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Mike Ashley can’t afford to pay cleaners but £35m/£40m ‘bids’ – Something doesn’t add up at Newcastle

5 months ago
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Mike Ashley has been conspicuous by his absence these past couple of weeks.

Attacked on all sides for his shameful behaviour during this crisis, the Sports Direct controlling shareholder and NUFC owner fled to his Miami mansion.

However, his decisions and actions linger on, certainly where Newcastle United are concerned.

On 30 March 2020 it saw the Chronicle report:

‘Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has taken the decision to place the majority of his work force on furlough leave.

Staff are believed to have been informed via an email from Lee Charnley on Monday morning as the UK got ready for week two of lockdown caused by the virus pandemic.

Staff were pointed in the direction of the governments Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which gives workers 80% of their wages back up to a maximum of £2,500 per month…drastic move by Ashley…understood to have told staff that the decision was to safeguard the club’s future.’

Just read that last bit again…’told staff that the decision was to safeguard the club’s future.’

So Mike Ashley was forced to stop paying the cleaners minimum wage at St James Park and pass responsibility instead to the taxpayers (me and you), as the alternative could be the club going to the wall?

Do any of you actually believe this nonsense?

In April 2019, Lee Charnley said there was £61m to spend on players this season plus any cash from sales, by that reckoning there should be close on £30m unspent based on the transfers in and out.

Indeed, Steve Bruce stated at the end of January, only two months before the furloughing of NUFC staff, that Newcastle United had offered around £40m+ for a mystery midfielder, later revealed to be Boubakary Soumare of Lille.

To pay the furloughed ordinary staff who are not players or senior coaching team at St James Park, for say three months (April, May and June), I would guess you are talking a couple of million at the very most, though probably far less in reality.

So how can newspapers and other media blindly/slavishly report / publish that line about needing to stop paying lowly paid staff to safeguard the club’s future, without at the same time totally condemning and ridiculing that embarrassing claim? Steve Bruce says they offered around £40m for Soumare in January so why wouldn’t you be paying these low paid staff hundreds of thousands of pounds between them these next few months, maybe a million or so at the very most.

The inconsistency in the reporting across the media gets even ‘better’, as we now have newspapers carrying reports of ‘bids’ for players.

On the one hand reporting as unquestioning fact that Mike Ashley can’t risk paying his lowest paid staff due to potential financial ruin, yet ‘bids’ of £35m/£40m are being allegedly made for the likes of Soumare, Burnley’s Dwight McNeil and others???

What I see at the end of all this, is as always, Mike Ashley massively exploiting the situation.

Just as he has exploited and abused the government’s job retention/furloughing scheme, when things return to some kind of normality he will be exploiting the virus situation/fallout on a huge scale, unless there is a Newcastle United Takeover…

Mike Ashley will do everything he can to portray himself as the victim, try and make out that it is the players who are greedy and not willing to do the right thing, whilst at the same time be totally milking it from the other end, blaming the virus situation for him not being able (supposedly) to allow any kind of proper investment in the transfer market when things open up again.

The message will be all about cutting back on transfer fees and wages, Mike Ashley knowing full well that it will be a long time before we have sight of the relevant official NUFC club accounts. For the 2018/19 season, Newcastle were one of only two Premier League clubs not to have released their accounts and Mike Ashley has once again exploited a government virus change meant to help companies who need it. Ashley not needing to but choosing to delay the release of those 2018/19 NUFC accounts by another three months to end of June 2020 (should have been end of March 2020 at very latest), Ashley not wanting us to see what he has been up to until as late as possible.

For 13 years now we have seen at close quarters how Mike Ashley operates, everything is about how a situation can benefit him, almost always at the expense of Newcastle United.

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