Mike Ashley.

After 11 years and 7 months in control, is he finally being genuine when he says he wants to sell Newcastle United?

On Monday night, he yet again raised the possibility, claiming talks were ongoing with potential buyer(s) and that Newcastle fans could even be already toasting the new owner(s) before we all reach 2019.

Like the rest of you, I will believe it when I see it.

However, I do think that there may be some room for optimism this time.

My take, is that any Premier League club would always sell, if it is put up at fair price.

It is over 10 years ago since Mike Ashley first said/claimed that he was going to sell Newcastle United. Since then, we have been consistently told that NUFC has still been up for sale, regardless of whether Ashley publicly claims it to be so at any given time.

My belief is that the club has not been sold because Mike Ashley hasn’t wanted to do so, or has been asking far more than it is worth, which equates to the same thing in reality.

Putting Newcastle United up for sale at a fair price, at any time, would have a number of different buyers interested, without a doubt.

So if I believe Mike Ashley has now decided to offer NUFC at a realistic price, I can then also believe in the existence of the four or more the media are saying are actively trying to buy it.

I 100% believe that if Mike Ashley is now a willing seller, at a realistic price, then we could finally see the back of him.

As to why he might suddenly be a willing seller, I have a theory as to why this could be, potentially/hopefully.

With Mike Ashley having ever more fingers, in ever more pies, then you can definitely see why he might want to free up £300m+.

As he was so keen to say not so long ago, the NUFC hasn’t got loads of cash to throw around, as his riches are actually ‘wallpaper’, the term he used to describe his wealth being tied up in shares.

The thing is though, to free up cash and fund his real life game of Monopoly, Mike Ashley has any number of times sold off some of his ‘wallpaper’.

Here are a few example of when he has sold off Sports Direct shares to fund investment elsewhere:

February 2013

Raises £100m by selling a tiny percentage of his Sports Direct shares (Shares trading at 430p at the time)

October 2013

Raises £106m by selling a tiny percentage of his Sports Direct shares (Shares trading at 712p at the time)

April 2014

Raises £218m by selling a tiny percentage of his Sports Direct shares (Shares trading at 893p at the time)

January 2015

Raises £117m by selling a tiny percentage of his Sports Direct shares (Shares trading at 725p at the time)

Ironically, each time he did sell off some Sports Direct shares, we had the football media (and some delusional Newcastle fans) wondering if he was doing it so he could then invest it in the football club…

Moving forward to Wednesday 5 December 2018 (today) and Sports Direct shares are currently trading at 292p. You only need to go back to 18 July 2018 (less than five months ago) and the shares were trading at 436p each, they have lost a third of their value alone in that time.

Newcastle fans have of course been protesting both on the ground and online, to try and make things as difficult as possible for Mike Ashley and Sports Direct. Maybe that has has some effect on the falling SD share price, maybe it hasn’t, but either way, Mike Ashley’s wallpaper is now worth a lot less than it did in July and a hell of a lot less than when shares were trading at 893p (more than three times as much as they are currently) back in April 2014.

Bottom line is that the £218m Mike Ashley raised back in April 2018, he would need to now sell three times as many Sports Direct shares to raise that same amount of money.

This is why I do believe it could be different this time.

Mike Ashley desperately needs cash to go on another few trips around the Monopoly board and with the falling price of his Sports Direct ‘wallpaper’, this is the time when he has (hopefully) had to accept that he has to properly put Newcastle United up at a market price, so he can generate £300m cash to play with.

  • Carverlier football

    The “wallpaper” argument was always a load of disingenuous bulldung. Shares are a highly liquid asset and are effectively cash-equivalents.

    • Sickandtired

      Not really. If he sold his shares in SD then he would lose ownership of it. Not a cat in hell’s chance he was ever going to use any of that money for the club.

      • Carverlier football

        Only if he were left with less than 50%. He still had plenty of readily available liquid assets before he’d have lost control. Not that I was expecting him to inject his own cash anyway, just allow the club to generate and spend its own!

        • Sickandtired

          Well we know he values himself first, hence repaying himself rather than giving Rafa money in the Summer.
          I suspect he sees a better use for the £300 million or so he can now get for the club.

  • Sickandtired

    You fail to mention the SD shares he actually bought back. He’s back up to 61% ownership.

    Now, howay, lets not lose sight of one other important matter. Poor little Penfold may be about to face an unemployed Xmas after losing the best paid job he’s ever likely to have. Maybe Fatty is having a whip around to fund a special solid silver teaspoon for him?

  • John Oneil

    Here’s hoping. We have been fed so many lies by the idiot, its hard to believe in any statements put out by him. Could my belief in Santa be rewarded….?

  • Kenny

    I believe that the protests has him on the back foot & he can’t handle.
    It could be as simple as that.

    • Leazes.

      Did you read Simon’s Carr’s unilateral declaration of stupidity then….

      ….. or are you in shock to find he’s genuine and not a liar…. just a self absorbed £%$&!

      • Wor Lass

        I tried googling that quote you put on earlier but all it gave me was stuff about a film where a guy`s wife has died and he brings up his sons on his own.

        • Leazes.

          No…..bloody hell… left mouse…. highlight text below….. rightmouse ‘search google for’ button….

          thefreelibrary dot com

          Your blog; THIS week, Simon Carr, who has been going to games since before he was even born, gets an awful lot off his chest.

          • Wor Lass

            No – just “I want to die and be with mummy”!

          • Leazes.

            Right forget that bit….

            browser type in ‘Simon Carr Monkseaton’

            go down about 8 articles until you come to thefreelibrary dot com

          • Wor Lass

            Right, got it! Yes, it`s obviously him but with a hint of a sense of humour. The question now, though, is who are the Lee brothers?

          • Leazes.

            Yes he’s got a brother too.

            You get a feeling everyone including his family are making excuses to avoid HIM…. not the club…. but he’s too stupid to realise.

            The Lee’s are a different bunch of £$%&s…… Clarko is Kevin Lee…. the dad Brian or David is an occasional troll the brother David or Brian….. god knows who ….I’ve blocked 50.

      • Peaky

        Type in Simon Carr Tractor Song….YouTube clip……that’s if you haven’t already…

        • Leazes.

          No I hadn’t….. has he entered the X factor?

  • Paul Patterson

    It’s a fair point, but I also remember when he flogged £12m of ‘wallpaper’ to Aston Villa, Man City paid £8m for some, he sold off £35m of ‘wallpaper’ in 2010 to Liverpool, PSG buying £20m’s worth, and in 2016 when Spurs bought £30m of ‘wallpaper’ alongside Liverpool who again paid £25m for yet more ‘wallpaper.

    In that time the Newcastle United’s walls were in comparison plastered with newspaper . .

    • Leazes.

      Oh god Jensen has fallen for it….

      The goal must remain……. the change in law for football ownership!

      Swapping Ashley for Hedge fund Management isn’t a solution.

  • Leazes.

    Ashley isn’t short of ‘reddies’….. he had over £540m in his MASH account before Agent Provocateur, (£30m) Evans Cycles (Undisclosed but less than half the £75m) and House of Fraser (£90m)

    HOF pension fund was included, and in the region of £300m

    That MASH account takes his profits from all of his companies including United’s Sky income…..

    …… to my reckoning there’s probably half a billion in there still….

    He’s not short!….

    …..He is fat!

    • Sickandtired

      Sorry mate, but it was SD that bought them all, not Ashley personally.

      • Leazes.

        MASH owns SD…. ultimately Ashley….. one big pocket.

        • Sickandtired

          Nah. He’s majority shareholder of a PLC. It’s their money used, their ownership, not his. SD is a legal entity separate from Fatty the person.

          • mactoon

            As is Newcastle United Football Club Ltd. With it’s own accounts and finances, which includes the income from the TV deal, none of which is shown as being transferred to SDI

          • Sickandtired

            NUFC is 100% sole owned by Fatty. SD isn’t. Why would he transfer club funds to SD rather than himself, which he has done?

          • mactoon

            he wouldn’t. That’s what I said, none of it has been transferred to SD

          • Leazes.

            Not to SD…..to its parent MASH

          • mactoon

            As I understand it Mash Holdings is just a holding company from which he controls all his business assets (Including his helicopter!) I don’t know if he can even transfer money from NUFC to it.

          • Leazes.

            yes he can and does.

          • mactoon

            Show me where it proves he has done this?

            Any inter company transfer of funds/loan has to be fully documented within their respective accounts. I’ve said this many times, I’m not saying there isn’t something going on but unless someone shows me proof I won’t believe it.

          • Leazes.

            Give me strength…

    • iKnaFinanceMe

      hold on, how does that add up? Do you think that he can spend that pension fund? lol

      • Leazes.

        I didn’t include it …. just said he’d got his chubby fingers on it ….creep.

  • Kenny

    One thing is certain, the till will be empty when he does leave.

    • Wor Lass

      I wouldn`t want the job of cleaning the fireplace out in the boardroom lounge!

      • Sickandtired

        Penfold’s new job, if kept on.

      • Leazes.

        Haven’t HMRC still got the evidence?

        • Wor Lass

          I don`t think even they`d want the sort of traces that Mike leaves on the back of fireplaces.

        • mactoon

          They’ve already made a demand as far as I am aware.

    • mactoon

      Just curious, not sarcastic. Once a buyer has done due diligence and knows what they are getting for their money and the position of the club accounts do you expect Ashley to take money out of the club?

      • Leazes.

        The clubs money is already in Derbyshire…. he does occasionally give Charnley pocket money.

      • Wor Lass

        I believe Ashley has included the loan he made as part of the asking price so he shouldn`t take more out. Having said that, he`s already stripped anything worth having well in advance.

        • mactoon

          The loan will form part of the purchase price unless he transfers it as part of the sale but I can’t see that happening. SDI will want it repaid at the date of sale. I just didn’t understand whether Kenny thinks Ashley would show them the accounts then take money out afterwards.

          • Leazes.

            Don’t you think that the accounts are so intertwined with SD that due diligence is little more than guesswork?

            Merchandise sinking over 12 years NOT growing with the biggest sports retailer while he sells for all clubs in his shops and online.

            What is a prospective owner buying exactly?

          • mactoon

            Due diligence is a lot more than guesswork. It involves getting access to a ‘data room’ full of financial, operational and legal information about the club which are reviewed by financial and legal advisers. If there were large amounts of money being syphoned out of the club it would be picked up at this stage. Sale documentation would be drawn up on the basis of what they find so if there was something fishy going on I would expect them to find it.

            With regards to the club accounts I don’t think they are intertwined with SD at all, the club is a separate company with it’s own accounts. The contracts the club has with SD are a different matter, the non payment of advertising is the biggest problem followed by the retail agreement between SD and the club for club merchandise. We don’t know how much the club gets from merchandising but I would expect Ashley to try and transfer the contracts as part of the sale and the buyers to get out of them if they are not beneficial to the club (The same way Rangers did).

          • Leazes.

            Go buy some sock from the ‘Club shop’…. then look at the ticket…. Derbyshire tax point.

            If the relative shrink in turnover can be explained by a boycott of SD then it explains the clubs poor returns, but no…. the club isn’t making money from the relationship as it should….

            Ashley didn’t price the shirt above Man Utd by accident, he has hit the fans deliberately and the club has been without a doubt poorer for it. At the end of the financial term the accounts are separate but wholly owned as a subsidiary of MASH….

            ….Its legal he gives a token figure in return.

          • Brian Standen

            Actually you are correct – and while it looks like NUFC has club shops they are simply SD shops with a different front!
            It’s why the club shop sells none NUFC related goods!
            The books of MASH holdings, St James Holdings, SD etc will be as complicated as the inside of a tin of spaghetti!
            Only have to look as far as Glasgow!

          • Leazes.

            I did… the money he made from Rangers retail was shared out amongst five of his closest lieutenants as a reward for something…..

          • Geordiegiants

            That’s the same as our football club Brian. It’s a Jumblesaleshop with a different front and people like yourself keep it going.

          • Brian Standen

            No. I buy my NUFC shirts from China for $13 with free postage! – exceptional quality ( honestly)
            But I guess your referring to going to games!

          • Geordiegiants

            That’s exactly what I’m referring to Brian. It’s exactly the same as the scenario you describe.

          • Brian Standen

            Diversifying – the shirts are as good as anything I have seen ! I took mine to SD to compare – I honestly could not see the difference!
            It was a West Ham fan who gave me the website- I have got 2 orders both excellent!
            I think I paid $13 dollars plus $3 for postage for each – about 3 week delivery!
            Well worth it and I don’t think you know who gets a penny! ( I’m now waiting for a knock at the door lol )

          • Geordiegiants

            Yeah I’ve used dhgate. It wouldnt of come through if anyone was coming, they stop them at customs and send you a bill for the tax if your caught with getting it posted. You can get original stuff tax free but again if it gets stopped you end up paying full whack.

          • Brian Standen

            Will keep that in mind

          • Geordiegiants


          • Brian Standen

            This will prob get taken down but website for top quality NUFC shirts is DHgate
            In essence google it and type Newcastle in search on their webpage
            One tip order size larger than you need!

          • mactoon

            I think the contracts will be the problem as they will all structured to make profit for SDI at the expense of NUFC

          • Brian Standen

            Totally agree. He will want percentage of retail income for 25 years before he sells

          • mactoon

            “Go buy some sock from the ‘Club shop’…. then look at the ticket…. Derbyshire tax point.”

            Yes as I said that is a result of the merchandising contract Ashley has set the club up with SD. The problem is we don’t know the details of that contract but I bet we can do better.

          • Leazes.

            So how can anyone do due diligence without looking at the SD books? There’s nothing to suggest it was done except for the Chris Mort nonsense that was fed to the press.

            Do you think we are going to get shot of SD….. I don’t

          • mactoon

            I don’t know if they can ask to look at SD books as they are buying NUFC Ltd not SD. Any transactions between SD and NUFC need to be documented but I don’t know if they can look at the SD side of things as part of due diligence of NUFC Ltd.

            As part of this they will look at the contracts the club has with companies like SDI and I bet they want to get out of them, and I also bet Ashley put transfer clauses in the event of any sale to prevent that!

            You can guarantee if someone is going to spend £300 + million on something they will do proper due diligence. Not everyone is as daft as Ashley

    • KennySamsung

      He’ll take the light bulbs and empty the soap dispensers, take toilet paper, laptops, mobile phones and tropical fish and tank.

      He’ll trash the boardroom and pick up all the cigar ends for later. Swear at the cleaner after downing the rest of the Glenmarangie. He’ll spit at the concierge and get done for drink driving down Barrack Road.

      Ashley out!!

    • HarryHype59

      True, the January TV money will be ‘diverted’ into one of Mike’s special accounts.

  • Superdooperhooper

    Where were all these buyers in the summer? Why now when we’re battling relegation ? Makes no sense to me

  • Peaky

    See Hasenhuttl has taken the Southampton job…

  • Lil Boab

    Ashley got more than £1 billion in cash money when Sports Direct intitially floated

    The it’s all tied up in the shares has always been BS

  • Viru leckworth

    My scepticism lies in the fact that, apparently, there was little interest from anyone before the start of the season, yet, as close as we are to the half time window there is a sudden rush of suitors, apparently. Unless someone is very close to purchasing, will it not be too late to make any meaningful investment? Or is this the way Ashley has manipulated things, to miss the bus?

    • Ron

      The fact remains that Ashley is a liar.

      At the famous meal out with the players and back room staff he said thart there was little chance of the club being sold this season. Now he says we’re well down the road, if they are well down the road something had to be happening when he told the players that nothing was.

      One statement must just be a lie. Gut feel is that it is yet another smoke screen to spend nothing next month.

      Doesn’t he just know how to build up trust!

  • X2

    Ashley lies and literally stuck two fingers up to NUFC fans. Even if you believe there may be a sale there’s the probability of toxic contracts with disgraceful Sports Direct (see Rangers). Boycotting Wolves keeps the pressure on Ashley and let’s any potential buyers know they will need a deal which avoids such toxic contracts.

    • Kev Newcastle England

      The sheep wont do it but

  • wheyayeman

    It’s a simply awful time to start negotiating isn’t it?!! Add to the fact Ashley has basically buried the club he bought 11 years ago and there’s so much work to be done – even if there are genuine bids and a genuine seller (finally) the buyer can barely get on site in time to assess the club before the window closes. I think it’s another ploy to annoy the fans and a cover for the fact that we will predictably see nowt spent, certain players sold and our hope die as Rafa readies himself for a move to Spain or Italy come August

    • nufcslf


  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    The only reason I can see him being serious about selling this time is because he is now pre-occupied with his would be role as “The Saviour Of The High Street.”
    It would be good news for us but terrible for the high street as rather than saving it would become a living nightmare pound-land with plenty charver and junkie clientele hovering around the place.
    70% off labels everywhere and you might as well have them coming in for their methadone !

    • Leazes.

      He’s being used as the bad guy….the asset stripper of the high street not its saviour. It wasn’t anyone’s intentions to save shops

  • Lostprofit DBC

    Good article, yes the time might be right, fingers crossed. I don’t think it’s pressure, he can smell the window approaching, relegation battle and Rafa walking. The new saviour of the High Street!

  • Leazes.

    He doesn’t need to raise cash at all…. not true.

    • RAFmag

      Jim White on Talksport suggested Newcastle fans should park the protests to ensure they did not deter any potential buyers. Apart from that rediculous suggestion and obvious trolls on this site I have not come across anyone who doesn’t think that the recent comments are laughable. Once bitten and all that.

      • mactoon

        I did text him and said

        “Jim the same thing happened last year, a cynic would say it’s an annual event to quieten down fan protests and deflect attention from the fact nothing will be spent in January. Why should this stop fans who need to protest and get the message out there of how poorly the club is being run”.

        He didn’t quote the text because it didn’t fit into his agenda of trying to halt the protests.

    • Geordiegiants

      Howare Leazes you can’t compare it to the brexit bus, both sides are pure liars. There is not one side tells the truth or even close to it.

  • tom

    I think someone’s head might be in the clouds.

  • Toontaff

    If he’s playing monopoly, let’s hope he goes direct to jail!

  • Andy Mac

    Here’s a thought.

    Fatman’s taken out the £50m from last season’s prize money so he can now lower his selling price.

    However having gone to the cupboard and raided it completely theres nowt left for the new year/Jan window ?

    Hence the need to sell making it clear the new owners will have to invest in January ? 🤔

    • Wezza

      Add a 0 on that for what he has taken out.

    • Geoff

      Or, the £50m is still in the club, raising the actual value of the club by £50m. IF, as many claim, he cannot actually take money out of the club, he CAN give the club a bank balance of +50m and raise his sale price by £50m, all of the sale proceeds going directly into his pocket for him to spend on whatever company he wants to ruin next. I’m probably too hopeful, though.

  • KennySamsung

    Did you know most of his money is in assets, he said it himself! Wow everything he says is correct, I love the guy.. everyone should have a Mike Ashley, what a smashing lad I do hope he stays for years. Saint Mike.

    Boll ix!

    Ashley Out!!

    • Alreet

      Yea to his own admission he is skint. Lets get that on record and check his tax returns snd accounts for the last 3 years

      • KennySamsung

        His taxes will be ok, only problem I have is which money goes to which account and when, it’s that which needs to be investigated and needs to be more transparent, there is something dark and sinister about MA.