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8 major Mike Ashley Newcastle United claims challenged from Friday night interview (PR Statement)

4 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley is at it again.

Backed into a corner due to his ridiculous running of Newcastle United, the NUFC owner comes out swinging.

Mike Ashley quite literally ‘Says/does what he wants’ and the likes of Martin Samuel at The Mail are happy to give him free rein.

Billed as an interview on Friday night, instead it was simply Mike Ashley allowed to make all kinds of unchallenged shameless claims.

Here below I have challenged a number of them.

Extracts from the Mike Ashley PR statement released through Martin Samuel at The Mail:

This summer’s transfer window:

“I go to the training ground, hot day, all lovely – you can’t help getting carried away,’ he says. ‘I’m like, ‘What can I do to help? Can we get another one in? What’s he like, is he fast?’ It’s one of the amazing things about owning a football club, the way you get caught up. It’s like someone has put something in your coffee. You look around, you want to lift the place, hit the ground running. I hope we’re not finished at Joelinton.”

Quite incredible. You would think Newcastle had a squad bulging with quality already, not one that flew to China and had to take half a dozen kids and a number of players Rafa Benitez had sidelined as not up to standard and was desperate to get out of the club, just to make up the squad.

Newcastle lost half a dozen first team squad players, three of them first choice players and including last season’s two top scorers that scored 23 of the 42 PL goals.

On top of that, a failure to properly Rafa meant that Mike Ashley had ensured a weak squad that had been patched up these past two seasons.

You would think that Joelinton was our sixth big money signing of the summer going off the way Mike Ashley is talking, not the very first of any description this summer coming in only two weeks before the transfer deadline. Now it is only 11 days until the window shuts and two weeks until the season kicks off.

Mike Ashley has ensured what looks like a disastrous transfer window so far.

No manager appointed, only a head coach three weeks before the season starts and only one signing, yet Mike Ashley talks of ‘hitting the ground running’…!!!

Not able to compete…:

“So just on technical kit sponsor alone, we could start more than £90m behind them (top six clubs|), in one year, on one sponsorship. Now add the rest of it up and you’re starting £300m behind Liverpool, or £400m behind Manchester United. To keep up with that? It would wipe me out. I’d be gone. I wouldn’t even be able to afford a season ticket – and it wouldn’t take long.”

This old chestnut. As always, Mike Ashley wants to make out how unreasonable Newcastle fans are because they are expecting to compete financially with the top six.

Lies lies lies. Newcastle are always in the top eight for revenues in the Premier League and the most recent Deloitte list saw NUFC having the 19th highest revenue in the world. Fans want to know why Newcastle aren’t competing with Bournemouth, West Ham, Everton, Brighton, Leicester and others, not Man City and Liverpool.

Putting £10m or £20m in each season:

“It is so much bigger than when I got involved. I thought at the time I could put in £10m, £20m and it would make a big difference. And it would have done. Now – it’s nothing.

The over-riding reality is that I am just not wealthy enough to own Newcastle. I genuinely believe you need £1billion. People say £500m but I’d bet anyone that these days you can’t do it for that. Not to compete at the very top.

‘Manchester City can afford to have an ageing team; they can afford to just write players off. How can we do that? It’s not possible. Therefore you have to go for the best young players and hope they develop that little bit and become world-beaters.”

Mike Ashley has previously talked about his plan of putting £20m in each season to help subsidise the club finances.

He says this but funnily enough has never ever done this in any of the 12 years he has owned it, funny that.

Need somebody to put in £1billion;

“But to compete, I need someone to take Newcastle off me who literally wants to put in £1billion.

“So I have to assume I will stay running this football club. There are no offers. Define an offer. I’m not a believer any more. Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I’m never doing that again. I think I could own this football club for ever. That is my new mental state. The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it’s not done, it’s probably not going to get done.

‘The day someone buys Newcastle, they’ll do their due diligence – and finished. It will happen like Manchester City. By the time the media find out, it’s already complete. There’s no need for a delay with Newcastle. It is, honestly, a very well-run football club.

‘The last bid, the one from UAE, he’s a prince and he’s got £38bn or £100bn, all these numbers — well, why would you even care what you’re paying then? What difference would £10m either way make? You would want speed, you would want certainty, you would want the keys and to get on with it.

‘I will not stand in the way of Newcastle United. I will not stop that, if it happens.”

Mike Ashley and his people have repeatedly said that there were other serious bidders in the background, a number of them having done due diligence, yet nobody ever ends up buying Newcastle United. A club that as been up for sale for 11 years.

Yet the vast majority of other major clubs have changed hands in the same time period some of them a number of times.

The only reason NUFC has not been sold is because Mike Ashley has no intention of doing so.

Didn’t do due diligence…:

‘Ashley was a home and away England fan who was in the Azteca Stadium for the Hand of God and Turin for Gazza’s Tears, who floated Sports Direct in 2007 and heard Newcastle United was on the market. Nobody thought he could get it and he was so keen to prove them wrong that, famously, he didn’t even bother with due diligence and missed some Tyne Bridge-sized holes in the accounts.’

This lazy assertion by Martin Samuel is just ridiculous. A lie that keeps on being repeated.

Mike Ashley cynically created a major debt from the club to himself when he bought Newcastle United.

Claims that ‘he didn’t even bother with due diligence and missed some Tyne Bridge-sized holes in the accounts’ are laughable.

The mortgage of around £50m that was still left to be paid off from the SJP redevelopment was written in big letters in the headline accounts. The same with money still owed for players previously purchased, that also forms part of the headline figures of accounts, as well as money still owed by other clubs for players bought from NUFC.

Mike Ashley will have 100% known that these things existed when he bought the club and they form the bulk of the ‘debt’ he now has in the NUFC accounts as being owed to him.

The only possible smaller amount he could feasibly have missed, was the fact that Hall and Shepherd had taken sponsorship money all up front, instead of payments coming in each year.

Very ‘exciting’ to appoint Kevin Keegan but…:

“…you can have Kevin Keegan as your manager – well, it’s very exciting, isn’t it? And I’m a bit of an excitable bloke and I loved it, I found it amazing that he was ours.

‘But this was modern Newcastle, building for the future, and he wanted these older players that he knew. That wasn’t what we needed.” 

So Mike Ashley was very excited to bring in a brilliant manager like Kevin Keegan and then completely dismissed his professional opinion. Not only that but lying to Keegan that he would have control of transfers but instead secretly giving that control to Dennis Wise, Keegan blocked from bringing in his choice of signings, whilst the likes of Xisco and Gonzalez signed without his agreement.

Then we are supposed to believe Mike Ashley over Rafa Benitez….

No repayments…:

“I could say to Lee Charnley, our managing director, I’ll have £10m, £12m. But a good custodian will make every penny count. No interest, no repayments. So in that way I’m a good custodian. Being there when disaster strikes and we go into the Championship and we need someone to write a cheque to put into the football club, I’m good – no question. If we’re talking PR, it’s the exact opposite. So on financial stability, producing a professionally run football club, proper accounts, proper cash flows, proper accountability – five out of five, very good. On PR – very bad.”

No repayments, really???

Mike Ashley had previously taken money back out of the club and after blocking Rafa Benitez having any net spend last summer, Ashley then took £33m out of the cashflow as a ‘repayment’, almost bringing about a third relegation from 10 Premier League seasons in charge.

Steve Bruce ‘He’s one of their own’…:

“For me, Steve is an amazing choice because, England aside, there is no other job for him. This is his dream. What I want the fans to understand is that, in him, they have someone who absolutely cares. He’s not worried about his expenses, all that crap. He wants to talk about Newcastle. I get excited by that.

“I expected the negative reaction to Rafa leaving, I thought it would be very bad. But I was shocked by the reaction to Steve. He doesn’t deserve it. He’s one of their own. I don’t think the fans quite realise what they’ve got because I’m hoping he’s the one.

“And now I’ve got a manager saying, “Let me get on with it. Just let me get on with it – I won’t let you down”. I’m thinking, “I’m definitely having that”. He gets it. He comes in: “The cups? Yeah, we go for them”.

Mike Ashley is quite right of course ‘there is no other job’ for Steve Bruce because not a single other Premier League club would have even considered him for a job this summer.

So we are supposed to believe that if Manchester United now offered Steve Bruce the manager’s job, he wouldn’t be off like a shot???

Steve Bruce is ‘one of their own’, what on earth is that all about? Newcastle fans have never demanded a manager who is also a fan and instead just want the best possible person for the job, which isn’t Bruce.

Mike Ashley had an official club policy of not trying in cups and then an unofficial one where it was impossible because he refused to allow proper backing for Rafa Benitez.

Rafa wanted to be backed so he could build a squad that could get established in the top eight be able to compete in cups. A manager who knows what it takes to win the Champions League, La Liga (twice), the FA Cup, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup,  the Europa League (twice)…

Then you have Steve Bruce who has won not a single thing as a manger saying ‘I won’t let you down…The Cups? Yeah, we go for them’, words are easy but reality is very different, as we have repeatedly found out with Mike Ashley.

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