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Opinion

Proof of Mike Ashley short-termism approach in running Newcastle United now

2 months ago
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It is nothing new for Newcastle fans to be worried and/or angry about the way Mike Ashley runs the football club.

His lack of ambition combined with disastrous decision making brought two relegations in the NUFC owner’s first seven Premier League seasons.

Yet still the enemies of our football club and (often Mike Ashley PR controlled) clueless/integrity-less pundits/commentators will tell us we are lucky to have such an owner.

‘Look you have 31 points and haven’t been in the Championship since 2017, what have you got to complain about…’

One of the biggest criticisms/observations for a number of years was that the overwhelming Mike Ashley model was to buy young players from weak overseas leagues, in the hope that they will greatly increase in value in the future.

The greatest example of that was in summer 2015 when some £50m+ was spent on two 20 year olds, a 22 year old and a 24 year old from the leagues in Belgium, France and Holland.

It was a success in terms of a profit shown when these four were later sold BUT of course it was in reality a financial and football disaster overall, as relying on so many young inexperienced players, new to the Premier League, helped bring about instant relegation for a team that had survived only on the final day the previous season.

However, what many/most fans don’t realise is that the Mike Ashley model has completely changed.

Instead of playing a ‘long game’ of hoping to reap player profits in future years, the heart of Ashley’s model now is pure short-termism.

Some relentless optimists will hope this short-termism is to do with making the club as attractive as possible to a buyer, however, it simply looks to me like Mike Ashley looking for a way to spend as little as possible whilst trying to survive season to season, plus minimising as much as possible any longer-term financial commitments.

The past five transfer windows have seen Newcastle United bring in 19 signings, I have divided these 19 deals into two lists:

Dubravka, Kenedy, Slimani, Rondon, Kenedy, Barreca, Willems, Carroll, Rose, Lazaro, Benteleb

Dubravka, Fernandez, Muto, Schar, Almiron, Ki, ASM, Joelinton, Krafth

That first list of 11, all of them were brought in on deals with a contract of 12 months or less, in fact 7 of the 11 came in on contracts of only the last few remaining months of a season.

You can then also point out that Ki and Fernandez were only given two year contracts, which leaves only seven deals across five transfer windows where players were contracted for more than two years.

The combination of loans and free transfers, plus a lifting of the resistance to older players (just so long as they don’t expect long contracts!), sees Mike Ashley trying to scrape Newcastle along the very bottom of the survival line.

When you add this to the refusal of Mike Ashley to offer acceptable new contracts to pretty much any player (Dubravka the only existing player to sign a new deal in over a year), it makes it no surprise that the owner isn’t even willing to offer decent long-term contracts to the Longstaff brothers.

You could say that ASM and Almiron are a couple of players who fall into the buy young from weaker leagues and hope they increase in value but they are rare exceptions.

As for Joelinton, like the rest of you I don’t have a clue as to why Mike Ashley was insistent that the club had to spend £40m (Ashley says it was £43m) on a striker who doesn’t score many goals and who doesn’t even like going in the box too often.

Short-termism rules (as it does also of course when it comes to a refusal to allow investment in the infrastructure – Academy, St James Park, training complex etc) and it looks like you had better get used to it, at least until we see the back of Mike Ashley.

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