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Mike Ashley finally agreed to meet Newcastle MP to talk about Newcastle United – Very interesting discussion

6 months ago
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Chi Onwurah has tried to engage with Mike Ashley for years.

She is the MP for Newcastle Central, with er constituency including St James Park.

Mike Ashley had refused to meet her, that is until now.

Today (Thursday 24 January 2019), Chi Onwurah is leading an adjournment debate on the ‘Effectiveness of regulation of Newcastle United Football Club’ and it is this development, which is believed to have finally pushed Mike Ashley into meeting the Newcastle Central MP.

The pair met on Saturday, the day of Newcastle’s win over Cardiff, with others of Mike Ashley’s entourage also present.

Chi Onwurah has now related to George Caulkin of The Times exactly what was said and here are a few extracts from his excellent article, there is a link below to read the whole thing after a simple free registration with The Times.

It is great to have people such as Chi Onwurah helping to take the fight to Mike Ashley and exposing him for what he is, especially in terms of his running of Newcastle United.

This interview and parliamentary debate coinciding today with a Deloitte report, which shows Newcastle United had the 19th highest revenues in World football last season.

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah talking to The Times about what happened when Mike Ashley agreed to meet her:

“It’s clear he (Mike Ashley) feels very strongly in his own defence, so it’s not a matter of indifference to him that he’s seen as the cause of Newcastle’s malaise as well as seen as undermining the city and asset-stripping the club — that matters to him. He and the people around him think he’s the victim of misrepresentation, that he hasn’t taken any money out of the club.

“We disagreed strongly. He didn’t convince me. Most worrying, in my view, is that he has no intention of investing significantly into the club. He said to me at one point, ‘Would you put all your money into it?’ But this isn’t just any company, it’s a huge part of our city. I would have recognised I was buying a cultural asset that required investment. One of his people said, ‘But he has invested.’ Buying the club wasn’t investment, it was buying something. Giving the club loans isn’t investment.

“Mr Ashley said the club can only spend what it generates but, as I’ll say in the debate, that is a form of austerity economics — a club needs investment to reach its potential.”

mike ashley

“People who haven’t lived in Newcastle might think it’s exaggeration or cliché, but you cannot overestimate the club’s importance to the city.

“It’s economic — when the team is doing well, people spend more — but it’s a sense of identity and self-worth as well.

“We’re a great city, the eighth largest in the country, and we only have one football team, so everybody — with a few exceptions — supports that team. It’s about pride, culture. Newcastle is the club and the club is Newcastle. That’s how it should be anyway.

“We haven’t won any domestic silverware since 1955, so we know about failure, we know about losing, but we want hope. This is about the slow destruction of what we believe in. It’s not just about Mike Ashley, it’s also about the money that has flooded into football, but we want a club that is looking upwards and outwards and is trying, going for something, not just dancing around the relegation zone. When there’s no investment and no vision, it’s soul-destroying.”

“I get so many letters and emails from fans saying they’re seriously looking at cancelling their season tickets and I just know what it means to people. They shouldn’t have to choose between their love and making a point to Mike Ashley.”

(A big recommendation to read the full excellent article/interview, you can find it here and it is a simple free registration to be able to read the article for free)

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