So how much have we made on transfers during Ashley’s reign?

Mike Ashley fat controller

The other day I wrote an article about our spending and how it stacked up against other clubs during the most recent transfer window.

In fairness I was asked by a few people to do it as they genuinely wanted to know how we compared to the other teams over the course of the summer. I was only to happy to help.

Subsequently I received criticism, from one person I hasten to add, who moaned that the figures for summer spending didn’t tell us more than what the summer spending was. So essentially my article doing exactly what it said it was doing caused someone a problem.

No matter. I can adjust and adapt and I’m quite happy to write another article looking at our transfer spend in a bit more detail to appease this one person. It’s also fairly relevant topic at the moment given that there are all sorts of figures being thrown about, many of them different, detailing just how much has been spent on transfers since Mike Ashley took the reigns back in 2007. Joey Barton seems to think that it’s somewhere in the region of a £59 million profit from player sales for example.

So to establish anything we first need to look at who we’ve brought in during the Ashley years. For the purposes of this article I’m going to leave out free transfers as it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much the ‘hidden’ costs, such as agent fees and signing on fees, actually are. Instead we’ll just look at transfer fees.


Abdoulaye Faye – £2,000,000
Ben Tozer – £250,000
Habib Baye – £2,000,000
Jose Enrique – £6,500,000
Alan Smith – £6,000,000
Joey Barton – £5,800,000

Total = £22,550,000


Jonas Gutierrez – £7,000,000
Fabricio Coloccini – £10,300,000
Danny Guthrie – £2,500,000
Xisco – £5,700,000
Kevin Nolan – £4,000,000

Total = £29,500,000


Danny Simpson – £750,000
Mike Williamson – £1,500,000
Wayne Routledge – £1,500,000
Leon Best – £2,000,000

Total = £5,750,000


James Perch – £1,000,000
Cheik Tiote – £3,500,000
Hatem Ben Arfa – £5,750,000

Total = £10,250,000

2011/2012 (Summer window only)

Yohan Cabaye – £4,500,000
Gabriel Obertan – £3,250,000
Davide Santon – £5,000,000
Rob Elliot – £100,000

Total = £12,850,000

So that takes our spending under Ashley to £80.9m. You can see that our spend in the Championship season was significantly less than at any other time which is perhaps understandable given the players that we had on our books and the costs associated with them coming from a revenue that had taken a battering thanks to the withdrawal of lucrative Premier League TV money.

It doesn’t tell the full story though. I mean to get a picture of where we are truly at we need to look at how much we’ve brought in through player sales under Mike Ashley. Is it really £59 million like Joey Barton proclaims? Is it more? Is it less? Well let’s take a look. Once again I’m only counting fees received.


David Rozenhal – £2,900,000
Albert Luque – £2,00,000
Kieron Dyer – (I don’t know how but) £6,000,000

Total = £10,900,000


Emre – £4,000,000
Abdoulaye Faye – £2,250,000
James Milner – £12,000,000
Shay Given – £7,000,000
Charles N’Zogbia – £6,000,000

Total = £31,250,000


Sebastien Bassong – £10,000,000
Damien Duff – £4,000,000
Obafemi Martins – £9,000,000
Habib Beye – £2,500,000

Total = £25,500,000


Andy Carroll – £35,000,000

Total = £35,000,000


Kevin Nolan – £3,500,000
Jose Enrique – £6,000,000
Wayne Routlegde – £2,200,000

Total = £11,700,000

So when everything is added up it gives us a total of £114,350,000 brought in from transfer fees since Mike Ashley took control of the club. Crunching the numbers further I make that a net profit of £33,450,000. It’s a lot, but it isn’t £59,000,000 in fairness.

I see a worrying trend here however. If you look at how much surplus there is it bears a striking resemblance to the amount we brought in from the sale of Andy Carroll. Now I still firmly believe that Carroll is worth nowhere near £35 million and believe it was one of those fees that was a “one off”. They don’t come along like that often.

However take that one off fee out of the equation and what are you left with? A net spend of roughly zero. This is what is now my major concern.

It’s pretty clear, to me anyway, that what goes out will be recouped from player sales. There is evidence to suggest that this is the case. Cold hard evidence. There is no extra outlay and it’s been a long while since that has been the case.

Now there are of course exceptional circumstances with regards to our outgoing transfers. A lot of players wanted to leave in our relegation season and at the start of our Championship campaign. The reasons for them wanting to leave are probably best left for another article although it’s also worth pointing out that some of them just wanted to go due to the relegation. The other exceptional circumstance is of course Andy Carroll.

Aside from that though the form book looks worrying. I understand the need for financial prudence, but to not outlay a penny is over the top in my opinion. What do we do in January? Do we end up having to sell someone again so we can get three or four cheaper players in with the aim of doing the same thing again in the summer? How do we build a team if that is the case?

To a certain extent the money doesn’t bother me. It never has in fairness. It could 30 bob or 30 million and I wouldn’t give a toss as long as the team was improved as a result. That is my biggest question right now and it’s one I’d like to hear an answer to.

Is there any ambition at all or is it just another “pile em high and sell ’em” venture?

I’m not denying that we’ve signed some good players. In fact I believe that we’ve signed some very good players on paper. What happens if they start showing quality and attracting interest from other clubs though?

We arrive back at square one is my guess. Rinse and repeat.

66 thoughts on “So how much have we made on transfers during Ashley’s reign?

  1. What about Faye, Rozenhal and Best 😉

    Even with them though it only adds about £6.5 million.

    One more thing this article show, we do very well when get fee’s for players!


  2. Dan – Amdy Faye was bought and sold before Ashley and Rozehnal was sold roght at the start of Ashley’s tenure. Good point about Best thouigh. I’ll add him in.


  3. Here’s a thought…

    How much did the loss of income from relegation cost us?

    Another one…

    Considering the common occurrence of “second season syndrome” among newly promoted teams, if we finish 12th (same as last season) would that be considered progress?

    And finally…

    If we finish in the top half (say 10th) but don’t qualify for Europe through our league finish, would you be disappointed?


  4. MA is solely here to make money. He will continue to run this club on a shoestring happy to stay in the PL. He will not invest to improve the team if it means he putting his money in. Please dont be fooled thinking that he has wiped clean our debts because he has not. The club still owes MA all of the debt. He is a businessman first and a football supporter second. Christ, he even supports Spurs. He will continue to make money in every transfer window for as long as he is here. He will be happy to compete with the likes of Wigan, Fulham, Wolves etc as long as we stay up. Ambition? Yes he has ambition, and that is to continue along these dreadful lines until the time comes were someone will buy the club from him for as much profit as possible then he will happily move on to his next money spinning venture. For me, that day can not come soon enough.


  5. Just two little points. 1) What was the debt when MA arrived? 2) I might not want MA at my table BUT can it possibly be argued that a successful businessman wants the club (business) to fail?

    He HAS a strategy. It’s a gamble but a better one than say, Steve Bruce’s or Tony Pulis’s –long term careful building from the bottom OR throwing loot at second rate or past their best super stars?

    Carry on MA/AP, I say, and hold your nerve.


  6. Good one Toonsy and Yeah it is very worrying, what worries me even more is what is going to happen at the end of this season when its time to sort out Colo and Jonas, because going by the past form we will be replacing them


  7. There will be no more ‘Heroes’ in black and white shirts anymore. If they are good, they will be gone.


  8. ps. To AB I say, how can you possibly know? It’s pure speculation. My previous comment is based on assessment of what has happened not specualtion about motives.


  9. Well done Toonsy for bothering to work all that out.
    It is very interesting, and leads me to believe we will have to sell to buy in January.
    Most likely will be Tim Krul @ £10M+
    Followed by Tiote @ £8M
    That should leave us with a budget close to £5M for replacements


  10. Thad – I’ll field those 😆

    1 – It’s irrelevant what the drop in revenue was. As the accounts show this was made up by a loan from Ashley which was then subsequently added to the debt. It;s this extra money that was taken back partly last season and partly this season from the TV money.

    2 – No. Second season syndrome or not, finishing in 12th is not progress. these new players shouldn’t get it anyway as it’s their first try at the Premier League.

    3 – I’d be happy with 10th 🙂


  11. As a financial adviser im getting off on these articles! I can’t wait to see the books of the club over the next few years and the big change which is the wage bill? I know there are sone fat controller haters out there and I am not a sphincter dweller myself!… But I do believe that we are one of very few clubs that have the support and stadium to meet the new UEFA rules and survive in prem ( only time will tell!) Also I have no problem with Mike Ashley turning us into a profitable company with heavily incentivised contracts – I would not have minded working for sports direct on a performance bonus !!! Still disappointed by no striker but if you set sound financial constraints you stick by them and don’t become a Leeds, Portsmouth etc.. (que the Ashley Haters !!) 🙂


  12. Of course another factor to be considered is player wages.
    Has it not dropped from £75M to @ £40M ?
    Not sure of the exact figures but even so, a big saving to MA.
    Alledgedly he had to put his own money in to keep the club solvent shock horror, but I’m certain he isn’t putting a penny in anymore. Another big saving to MA
    So he now has the club standing on its own feet, and can start repaying its debt to MA.
    He will soon be rubbing his hands together in a michael owen styley.
    Luvly jubbly.
    And yous think he will then sell? I’m not convinced. I think he’s laughing.


  13. TOONSY good read mate,pleased you didnt put agents fees ect into that as all clubs have that and vary from agent to agent and is anybodys guess.
    going back to other threads that i have had to catch up on as i havent been on much lately,beats me how some can complain about certain threads what more do they want you have some great writers on hear which giveing varying views on which we can debate,then again maybe they like copy and paste as a lot are,or ones that seems to have half doz guys haveing a go at each other to float there boat,ah well each to there own eh


  14. ok mate but you get my point. Thats still £25M per year saved.
    I wonder what mancshitty’s wage bill is? lol
    Appart from unsustainable (not)
    What was that etihad sponsorship deal £400M.
    Utter bollix.


  15. Toon Ed
    Respect your points but, the UEFA rules will only apply to teams that actually qualifly for european comptition. Whats the point of NUFC falling within these rules if the playing side has no chance of qualifying because of the lack of investment in the team from MA. Catch 22


  16. Toon Ed we will be one of the very few clubs that will stick to the new rules because all the other clubs will find away round it.
    and do you think quality players to push us on will be happy to come here with heavily incentivised contracts, rather than go to any other club for a good wage with no strings attached ??


  17. Its interesting to look at all the sponsor ship deals manure have going too.
    We have 3 soon to be 2.
    Puma, N’rock (last yr) and SD.
    I assume SD will be our major shirt sponsor from next season too.
    His humiliation of the fans will then be complete.
    Well at least that should kill off the whole shirt sales thing completely, ‘cus there’s nee way I’d wear one of them.


  18. Toon Ed – It’s all well and good saying forget Chelsea and City. Why? Because they’ll be bending the rules? So will Man United, Liverpool and a few others mate.


  19. Ice @ 19 – I agree mate. There is some right spiteful comments floating about at the moment. If people disagree with an article then fair enough. If they don;t like it then fair enough. But don’t be a cock about it 🙂


  20. Incentives work for the right people and motivate mate yes there will be those that want to go to a club on a basic salary are the same guys we complain about day in day out as they play when they can be bothered ! Do you want a 70% quality player who gives 100% or an 90% quality player who gives only 70%?!?


  21. I would rather support a team that play by the rules than some Dubai princes Bitch toy! No joy in buying success in my eyes I would rather earn it


  22. There is no reason why we couldn’t qualify for the Europa imo.

    Also @Troy – I left a message on lady story regarding Ginola. PSG sold him to us cheap because they screwed us out of the Weah deal.


  23. well bit late but ime off housework to do havent done any for three days while mrs away,got nee clean cups and plates left 🙂


  24. Good article toonsy.. I would like to point out that the club running at a loss in the championship was not the clubs fault if the stupid owner(mike ashley) did his home work on running a club we wouldn’t of landed up in the championship.. Its his stupidity that got us there so he should be held responsible.. I wage bill is way less than it was before we got some of high earners in this transfer window and we paying our new signings next to nothing.. Toonsy if you don’t mind could u write up an article on how much money we actually are spending on wages roughly thanks..


  25. MagpieSA – that would be all speculation really as its all confidential info and not generally in the public domain. so pointless really.
    Suffice to say it was huge (90% of revenue) and is now much less


  26. @bb – fook, the thought o the sports direct logo on shirts would prob be enough to make me change to listening to matches on the radio, would look complete shite


  27. MSA – I’m always sceptical about guessing wages as id be doing just that – guessing. I’ll see if I can try and work something out though 🙂


  28. SteveP – be afraid mate. Its everywhere at SJP ffs
    Except on the shirts. No doubt they will be next 👿


  29. I love that little pic of sir Bobby at the top of the page.
    His smile is infectious. What a lovely man. God bless him.
    Gone but not forgotten.


  30. good spot. Howay Toonsy, heels together and explain ya self,
    Your not trying to pull the wool over our eyes now are ye 😆


  31. Just wondered as I honestly can’t remember if we signed anyone else that summer or if it was referring to Ben Arfa’s loan fee too.

    If we only signed 3 players in the summer we got promoted, why the hell are we complaining at all the players we signed this summer and the quality of them, lol.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will still complain myself, but a bit of perspective like this never hurts.


  32. What I can’t work out lads is this;

    Why does mike ashley stay at Newcastle when everybody clearly dislikes him.

    Does anyone actually think he makes any profits??

    I still believe we are for sale but no one has the money he is asking for.

    Why else would he still be here?


  33. Funky – I remember saying before that we hardly brought quality last year. However we still had hughton Carroll Nolan Barton Enrique on our books… And happy.

    Still can’t believe we booted out hughton!

    Btw good article toonsy … Exposes serious concerns


  34. Agents fees on top for both outgoing and incoming transfers. Fifa say 5%, reality 5-15%. Plus fees for the free transfers not mentioned

    Loyalty payments for outgoing transfers.

    Helicopter fuel …

    Wondered why we didn’t buy Carlton Cole … we couldn’t afford him.

    Lots of other revenue streams not mentioned though … still hate them so f’ing much it’s untrue.


  35. With $25m in players sales in our relagation year and gates on average of 44,000 – Surely the net loss was no where $40m when the Income received from the entire financial year is Included in the figures however I don’t expect this to be confirmed via the club – why would they?

    The Interest on the $35m from the Andy Carroll sale will be somewhere in the region of $2.1m for a full year and essentially no tax would be payable as the club is running at a loss – In addition Best or Lovenkrands will be sold and I would assume Best will command approx $3 – $4m, we will end up spending approx $7m on Maiga next window and this will be the only In coming transfer as “the January window is too expensive” (Alan Pardew)

    Our total spend will end up being approx $1 – $2m and we will probably sell Guthrie to make up the difference!

    MA will sell in three years time when the financial markets have Improved and he has taken $20m p/a from the club to pay back his loans, he will then sell with the existing debt in place and a rpayment plan will be in place – He will not lose any money! Guaranteed!


  36. Dont forget that Smith comes off the boks at the end of this season too.
    Thats another £2.6M in wages to be saved. And I cant see colo being offered a new contract on £80k. Not sure how long he has left tho maybe 2 yrs. I’ll have a look.


  37. aye colo has 2 yrs left to run. but guthrie and loverhands are out of contract at the end of this season.

    Davo how much do you think Ashley will sell the club for, in 3 yrs, then?


  38. Do you think that getting another striker would have made the difference between us staying up or getting relegated, or Europe or not? I doubt it, although it would be nice to see free flowing football with an end product.

    I think Ashley is waiting out a few other teams like Sunderland and Stoke who are inflating the middle market. Would you prefer their business plans which to me seem an all out bet on expensive has-beens?

    This is Newcastle United – when we think we are in trouble we beat Villa 6-0, Sunderland 5-1. When we think we are OK we spend a bit, but have 4 managers in a year and get relegated.

    I think stability is key which is why I am against protests and getting rid of Pardew. After 48 years, I cannot predict NUFC but I do think the Mackems are doomed, they are just waiting for a few more bad results to really turn on Bruce – now that is a match made in heaven.


  39. Mike Ashley has no intention of selling our club, what he is doing is making the club more profitable for himself. He will buy players but we will also sell players, it will even out or in some years gain the club profit, meaning nothing is spent. These players will be replaced by players willing to take less wages, a further saving! Couple this with guaranteed gates of 50,000+ loyal fans and a huge fan base willing to part with our money and what you have is one very profitable business, Ashley is here for the long haul.


  40. On the transfer window, I’m disappointed we did not sign another forward, however I still think we did some good business. I don’t accept the clubs excuses that we tried to get someone in, we had 7 months to line someone up. I am confident however that we’ll be in the top 10, we have an abundance if talent in midfield and a strong defence, Ba looks sluggish but I think he’ll come good, hopefully our young players get some game time and a chance to shine


  41. Toonsy anyway of having alook at the squads when ashley took over and now. I might be wrong but the current one may look a lot stronger?


  42. ” we have an abundance if talent in midfield and a strong defence,”


    . . . we have an abundance of unproven potential in midfield and only two decent players in defence and one unproven fullback,. . .



  43. ” Toonsy anyway of having alook at the squads when ashley took over and now. I might be wrong but the current one may look a lot stronger?”

    The problem is that some people on here seem to think we currently have one of the strongest midfields in the league ‘on paper’.

    As Andy Gray was keen to remind us in FIFA 11, “I know what you mean, but paper never won a football match”

    I expect most of those folks would say our squad is much better now irrespective of whether it is or isn’t. They say Santon is going to be better than Enrique without even having seen him play, and take similarly daft positions on all the new signings.
    It almost seems as if they believe that being really ‘positive’ about everything will improve the odds of a good outcome. You would think they would have learnt after being really ‘positive’ about Gameiro, Gervinho, Erdinc, Pieters, Enrique staying, the Carroll money, getting a striker before the window shuts etc etc etc ad infinitum.


  44. lets face it, until Ashley starts to turn a profit, and reduces the clubs debt, he wont be able to sell.
    If he does accomplish this however, he might not want to sell.
    Or if he does sell (very likely imo) then the new owners are likely to be in the same position, of wanting to make money from their investment.
    NUFC will be in the same position regardless of the owner.
    Lets face it the days of the sugar daddy have ended with manc city.
    No one can compete with them, so whats the point. Espesh with the new financial rules coming in.
    I think we could be seeing the end of massive wages, transfers buy outs etc.


  45. Surely we should look at performance on the pitch rather than cash spent on transfers. From what I can see we have improved every year from the relagation year and probably the years of decline before that when we seemed to spend a lot of money. If we can improve again this season then in my opinion that puts us in a strong position going into next season (provided we don’t sell). People quote Stoke and the Mackems as spending loads of money as if its good. I doubt we would be happy with many of their signings for the money they have spent on fees and wages. Dissapointing about the striker but lets hope they have learn’t lessons and get one in January. Ashley has a plan. Like in all business’s sometimes you go through painful periods but if the plan is a good one then in the long run it will pay off. I think we all need to wait and see. I think 2-3 years will tell and in my opinion and a look at the league tables and balance sheet so far it is paying off. WHat is the alternative. Spend loads and go bust. If you don’t reach the champions league all the money spent is wasted and without the extra income from the Champions league any club would struggle financially. UEFA must change the European format to allw better distribution of money. You will probably make a loss in the UEFA cup unless you win it.


  46. toonsy, like you i like the stats as i think they tell us everything. your figures are a little out mate, but so to is the 59 million figure too. its just over 40 million net. the biggest season of ashley spend being the first, soon after he cut it all off with the trend gettign worse every season now. please look up and it gives you everything, inc players agent fees, the lot, comparisons against all other prem teams. its all there.


  47. Selling club simple as that – the evidence is there for all to see. Some of us have been saying this for years.

    Anyone know of a selling club that has ever achieved anything?


  48. Excellent article Toonsy interesting to see we have spent £6m on Alan Smith :-S . It’s also interesting to see pre-relegation Ashley was sticking to the £20m a year he promised. The amount we have taken in would be a lot more as well if we hadn’t got rid of the likes of Barton.


  49. What about the sale of Scott Parker for £7million in June 2007?

    If you’re including the purchases of Barton and Rozenhal around the same time, you should also be including the sale of Parker.

    I’ll assume it was me you are suggesting was ‘moaning’? I didn’t realise pointing out that just showing half a picture wasn’t much use, was actual moaning. (Even if some had asked you to do it). I thought it was more just stating the obvious.


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