Mike Ashley has been accused of selling off Newcastle United’s ‘family silver’ in recent seasons.

The owner then replacing with ‘borrowed or cut-price cutlery.

The accusation has come from Guillem Balague who is a close friend of Rafa Benitez.

The Spanish journalist referring to the disastrous failure to back the Newcastle manager since promotion, especially compared to the two clubs that were promoted at the same time.

Sky Sports recently reported that since promotion, Brighton had a net spend of £110m on players, Huddersfield £78m and Newcastle around the zero mark, if that.

Guillem Balague says that if Rafa Benitez ended up leaving because of the failure to make any proper investment in the squad, then Mike Ashley would ‘have to explain to the fans’ how losing the top class manager had come about. Only one thing wrong with that of course, Mike Ashley doesn’t care what any of us think.

Balague’s reference to ‘family silver’ may have also amused older Newcastle supporters.

I doubt if the Spanish journalist was taking too much notice of the power struggle for a late 80s/early 90s second tier Newcastle United – but if he had been doing so, he may have recalled how then NUFC Chairman further wound up the likes of John Hall and the Newcastle fans even further, when referring to the club as ‘the family silver’, before then Hall and his allies eventually managed to seize control.

Guillem Balague speaking to BBC Sport:

‘It is about money, of course, but not for Benitez himself.

He needs it for the club, and not just on new players but also for much-needed investment in the academy, the lifeblood of the club that in the long-term can help to raise it from its slumbers.

Backing on both fronts is conspicuous by its absence and much will depend on whether or not money is spent in the winter transfer window.

If it is not forthcoming then, despite Benitez’s claim that Newcastle will survive, there is a very good chance that they will be relegated and that he will be sacked – or even move on.

It would then fall to the owner, Mike Ashley, to explain to the fans just why he had dispensed with the services of a manager who maximised the potential of a side despite having to watch on helplessly as the ‘family silver’ was sold off around him and replaced, largely, with borrowed or cut-price cutlery.

Benitez’s reward for gaining promotion and Newcastle’s idea of preparing for a life in the Premier League was to have a net spend of about a third of what Huddersfield and Brighton spent in summer 2017. In fact, the net spend of about £20m still put them well in credit on transfer dealing during Rafa’s rule and streets behind the vast majority of Premier League clubs.

Ashley’s claim that he would “spend every penny generated” on improving the club has – to date – translated into a 2018-19 season in which he has made another net profit on the transfer market of about £7.5m.

What happens in the winter window will define the direction Benitez’s relationship with Newcastle takes. The impression local observers have is that he would probably not extend his contract unless they spend and Newcastle say they will not spend unless the manager commits to the club.

It is not a western-style stand-off between Ashley and Benitez, though. It is a matter of vision….

Benitez’s contract comes to an end next summer. As it stands he has a renewal offer on the table, but to be signed the club have to show enough commitment with a project that should be around improving facilities and results, not just survival.

Should Salomon Rondon – on a year’s loan from West Brom – continue to score for his new club then he may will dig them out of a hole, guarantee survival and once again Ashley will believe his approach has been vindicated. With Gayle having gone in the opposite direction to the Baggies, the two clubs should be able to sit down and work out a deal to suit all parties.

But it will probably take considerably more than that to ensure Benitez will be committing his future to the city that has adopted him as one of their own – and that is a real shame.’



  • Paul Patterson

    Nice to know some journalists spot the asset strip and don’t persist in an Ashley love in to make headlines…

    • Themoscow72

      How has he asset stripped. When he took over the Assets were £133,231m which included the stands, amounts owed for players and other debtors.The last set of accounts showed assets of £234,212m so he has INCREASED assets by a formidable £100m despite depreciation of the stands a remarkable achievement. We are owed round £78m from the sale of players so that is where the missing cash is. Long live Mike.

      • JohnnyH

        I’ll tell you how he has asset stripped monk,
        For starters the sale of the land at Strawberry Place, which was owned by the club, and could have been used for future stadium development.
        This land has now been approved for a £60 million student accommodation.
        The central fund Payments from the PL, have never been spent on the stadium and training and development infrastructure as intended by the PL.

        These two examples alone run into hundreds of millions.

        • Paul Patterson

          I’ve come to the conclusion that he is actually mentally ill ..

          • JohnnyH

            Yep, stark raving loony,
            Having said that he’s the only one I don’t block, his posts are hilarious.

          • Wezza

            I used to think that until he said he would “buy Mike a pint” and would be “forever grateful to Mike” and even “Rafa gets every penny” (after the summer window)
            AND
            “The tv money goes on players and wages”

            What a clown.

          • Wezza

            He isn’t a real fan. Jezza and Leazes were right from the beginning. He always tries to prove he is legit but isn’t.

          • KRS1

            Absolutely, an absolute fantasist.

          • Albert Stubbins

            To be fair the toons done that to a fair few over the years.

        • Themoscow72

          Any money received from the Premier league is either still in the bank or has been spent on players, wages etc.

          • New Durham Mags

            hi @themoscow72:disqus T, where does this blind faith come from ? What are you seeing that the rest of us fans are NOT ? can you honestly say you enjoy the football we watch week in and out ? do you not look at ‘lesser clubs’ outspending and showing more ambition then us with envy and wonder why we cant compete ?

          • Themoscow72

            When we beat Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea last season it was fantastic not blind faith. Being from Durham who will know supporters of Sunderland and Boro who have spend far longer outside the premier league than us. It is not easy with the big money involved. Will be there Monday Burnley, Saturday West Ham then Everton the Wednesday. Yes we can compete we finished tenth last season.

          • New Durham Mags

            No @themoscow72:disqus We dont compete we just survive. We also had a policy not long ago to NOT compete in the cups . we dont compete in the transfer market either, we buy low budget players and make do or loan other teams cast offs! That is not competing and being the best you can be. WHEN we go down this time who is he going to sell to make some money ? we have no players with a good resale value they are all cast offs.
            Ive no clue why you mention Sunderland/ Boro they have nothing to do with this debate. But since you insist ….
            In my opinion ( not gunna win any fans here) we’re no better then they were. we are going around the plug hole just like they did untill we drop AGAIN !! all because of 1 man with no ambition or pride in the club. The only reason he’s here is to make more money for that shop he owns, its not and has never been because he loves Newcastle or even football

          • Superdooperhooper

            Don’t bother mate Moscow Is a fruitcake just block him

          • Toon Arnie

            That was because of Rafa and despite Ashley. I’m surprised you’re happy we didn’t build on that particularly being the fan you claim to be ?

          • JohnnyH

            What about the land sale?

          • KRS1

            Did Mike tell you that in the lift? You never hesitate to take the opportunity to prove you are a complete moron

          • Toon Arnie

            Why is it still in the bank when Rafa desperately needed new players ?

        • Wezza

          He knows all this mate, he is just trolling to wind people up. A true, sad, pathetic, sex starved saddo.

          • porciestreet

            You missed the mackem off the end there Wezza..!

          • Albert Stubbins

            Great use of alliteration. Spot on.

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Alliteration

          • Albert Stubbins

            No capital required.

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Was being sarcy! Pretty sure its…illiteration.

          • Albert Stubbins

            Deffo alliteration. Is this what Ashley has reduced us too? Lol lol

      • KRS1

        You and Mike, helicopter ride together, surface to air missile, problem solved.

        • porciestreet

          BAAAAAAAAANG..
          sorted. ..!

      • Kev Newcastle England

        Can someone just knock this tw*t out? and again,and again.

    • porciestreet

      I think the majority of journos are coming round to the truth of our situation and its only a matter of time before he has enough rope to hang himself.
      Hopefully sooner than later.

      FATBASTADOOT…HWTL.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Rafa’s been hung out to dry by this clubs owner………..he’ll be gone by next summer…….and good luck to him when he does leave,he’s overachieved at this club with the limited backing he’s had.

  • Ron

    Shame that Guillem Balague has blown any chance he ever had at working for the Chronicle!

    • Leicester Mag

      Micky mouse offended when suggested he could work for the Chronicle

      • Kenny

        the man is a top class journalist, he wouldn`t touch the chron with a barge pole

        • Leicester Mag

          Take it MMM wouldn’t either 😉

      • Ron

        Micky Mouse is too educated for the Chron

    • Sickandtired

      He is knowledgeable about football and apparently Rafa and our club. That rules him out immediately for anything to do with the Chron.

    • Carverlier football

      English is not his first language and yet he’s better at writing it than those currently at the chron…

  • Leazes.

    The asset strip has been largely quantifiable, you can measure it, you can see the proof of the land sales, the lack of maintenance and most of all the downsizing of personnel and squad, both in numbers and in quality….

    Luckily for Ashley he has Mark Douglas the chief sports reporter for the chronicle who is a good friend to the regime, and a putz of a reporter in Ryder can’t be bad for him either.

    Eleven years and eleven places dropped in the financial positioning of the club by our Chelsea supporting owner.

    Not only can you measure the Asset strip…..you can smell it in the decay, and the fact that this is a regime with something to hide….

    ….because it does hide!

    • Rich Lawson

      Do we own the training ground ? Is he deliberately letting it run down until it is condemned, to sell the land and then share training facility with someone else ?

      • Leazes.

        Yup it was a huge area…. but there’s less of it now because some of the pitches have got houses on them.

        Ashley brought in not a football Director but a Land and Copyright Lawyer to oversee Charnley…. the next owner wont be bidding for the club that Ashley took over but something weighing much less.

      • porciestreet

        Please dont give the BA5TAD any silly ideas.

        FATBASTADOOT…HWTL.

  • Steven05

    Dear all

    If you have any affection whatsoever for Newcastle United – do everything you can to get the CancerousScum Out

    • Themoscow72

      Looking forward to someone else putting big money into the club and getting no thanks. Cannot wait for a new owner and more protests.

      • Steven05

        😴. Have a day off man ffs

        • Paul Patterson

          Getting boring now isn’t it..

          • Themoscow72

            Yes it is all the protests every day and negative articles about our club.

          • KennySamsung

            Negative articles to be fair are mainly about Ashley not really the club as a ‘wonderful institution’ but possibly about the club now as a failing business which is Ashley and his cohorts.

          • Will In Despair!

            I’ll repeat, you loathsome cancerous metastasis polyp – you’re kind are the worst; so willYouPlease justShurtYour ArseKissingMouth – your constant love in with that pileOfShite is simply vomit inducing!

          • Toon Arnie

            So what / who do you think has brought these protests on ?

          • Wezza

            I’m fortunate to have the block button! He is just a troll. He has no excuses he can peddle to the current state of the club.
            Asset stripped and he has taken hundreds of millions and still the sheep go… including him (which he claims)
            Just block the troll and don’t give him the satisfaction of a response.

      • Will In Despair!

        Gowd, willYouPlease justShurtYour ArseKissingMouth – your constant lovey dovey with that pileOfShite is simply sickening!!

      • East Durham Mag

        Farkoff numpty.

      • Toon Arnie

        Support the club /team Ahead of Ashley Moscow. Your priorities are all wrong.

    • Will In Despair!

      Well said that man!

      Real shame it’s took over a decade for some to wake up to this truth!

  • S.G.M.

    Refreshing piece. Ashley being accused of something.

  • Carverlier football

    We already know how he’ll explain it to the fans, he’ll say the offer was on the table and there was money to spend if only Rafa had signed ergo it’s his fault, and his propaganda minister will wheel out Wise, Keys, etc to do a hatchet job on him… Except even that isn’t explaining it to the fans as they won’t go along with it, it’s propaganda for the media

    • Leazes.

      Yes and Mark Douglas too….. he’s a good friend of the regime.

    • Kev Newcastle England

      He wont say ANYTHING