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Opinion

Is this the biggest ever Mike Ashley gamble at Newcastle United?

2 weeks ago
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Is the luck Mike Ashley has carried about to run out?

Everyone knows Mike Ashley likes to gamble.

He gambled when he bought Newcastle United without allegedly doing due diligence and now he’s gambling on Newcastle United being able to survive for a fourth season in the Premier League with the minimum of investment.

He’s also gambling that the club is either going to retain or increase in value and he’s gambling on being able to find someone who’s willing to pay his asking price.

These are all big gambles and they may end up costing Mike Ashley a lot of money.

His gamble on Newcastle United being able to retain their Premiership status with the minimum of investment is looking increasingly dubious. Most pundits and bookies are predicting that the club are going to be embroiled in yet another relegation battle.

If you look ahead to four months time when we enter the Christmas period and the winter transfer window, unless we’ve beaten the odds and are in a comfortable position in the table, Mike Ashley will have to make some important decisions.

Does he stick or twist?

Does he loosen the purse strings and try to buy his way out of trouble?

If he does this it may well cost him more than the extra £40 million he was trying to squeeze out of potential buyers and there’s still no guarantee of success.

However, if he decides to just stick with what he’s got it will make relegation a far more likely scenario and then the value of the club could take a dramatic plunge.

Mike Ashley got lucky on our last two relegations as Newcastle had highly competent managers in charge in Chris Hughton and Rafa Benitez, who were able to bring us back up at the first attempt, but there’s no guarantee that this would happen again, especially if Steve Bruce is still our head coach.

Whatever happens, relegation would prove to be an expensive business for Mike Ashley and there’d be no chance of him getting anywhere near the £340 million he wants for the club.

If we do somehow manage to stay up, he will still have to make a decision. Does he stick or twist?

Does he stick and still try to hold out for £340-350 million even though the only buyer who was willing to pay this price was the sovereign wealth fund of an oil rich country and no other investors or billionaires have been willing to stump up that much for the club?

I don’t know what Mike Ashley’s advisers are telling him but everything seems to be on a downward trajectory at the moment, from the number of goals scored to the number of goals conceded, from the age of our squad to the state of our facilities, from the attendances at SJP to the state of the overall economy.

Not only that, but any potential buyer will have to make a significant investment in both the squad and the facilities, if they want to stop the club from being perennial relegation candidates.

If Mike Ashley wants to walk away from Newcastle United with a profit then he will need to set a more realistic asking price. However, it may already be too late.

He may well find that his luck had ran out and hiking up the asking price, whilst at the same time starving the club of investment, is going to cost him a lot of money.

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