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Government confirms Mike Ashley continues to use furlough at Newcastle United – Shameful

5 months ago

Mike Ashley acted disgracefully in the early stages of the virus crisis.

Amongst his actions he used the furlough scheme to pay many of his staff at Newcastle United.

Other Premier League clubs (such as Liverpool and Spurs) went to go down the same route but were quickly shamed into not using taxpayers money to pay their normal (not the players or first team coaching) staff.

In the end, of the 20 clubs in the 2019/20 Premier League only Newcastle United and Norwich City did use the furlough scheme, the Canaries having at least maybe some reason to do so, as they were already all but relegated by that point and had the least well off owners in the top tier.

Newcastle United spent around £35m on new signings in the summer 2020 transfer window, making it a £100m+ net spend on players allowed by Mike Ashley in Steve Bruce’s first three transfer windows.

The furlough scheme was most definitely not set up with the intention of Premier League clubs taking advantage of it and surely Mike Ashley at least must have called a halt to using it after that summer 2020 window.

Apparently not.

An excellent article in The Athletic has been looking at football clubs who have used the furlough scheme.

They were concentrating mainly on clubs in the lower leagues and especially Barrow, who are fighting against relegation from League Two.

Official Government figures have listed the 740,000 companies to have used the furlough scheme in Dec ember 2020 and Barrow were one of the few lower league clubs not to be listed. However, the article goes on to explain how in January, Barrow recruited nine new players for the relegation fight, but at the same time have now furloughed some of the existing players who were already with the club.

However, of particular interest to Newcastle United fans, is when The Athletic article briefly covers 2020/21 Premier League clubs.

They reveal that two of the twenty were listed by the Government as having used the furlough scheme in December 2020.

Sheffield United are one of them, with the other one being…Newcastle United.

Quite outrageous that Mike Ashley is still using taxpayers money to pay his Newcastle United staff this season, especially when he allowed a net spend on players of over £100m since Steve Bruce arrived at the club.

Brief extracts from excellent article on The Athletic regarding clubs using the furlough scheme:

‘Government figures have revealed the identity of 740,000 companies to have used CJRS during December and among them are still the majority of EFL clubs.

Every Championship club barring Bournemouth, Coventry, Reading, Stoke, Swansea and Watford were listed, along with 20 clubs from League One and 20 more from League Two.

The lower league clubs that did not claim furlough for staff in the final weeks of 2020 were Portsmouth, Fleetwood Town, Burton Albion, AFC Wimbledon, Bolton Wanderers, Harrogate Town and Salford City. Barrow completed the set but have since changed their approach.

The number of staff placed on CJRS — and the cost to the taxpayer — is not revealed but football’s dependency on financial support is made clear by the clubs benefitting in a season played predominantly behind closed doors.’

Two from the Premier League…:

‘Liverpool and Tottenham both reversed their initial decisions to use CJRS in light of public pressure but two top-flight clubs did continue to claim back money in December.

Both Sheffield United and Newcastle United were listed in the Government’s records, despite netting in excess of £100 million in TV deals this season.’


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