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Mike Ashley gets £769m boost but still claims furlough on Newcastle United staff from taxpayers

3 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley has always been keen to talk about the extra pressures and impact of the virus on his business empire.

Well I wouldn’t mind having these kind of Ashley stresses and pressures on me.

During the last year during the pandemic, it has now been revealed that Mike Ashley has seen his wealth rise by a massive £769m.

The 2021 Sunday Times rich list now putting the Newcastle United owner up from number 75 in the UK to 61st richest, now worth £2.718bn.

The Sunday Times revealing that during this year of financial struggle for so many, there have been more new billionaires created during the pandemic than in any year since this Sunday Times Rich List was launched 33 years ago.

In 2020 they listed 147 billionaires and now there are 171, 24 more, whilst between these UK billionaires, their combined fortunes have risen by 22% up to £597.269bn.

The Ukranian born oil and media magnate Sir Leonard Blavatnik is the richest person in the country with £23bn.

Whilst in second place are brothers David and Simon Reuben, after their fortune grew by a massive £5.46bn to £21.46bn.

The Reubens of course being part of the Saudi / Amanda Staveley grouping attempting to take over Newcastle United.

As for Mike Ashley, it is quite shameful that as his fortune has risen at an incredible rate during this time of virus crisis, he has taken taxpayers money throughout to pay so many of his non-playing and coaching staff.

Not just last season but this one as well, the latest official Government figures are for February 2021 and that month they showed Mike Ashley claiming between £100,000 and £250,000 for that month in furlough payments in relation to Newcastle United staff.

Other Premier League clubs (such as Liverpool and Spurs) went to go down the same route last season 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 already all but relegated by that point and had the least well off owners in the top tier.

The furlough scheme was most definitely not set up with the intention of Premier League clubs taking advantage of it and shameful that multi-billionaire Mike Ashley took advantage of it. Especially in light of today’s news on his finances.

Moving into the current season and Mike Ashley has continued to use taxpayers money to pay many of his non-playing staff.

The Athletic reported earlier this month that their information was that Mike Ashley has continued to receive taxpayers money since the latest available Government stats showing February payouts.

Mike Ashley and the club have never publicly acknowledged that Newcastle United have furloughed employees, even though month after month the Government figures are showing this to be the case.

With Mike Ashley banning the official Newcastle United Fans Forum (last one held in September 2018) which they had set up to satisfy Premier League regulations, it meant / means no longer could fans raise such questions with the club hierarchy directly.

A month after Steve Bruce arrived at Newcastle United, ahead of his first ever competitive game in charge, Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley pledged to herald in a new era of openness and clarity for fans. In the match programme Charnley apologising on behalf of himself and the owner because the communication with fans had been nowhere near good enough.

Very predictably, these promises haven’t been kept, Mike Ashley and his minions refusing to be open about what is happening at the club, with communication to fans almost non-existent. As well as having taken away that Fans Forum mechanism for Newcastle supporters to ask whatever questions they wanted to raise about the running of the club, through the forum fan representatives.

Mike Ashley has been a disaster for Newcastle United and for example, the infrastructure (St James Park, training ground, Academy etc) seeing less spent on it than any other Premier League owner has done at their club, as per this recently publish table from the Swiss Ramble (a football business specialist):

Not only has Mike Ashley been a disaster for Newcastle United as an owner, I am also embarrassed that our football club and city has any connection to us whatsoever.

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