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If Newcastle United recruitment team are indeed on furlough again, it would explain a lot

3 weeks ago
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The question has to be, are the Newcastle United scouting and recruitment team all on furlough again.

If this is indeed the case, it would explain so much.

Only nine days until the Newcastle United squad return for pre-season and absolutely no indication of any moves to try and sign anybody, never mind actual signings.

You may laugh at the idea of Mike Ashley putting his entire recruitment and scouting team on furlough BUT he has already done this before!

Mike Ashley was proud to be the first ever Premier League owner to exploit the government’s job retention scheme, passing responsibility to the taxpayer to financially look after non-playing staff via the furlough scheme.

Newcastle United doing this back in March 2020, as soon as the scheme opened to help businesses and their staff.

The scheme was not aimed at Premier League football clubs and a number of other clubs, including Tottenham and Liverpool, announced an intention to take taxpayers’ money, only to be shamed into not doing so. The only PL club last season who did use furlough were Norwich City, a club who were all but relegated already by that point when the virus hit and furlough was launched to help preserve jobs that might otherwise disappear.

Fifteen months later and Newcastle United still have refused to comment whatsoever on the furlough scheme, or admit they are using it. However, NUFC staff have provided details to media, plus information is now provided by government each month showing how much each business / football club is claiming.

One of the most staggering revelations from the media last year, was the revelation Mike Ashley had put the entire Newcastle United scouting and recruitment team on furlough, including its chief, Steve Nickson.

Nickson eventually was taken off furlough and first team scout Mick Tait was another who after some months off was reported to have returned back to work last year.

However, at the start of September 2020, the Chronicle revealed that astonishingly, an unspecified number of the scouting and recruitment team would be kept on furlough right to the very end of the government scheme which would close at the end of October 2020, this would mean they would miss the entire summer 2020 transfer window that had kicked off later of course, due to the 2020/21 season starting later.

The Chronicle said that amongst the members of the recruitment team still kept on furlough was European scout Paul Baker. Quite incredible just how Mickey Mouse the running of Newcastle United was / is.

The furlough scheme was of course extended by the government and is set to now close totally by September 2021.

Amongst those seemingly set to exploit the full eighteen months stretch of it, is Mike Ashley.

The official government monthly release, shows which companies that continue to use the scheme. Month after month Newcastle United feature on it. June 2021 brought the latest figures, these were for March 2021 (the published figures always run three months behind), they showed Mike Ashley continuing as normal with countless non-playing staff on furlough, having claimed between £100,001 and £250,000 that particular month.

Running Newcastle United with such a skeleton staff anyway, the options aren’t so numerous anyway. So, would it be that much of a surprise if indeed some, or even all, of the Newcastle United scouting and recruitment team are on furlough?

Mike Ashley seems to have zero interest in allowing much, if any, action in the 2021 summer transfer window, and indeed all we are hearing is moves to sign up most / all of the players who were here last season and who were due to end their current deals on 30 June 2021.

Mike Ashley seems totally occupied / focused on his dream of selling the club to the Saudis for far more than it is actually worth and is praying his arbitration move on the Premier League might magically be the key to allowing that to happen.

As usual though, in the meantime he appears to be on his usual quest to ensure not a penny is spent by NUFC that it doesn’t have to be, no work on the infrastructure / facilities, or the Academy, plus of course nothing spent on new players as yet.

If Mike Ashley has little or no interest in allowing any signings to come in, you wouldn’t then be surprised if his logic was then to think, why should I bother paying a scouting and recruitment team?

If you think not buying a single player in a transfer window would be unbelievable, for Mike Ashley it wouldn’t be.

If you recall, from February 2013 until the summer 2014 transfer window opened, Newcastle United didn’t buy a single player, the entire summer 2013 and January 2014 windows seeing not one single permanent signing.

If you ever think there are depths that surely Newcastle United won’t sink to, Mike Ashley is the man to prove you wrong!

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