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Opinion

Mike Ashley takes up challenge of beating last summer’s Newcastle United achievements

2 weeks ago
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You have to hand it to Mike Ashley.

When it comes to Newcastle United he is never short on surprises.

Actions certainly speak louder than words when it comes to the owner of NUFC.

What he did in Summer 2018 was pretty astounding…

Not only no net spend on players, actually insisted on a £20m profit on deals in and out.

Only allowed signings that cost less than £10m.

Interfered with Rafa Benitez’ moves in the transfer market, delaying key signings such as Salomon Rondon, meaning signed so late didn’t have a pre-season with NUFC.

Raised season ticket prices in every section of St James Park, with some fans actually paying over 20% more than they had the previous (2017/18) season. This despite the vast majority of other PL clubs keeping price the same, acknowledging it would be wrong to do so due to the huge amounts of money coming into the Premier League clubs via the TV deals.

Refused to allow spending on the new state of the art training complex that in 2013 he said had to be built ASAP, as it was essential if Newcastle United were going to be able to compete.

Refused to allow proper investment in the Academy despite Rafa Benitez saying it was essential to do so.

Thanks to all the actions above, after the 2018 summer transfer window was closed Mike Ashley then paid out to himself £33m from the cash flow of the club.

How can Mike Ashley beat Summer 2019…?

Today is 29th say of the summer 2019 transfer window and no new players brought in so far.

No satisfactory new contract agreed with Rafa Benitez, who sees current deal end in 17 days time.

Repeatedly told media/fans ‘no comment’ on rumoured takeover of the club. Meaning no confirmation/reassurance on any takeover talks even happening, as well as no reassurances on player recruitment or trying to retain Rafa Benitez.

In April it was confirmed there were no plans to even start the work on that new state of the art training complex promised in 2013, that was said then to be essential if NUFC were going to be able to compete.

Now on Wednesday night the club sneaked out the new season ticket prices for the upcoming 2019/20 season. Mike Ashley putting prices up in every section of St James Park.

Apart from the family enclosure and a very small area where category three prices are charged, the cheapest adult season ticket areas are £659 to sit in the Gallowgate and Leazes ends, with it £811 in the East Stand. Making it an average of £34.68 and £42.68 per match respectively, which is obviously committing to a whole season.

If you pay match by match, last season’s prices for the Leazes/Gallowgate seats varied between £35 and £41 depending on the opposition,  between £46 and £53 for the East Stand. I think it is pretty obvious they will go up by a couple of quid thanks to the price rises for the new season. Earlier on Wednesday, Norwich City announced that they had decided none of their fans would pay more than £30 for any ticket.

Yet, Mike Ashley and his people want us to believe that Newcastle United are one of the cheapest in the Premier League…

I have not given up totally on hope on a takeover this summer, but I have to say these season ticket price rises suggest simply more of the same from Mike Ashley, rather than a brave new dawn under ambitious owners buying him out.

My hopes are now resting on this being a final vindictive act by Mike Ashley towards the Newcastle fans, one last twist of the knife.

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