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Major blow for Mike Ashley at Newcastle United – Government cash now blocked

2 weeks ago
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A major blow for Mike Ashley today.

The 30 September 2021 bringing to an end the Newcastle United Furlough.

Mike Ashley no longer able to take money from the Government (the taxpayers in reality) to pay the wages of many of his staff.

The furlough scheme now brought to an end, with September 2021 the final month that business could use (and abuse) the covid assistance.

The scheme was never ever intended to be used by multi-billionaire owners of Premier League clubs.

However, Mike Ashley was very quick, even in the early stages of the virus crisis, to take every advantage for himself throughout his money making empire, 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 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 and their mega-rich owners taking advantage of it and shameful that multi-billionaire Mike Ashley took full advantage and continued to do so right through, taking taxpayers money instead of impacting his own own billions of wealth.

Moving into the 2020/21 season and Mike Ashley continued to use taxpayers money to pay many of his non-playing staff.

Earlier this month (9 September 2021) the Government made the latest furlough figures available and named the businesses that were still claiming.

These latest Government figures refer to money claimed by businesses in June 2021 (the release of figures always running a few months behind).

The Government Furlough figures are always banded and Mike Ashley and Newcastle United have consistently claimed between £100,001 and £250,000 for staff, month after month throughout 2021.

However, there was a significant change in those latest Newcastle United Furlough update from the Government, as their figures showed Mike Ashley claiming between £25,001 and £50,000 for NUFC staff in June 2021.

With the figures being banded, what we can tell is the amount of Newcastle United Furlough cash claimed by Ashley from taxpayer cash at least halved (minimum it was in May 2021 being £100,0001, whilst the maximum it could have been in June was £50,000). The drop could of course be far larger, potentially dropping from as high as £250,000 in May 2021 to £25,001 in June 2021.

Still a disgrace that a multi-billionaire Premier League football club owner was still accessing taxpayers money in this way, whatever the amount is.

Of course, Mr Transparency Mike Ashley and the club have never even publicly acknowledged that Newcastle United have any furloughed employees, even though month after month the Government figures have shown this to be the case.

Quite ironic when you factor in Mike Ashley calling the Premier League a disgrace for not allowing transparency with regard to the Newcastle United takeover hearing.

When the figures for the final three months of furlough (July, August and September 2021) are publushed, little doubt Mike Ashley will have taken advantage of taxpayer money right up to the bitter end to help pay his Newcastle United staff.

You really wouldn’t put it past Mike Ashley that with the Government cash handout ending, he would then seek to make some of his (already skeleton) staff jobless, instead of taking responsibility again for paying the wages of some of the club’s lowest paid staff.

When the 2019/20 NUFC accounts were eventually published in August, just as the 2021/22 season was set to kick-off(!), they showed that Mike Ashley had taken almost £1.2m of furlough cash from taxpayers to help pay his NUFC staff. That would have been for five months of furlough at the most (March – July 2020), as the accounts were up until the end of July 2020.

Interesting to see what the final figure will be, as 14 more months of furlough cash has been available to claim for businesses to pay staff, we know Mike Ashley has taken advantage of at least 11 of those additional 14 months and very surprising of course, if it hasn’t been the final three as well.

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