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Opinion

Will Mike Ashley pay me the money he owes and if not will I get a place on the NUFC board?

5 months ago
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With too much spare time on my hands and with nowhere to go, I found myself clearing out the loft.

While doing so , I came across an old tatty folder .

In it were statements for an old Access card and the Midland bank, both now long gone, plus a couple of tickets for a Simple Minds / Stranglers concert at Gateshead stadium. Oh…and a share certificate.

The share certificate was for 370 shares in a football club called Newcastle United.

Now if you are under forty years old then it probably doesn’t mean a lot to you but back around 1996 leading into 1997, Newcastle United was in the process of being “sold to the people”…

Our owner, John Hall, was offering the fans the chance to buy into the Barcelona of the North.

There was a huge demand for the shares and my request caused a massive rift with my wife. She felt there was much better things to do with our money than buy into a football club, but in those days when it came to this club, I didn’t think straight.

Very luckily, despite asking for two thousand pounds worth, I was only given the minimum 500 quids worth of shares as they were oversubscribed (Newcastle fans only allowed to buy around 10% of the club). Phew!

Looking at the certificate, it brought back so many memories of a wonderful time and it got me thinking. What if Hall had decided to just leave things as they were 24 years ago and not float the club.

I remember the euphoria of watching us destroy Spurs 7-1 and then next game beat Leeds 3-0, getting back into the title race that season as we moved into 1997.

And I still do, but the share flotation scheme changed everything, because we all know what happened, it led to us losing Keegan and getting Dalglish.

Why Mr Hall? Why did you do it?

Let me make a wild stab in the dark. To make lots of money?

This was a time when our club were really a force to be reckoned with. A real force. So good I wanted to invest my own cash in them.

It wasn’t a hard decision to make. Investing in a side with Shearer, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Ginola etc. What was there to discuss with wifey ?

So I guess my question is to the new generation of 30 to 40 year olds out there, if Mike Ashley decided to sell to the people, even if it was a 51 per cent controlling interest, would there be a desire to invest?

It’s far easier to do it when the product is beautiful but with what’s likely to be a hideous year or two ahead for the economy, would we really see 150,000 people stomp up 1,000 pounds, which would be 150 million by my old brain.

I seriously doubt it. So sadly the idea of the fans owning the club is now nothing more than a pipedream. We have to be owned by a man like Mike Ashley….. Just preferably not Ashley.

However, will current and future financial events see the Premier League crash and burn? Would you care?

I don’t think I would. There is something sick about a club furloughing it’s backroom staff and then still operating normally when it comes to buying players and paying massive wages.

I don’t like being part of it.

Maybe I am just being naive but would I enjoy watching my team made up of journeyman like Wharton and Anderson again, rather than hugely paid stars like Shelvey and Joelinton.

I think I would, as there was always the chance that they would find players like Lee Clark, Steve Watson and Rob Elliott again.

Wouldn’t you love to see a team with that flair in a black and white shirt once more?

I think its basically what keeps us from giving up completely on the club. The dream of those times around 1996. Just without King Kenny turning up this time

As you well know, our shares were bought back….at a loss of course, when Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United, once Ashley bought up the major shareholdings he could then force the sale of all remaining shares owned by ordinary fan shareholders. I think my £500 of shares were worth in the end about £350 but I could be wrong.

That’s because mine were not bought back because I lost the bloody share certificate.

Until now.

So do you reckon Mike Ashley will pay me the money he owes me?

If not, am I entitled to a seat on the board?

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