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