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Mike Ashley pet journalist says new Newcastle Saudi owners should be allowed to spend beyond FFP rules

5 months ago
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When it comes to Mike Ashley getting his Newcastle United PR propaganda out, Martin Samuel has been his most trusted route.

The ‘highlight’ of this by the man from The Mail, was when he facilitated Ashley’s lengthy attack on Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans back in July 2019.

Mike Ashley using his journalist friend to accuse Rafa Benitez of only being interested in money as his driving force, that it had been greed that led Rafa to leave Newcastle and go to China, not Ashley repeatedly undermining him and refusing to honour the promises the owner had made regarding transfer spending.

In this embarrassing PR statement from Mike Ashley put out by Martin Samuel on 26 July 2019, it included the classic about Joelinton, how Rafa Benitez had refused to agree to the £43m purchase of the Brazilian even though Ashley said he’d promised to pay £23m of the purchase price out of his own pocket. The NUFC owner using this as the prime evidence of Rafa refusing to stay even though Ashley was promising to personally fund this brilliant goalscorer (whose best ever league season had been eight goals in the Austrian League.

Mike Ashley putting out through Martin Samuel: ‘Rafa valued him at £20m. So that’s what would come out of the club budget. The rest, £23m – I’ll pay. And he still didn’t sign it off. Looking back, I think he knew for a long time he was going to China because it was like we couldn’t do anything. Joelinton was the test.’

Now we are a year on from that and Samuel is talking about Newcastle United again.

He has revealed that on 9 March 2020, Newcastle United were one of nine Premier League clubs, along with Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves and Burnley, who wrote to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) arguing Man City should be excluded from the Champions League until their ban appeal was heard.

Martin Samuel says that the clubs were in the mistaken belief that Man City were trying to drag things out so that any ban decision would be made after they had been allowed to start another CL campaign next (2020/21) season. Whereas in fact the opposite was true, Man City wanting it sorted ASAP and no doubt confident, as was proved yesterday, that they would overturn the ban for alleged FFP offences.

Samuel arguing that it is obvious what the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea were up to, as they are desperate to hold on to their power of long established financial strength in the PL era, not wanting to allow Man City the chance of getting even stronger, nor allowing others to potentially do the same. Though more difficult to explain why exactly Leicester, Wolves, Newcastle and Burnley were doing signing the letter to try and stop Man City being allowed to qualify for the Champions League due to their 2019/20 PL finish.

Moving on from that though, interesting to see Mike Ashley’s man Martin Samuel then passionately arguing that the current powerful and rich clubs shouldn’t be allowed to make it all but impossible for other clubs to compete, with the help of large initial investment in particular, that would break the current FFP rules.

Samuel using Newcastle United as the prime example once the Saudi PIF takeover is completed: ‘If Saudi Arabian investment now makes Newcastle a force, how is that bad for the game? Don’t Newcastle fans deserve that? Isn’t the city worthy?’

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Martin Samuel writing in The Mail:

‘Owner investment does not kill competition: it creates more.

The big lie of FFP is that clubs should grow organically. Yet how is that possible if a middling organisation cannot invest further to compete, while its best players are poached?

Southampton could have been an outstanding team across the last decade, maybe another Leicester, but were denuded by Liverpool and others. FFP kills challengers.

There is no other industry that does not allow competition from companies injecting capital to improve performance and output.

If Saudi Arabian investment now makes Newcastle a force, how is that bad for the game? Don’t Newcastle fans deserve that? Isn’t the city worthy?

Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, AC Milan — there won’t be room for too many others after that lot grab their share. Paris Saint-Germain might get a pass but only because Qatar, through beIN Sports, own the game.

Newcastle, Wolves, Tottenham, Everton, Leicester, Leeds, Sunderland, Aston Villa — there is no room for them at this table. And the fact one or more might even hope or begin to emulate City is what terrifies the cabal.’

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