes.

    I don’t think any of these ‘Head Coaches’ brought in any players at all…. they just happened to be here and had the ‘Board’s’ selection chucked at them.

    Ashley didn’t back any manager…. he allows the club to spend some of its own income ….. minus what he takes out.

    Hate that phrase ‘backing the manager’…. it implies his own money is being used, this is why the London journalists are so confused and seek to paint him as a saviour….. he bought the club and relegated it twice, adding up his own bill which he then extracts again and again…..

    Crook! shoddy goods salesman! malevolent owner!

    Ashley Out!

    • Wezza

      Spot on!

  • BigHairyDog

    What this reveals is how Charnley was prepared to ask Ashley for more money for “his man”. Charnley head hunted the clown, he pursued him for over 6 months and is the only “head coach” he would back against his boss.