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Opinion

Chris Waddle says ‘lovely bloke’ Mike Ashley just needs to explain himself to Newcastle United fans

10 months ago
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Chris Waddle has been talking about when he met up with Mike Ashley.

He has only met the NUFC owner on one occasion and says: ‘I thought he was a lovely bloke.’

Chris Waddle thinks that the problem with Ashley, is that he just needs to go public and explain to Newcastle fans what he is trying to achieve at St James Park.

After 13 years I think Newcastle fans are very much aware of what Mike Ashley is trying to achieve at the football club.

Run it as cheaply as possible and try to simply survive in the Premier League, putting down no longer-term building blocks and refusing to allow any investment in the infrastructure, including the Academy, training complex and St James Park.

When he bought the club, Ashley’s people told John Hall that he was doing the deal so he could then use Newcastle United to promote his Sports Direct retail empire worldwide, particularly via the Premier League’s TV deals in the UK and around the globe.

There is no ambition or attempt to progress the club with a long-term plan, just survive for another season to keep Ashley’s retail empire getting the TV exposure and the PL revenue streams flowing in.

As for why the club has not been sold yet, Chris Waddle can’t understand why not and the only guess he can make is that Ashley wants to retain a minority share in NUFC.

For most Newcastle fans it is quite simple, Mike Ashley is not genuinely trying to sell the club and that has been the case these entire last 12 years when Ashley claims he has been trying to sell.

After all, when Newcastle United is such a profitable asset for ‘lovely bloke’ Mike Ashley and brings him so many financial benefits, why on earth would he want to sell the golden goose that keeps on producing?

Chris Waddle talking to the Chronicle about Mike Ashley:

“Newcastle fans would like to see their club sold but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this latest approach from a Saudi group of investors comes to nothing.

“The last two bids came to nothing and that tells you something.

“I have only met Mike Ashley once, after a game against Tottenham and I had a nice chat with him.

“I thought he was a lovely bloke.

“I said to him then that he should be talking to the media more, talking to fans more, trying to explain to them what you are about and what you are trying to achieve, because when you don’t, everyone starts guessing – and most of the guesswork is negative.

“While he might not talk much in public, what I do know about him is that he is a hugely successful businessman who is going to want the right deal for him. 

“My hunch is that when he’s considering a sale he’s trying to hang on to some small share and that is putting potential buyers off.

“Otherwise, what on earth would be standing in the way?”

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