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Opinion

This Mike Ashley statement from 2014 now exposes the real truth at Newcastle United

8 months ago
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Mike Ashley has this (Tuesday) morning given away 10,000 Newcastle United season tickets.

Our very own Santa dishing out early Christmas presents.

What possible negatives could there be when letting in 10,000 fans into St James Park for nothing?

Well, for starters, you would have to be the most naive person in the world to believe that Mike Ashley has done this to benefit anybody but himself.

Filling the 10,000 empty seats is of course about all Ashley’s own personal ‘credibility’ and more importantly his wealth, ensuring a full St James Park as the backdrop to his Sports Direct advertising because thousands of empty seats damages the brand. Empty seats = failure =negativity, no advertiser wants to be associated with that.

The timing is absolutely obvious as well. On Monday, Sports Direct will be no longer, it will become instead known as the ‘Fraser Group’ with immediate effect (Ashley has proposed the change and when the vote happens, he owns two thirds of them!).

A bright new start for the ‘Fraser Group’ after Sports Direct became the byword for disgraceful in business.

The full houses at St James Park will see games played out in front of hundreds of Fraser Group adverts, just wait and see.

Also, who would bet against the ‘Fraser Group Arena’ in the very near future? After all, if you don’t like it, Mike Ashley will always (probably) be able to find somebody else to go to the match for free…

What about how this move to giving 10,000 free season tickets away, affects the health of the football club going forward.

You know, ambition, competing…

I take you back to 2014 and when releasing the 2012/13 accounts, Mike Ashley actually had this included in the accounts:

“Matchday and commercial revenue is a key driver because that is where the club can compete with – and outperform – its competitors to enhance its spending capabilities.”

In the last season (2006/07) before Mike Ashley arrived, the Newcastle United Commercial Revenue was £27.6m.

In the last available NUFC accounts (2017/18 season), Mike Ashley had managed to turn that Commercial Revenue figure into £26.7m

After 11 years it is actually still lower than when he took over NUFC!

All of the other competing clubs have seen major increases in their Commercial Revenue, some of them on a massive scale.

It is all but impossible that Newcastle’s has gone down, especially allowing for inflation and especially the vast increase in the cash that PL clubs can attract overall on a commercial basis.

With TV revenues divided more or less equally, they cannot be affected to a significant effect by clubs, hence Mike Ashley’s statement about Commercial and Matchday revenues being the ‘key driver’ in how Newcastle United are going to ‘outperform’ competitors.

So ask yourself, with Commercial revenue lower than it was over a decade ago, how is then giving away 10,000 season tickets going to allow NUFC to ‘outperform’ rival clubs?

This is a club totally missing any ambition, owned by somebody who simply uses it to make himself richer by the impact NUFC has on his overall business empire.

Ashley’s crass ways and additional incompetence is there for all to see.

Newcastle United is broken until Mike Ashley sells up.

By his own words in 2014 Ashley makes clear there is no way this football club can ‘outperform’ anybody that we should be getting ahead of, at least whilst he remains.

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