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Guillem Balague – Mike Ashley despises Newcastle United fans and the feeling is mutual

2 years ago

An interesting take on things at Newcastle United and Mike Ashley in particular.

Writing about the imminent takeover and other issues surrounding NUFC, Guillem Balague has been giving people in Spain an idea of how things stand at St James Park.

The journalist explaining why the takeover has to happen, declaring that Mike Ashley ‘despises’ the Newcastle fans and that feeling is most definitely mutual.

Last week, Guillem Balague stated that his information was that the Saudi PIF financed bidders had a shortlist of four to replace Steve Bruce, now he has repeated that stance. Saying Pochettino is still top choice, with Rafa Benitez, Nagelsmann and Allegri also under consideration.

Interesting to see Balague say that whilst the Saudis may not be seen as ideal owner by many outsider, the way the Premier League is set up means that: ‘there are no serious processes to prevent the arrival of dubious money’ in his opinion.

When it comes to how quickly Newcastle United could progress under ambitious new owners, he points to FFP as a factor that will make it more difficult and potentially take longer.

He points to Newcastle being able to make an average loss of £26.8m (30m euros) per season to stay inside FFP rules. They are the FFP rules  for European competition, when it comes to Premier League FFP rules, they allow up to an average £35m per season loss to be funded by owners, which doesn’t include money spent on the Academy or infrastructure (St James Park, training complex etc).

Football finance experts have estimated that due to Mike Ashley insisting on profits not investment, NUFC could spend up to £150m this summer on players as allowed losses of £35m per season are average over a three year period – £105m maximum in total over 36 months.

Guillem Balague writing in the Sport:

‘The Newcastle fans are about to get rid of an owner who despises them.

The feeling is mutual, of course. Mike Ashley believes that he has done a lot for the club (investing his time and money, mainly) and that this should be returned in appreciation and acceptance of his strange decisions.

I am not talking about vomiting over a fireplace after a new night of drunkenness in a city pub , but rather, for example, not renewing Rafa Benítez despite the fact that he was looking for a better performance from the club. After several sale attempts, he is about to hand over ownership to a Saudi consortium led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who will own 80 percent of the club. 

The idea is to make a Manchester City (acquired by Qatari royalty) and not so much a PSG (in the hands of the Abu Dhabi government), that is to say to make all the possible investment in the squad but also to create a spectacular infrastructure that improves the club and the city.

Financial fair play will prevent Newcastle from becoming a City at the same speed as Manchester because they were able to start the transformation before the economic limits imposed by UEFA and the Premier reached.

Newcastle will be able to spend a net €30million (£26.8m) a year (the difference between revenue and expenses) over the next three seasons. Although the buyer will send in the market due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus, it will cost to pay for great figures to reach a team that today is one of the ten worst in the Premier. Gareth Bale, one of the footballers who has sounded the most to reinforce the magpies, to begin with, will not go there.

In any case they want to convince a prestigious coach to give the impression that they are serious. Mauricio Pochettino is first on the list, followed by Rafa Benítez, Massimiliano Allegri and Julian Nagelsmann.

The entry of governments from affluent countries has changed the internal rules of soccer; historical clubs, let’s say, can no longer compete against them. Saudi Arabia has an aggravating factor: it has a trail of attacks on human rights and ethical doubts that make it truly difficult to applaud the face-lift they seek in the Premier.

But it will take advantage of the fact that the English League reinvented itself to obtain economic benefits; that is, there are no serious processes to prevent the arrival of dubious money.’


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