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Tyne Talk

Sky Sports presenter challenges Newcastle fans saying surely you don’t think Mike Ashley is making this all up…?

4 years ago

Mike Ashley is yet again the name that dominates the thoughts of Newcastle fans.

Rather than the players of even Rafa Benitez, it is what Mike Ashley will or won’t do, that the supporters see as crucial to the club’s fate.

Ashley went on Sky News 17 days ago and volunteered the information/opinion that it was possible Newcastle United could be sold by the end of this month.

Since that point, there has been widespread backing in the media, including Sky Sports, for Mike Ashley – in terms of backing up the owner’s claims that there are indeed talks going on to sell the club, with a number of serious bidders involved, including a Peter Kenyon led consortium.

Despite this, Newcastle fans are generally taking the position of having heard it all before, that for whatever reason(s), Mike Ashley is stringing us all along, again.

Nine days after that Sky News appearance, we asked fans: ‘Do you believe what Mike Ashley has said about selling Newcastle United?’: The response was overwhelming, 90% said no.

Then on Monday we asked: ‘By end of January will Newcastle transfer record have been broken and Mike Ashley sold the club?’, the response was almost exactly the same, 89% of supporters saying no they didn’t think the club would be sold, whilst 88% said they didn’t think the 2005 Michael Owen fee would be broken next month.

Pete Graves is in an interesting position, a Sky Sports presenter but also a Newcastle fan.

He often gets caught in the crossfire, already found guilty by some simply because of who he works for, then occasionally getting stick when he puts forward a view that he believes something positive might be going to happen at NUFC, usually to do with Mike Ashley selling the club or buying better quality players, only for nothing to happen.

Now he has challenged fans with the following question and a few responses from supporters on Twitter follow…

Pete Graves:

“Do some Newcastle United fans honestly believe that Mike Ashley “made-up” the Staveley interest a year ago?

“And has “made-up” this latest interest as well? Serious question?”

A Lost Geordie:

‘Can’t see it happening another Fat Ash con. We’ll be going through this again this time next year.’


‘Definitely, he’s a proven liar. Ask Rafa Benitez or Kevin Keegan about him.’

Brian Parkin:

‘Look at his record.

He has put the club up for sale 3 times before this. All 3 times we have had buyers lined up and then he has either done something or pulled the plug.

The man does these things to turn negativity into a positive.’


‘No. However it is very questionable whether he genuinely intends to sell or if, as many suspect, he uses it as an excuse not to spend money on the club.’

Jimmy Kelly:

‘Definitely too many similarities , bid before Xmas , then told not enough , then stated we were after big fee player – Plea last year, Almiron this year, nowt spent (as such) in window last year same will happen this year, he will say not enough time get transfers in coz of bid.’


‘Less “made up”.

More “just no intention to sell…EVER”


‘Not “made up” but spun, massaged, exaggerated as a means to an end.’


‘Don’t think it’s made up. But honestly believe he has no intention of selling.’

David Linsdell:

‘Next year the reported interest  in buying the club will come from Dennis Wise, your friend from Sky Sports News and he will be backed by his pals from the land of Lilliput.’

The alternative for Pete Graves is to say absolutely nothing but that isn’t really viable, especially when Newcastle fans are repeatedly asking for his thoughts on what might be happening.

However, it would be pretty amazing if Newcastle fans weren’t sceptical/cynical when it comes to Mike Ashley and indeed the media covering his supposed attempts to sell Newcastle United, especially when you look back at stuff like…

On 19 October 2017 Sky Sports quoted  Mike Ashley’s legal representative Andrew Henderson saying: ‘Since Monday, a number of additional parties have come forward which we believe to be credible. We are also continuing to engage with a number of parties with whom we had entered into negotiations prior to Monday’s announcement.’

None of us, including Pete Graves, know for sure what is or isn’t happening with Mike Ashley BUT what we do know is 14 months ago we were told the above, plus we have been told similar on many other occasions, yet the one fact that is 100%, is that Ashley has not sold Newcastle United yet.

The Sky Sports man asks if fans ‘honestly believe’ that Ashley made up the Staveley interest in buying the club, well surely the question isn’t so much that, it should be how on earth has NUFC not being sold when we are told by Ashley’s own people that serious bidders have been queuing up to buy the club?

As it currently stands, we are once again told that there are numerous bidders wanting to buy the club.

Just like the buying/selling houses scenario, if countless other English clubs are being bought and sold or investors taking controlling interests, why has Newcastle United not being sold.

Until a sale happens, the default position is perfectly understandable where Newcastle fans assume that either Mike Ashley is not interested in selling NUFC, or he wants more than it is worth, or there would be strings attached to any sale that are making it impossible, all of these scenarios in reality equalling not seriously trying to sell Newcastle United.

The trouble is that when somebody has lied so many times before, it becomes impossible to know when they are telling the truth.

As for Sky Sports, when they are reporting what they have been told, that is only as good as the person who is feeding them the line.


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