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Mike Ashley and Newcastle United situation further exposed as Premier League rival makes statement

6 months ago
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It is now 33 days since Newcastle United last played a game of football, a 1-0 win against 10 men at Southampton.

That game putting the Magpies 13th in the table, one point and one place higher than the Saints.

However, reading today’s news, off the pitch Southampton and Newcastle United are worlds apart.

Premier League clubs agreed last week that they were going to ask players in all 20 squads to take ASAP a 30% drop in wages, 10% of that to be a wage cut and 20% deferred until a later date (when/if the season can be completed).

However, this collective initiative fell on stony ground for some, very quickly there were widespread reports stating that some squads/players were refusing to entertain this idea because of fears unscrupulous owners would take advantage.

Newcastle fans and many neutrals instantly assuming that Mike Ashley was top of this list. Players wanting guarantees on what would happen with any money saved and/or who would benefit.

With no Premier League-wide agreement, squads/players have been negotiating on a club by club basis over proposed wage cuts.

At Southampton they have quickly come to an agreement, with clearly mutual trust and respect playing a key part.

What they have agreed is:

Manager, coaching staff and players will all defer part of their salaries for the next three months.

The club WON’T exploit the government’s furlough scheme and get taxpayers to pay staff.

Normal staff (not players etc) will be paid 100% of their normal wages by Southampton as normal at least until the end of June.

In their public statement, Southampton say ‘Everyone at the club remains fully committed to the community we value so highly in Southampton.’

They then end with ‘We March On. Together’, all admirable stuff and just what is needed in these very difficult times.

Then we have Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.

When Oscar Wilde talked about somebody who know ‘The price of everything and the value of nothing’, he must have had a premonition of Mike Ashley in the future.

Is it possible for an owner to have been more divisive and brought shame on a football club than Ashley has in recent weeks with Newcastle United?

You know it all but just in case…as well as all of the Sports Direct disgrace that gets attached to us, at NUFC Ashley has refused to pay casual matchday staff as normal as other Premier League clubs have done despite no matches played, first PL club to exploit the furlough scheme and make the government/taxpayer financially support NUFC staff, continue to take monthly advance payments from fans for 2020/21 season tickets despite no idea when that season will be starting, taking FULL season ticket payments for 2020/21 from many fans on 25 March by direct debit, refused to allow any official NUFC statements to fans explaining/justifying any of the above, furloughing entire media team so no interaction/distraction for fans including no 3pm Saturday retro games…

I have seen far worse Newcastle teams than we have now BUT as for the running of the club and treatment of fans, it has been poor in the past but nothing close to this shameful existence under Mike Ashley.

Southampton Official Statement – 9 April 2020:

‘Southampton Football Club has agreed to put in place the following measures as part of its ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In keeping with government advice, all activity at Staplewood Campus, St Mary’s Stadium and our other sites continue to be suspended except for essential activities. This situation will be reviewed at the end of April.

In addition, the board of directors, the first-team manager, his coaching staff and the first-team squad have agreed to defer part of their salaries for the months of April, May and June to help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve.

Furthermore, the club can confirm that it will not use the government’s Job Retention Scheme during April, May and June. Our owners, Mr. Gao and Katharina Liebherr, have put measures in place to ensure that all staff not deferring part of their salaries will continue to receive 100% of their pay, paid in the normal way until 30th June. Any decision on the future beyond this date will be made in advance of this, but only when more information is known.

In these unprecedented times we are dealing with many challenges to our business model and day-to-day operations. The situation is ever-evolving and we will continue to monitor and assess the impact to the club over the coming weeks before deciding any further action necessary.

Everyone at the club remains fully committed to the community we value so highly in Southampton. We will continue to offer our full support to the city of Southampton through the work of the Saints Foundation and provide any further assistance we can.

We ask everyone connected to the club and the city of Southampton to listen and adhere to the government’s advice.

Meanwhile, we will continue to prepare our club for a return to the pitch and make sure that, when safe, we are ready to play and serve the people of Southampton again.

Until then, We March On. Together.’

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