Vote: Is our club really well run?

Is he doing things right? Or could he be doing lots better?
It seems the Simmo debate has inadvertently sprung up a debate on the direction this club has taken in recent years, so this article is a quick canvas to find out how a bunch of largely thoughtful and reasoned Newcastle United fans feel about how our club is run and the direction we are going in.

We have all debated the lack of strength in depth in defence and up front. We all have our own thoughts on why we are weak in certain positions and why we have not spent as much as some would have liked. We seem to fall into two trains of thought. This is not a rigid definition, but loosely described the two camps…

1) The owner is gambling with our future by penny pinching and trying to keep costs as low as possible in order to make his money back as soon as possible and sell the club for as much profit as possible. He refuses to take a chance on investing in the squad, even though it could take us to the next level.

2) The club is falling nicely within the Financial Fair Play guidelines and stands to benefit in the long run. The owners will not be held to ransom for players in cases where clubs ask above and beyond what our club feels is fair value for a player. We have adopted a methodical, patient approach to out transfer dealings that has seen the club grow in stature and be better equipped to compete in the future without the risk of administration or even liquidation biting us in the bum.

I recently published an article pointing out that although we could have more quality in depth and could have spent more during the summer window, we actually have enough existing depth to be able to compete at a similar level to last season. We have kept all of our big hitters and even signed a few. Meanwhile players like Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux will feel like new signings – plus we have a number of youth players that finally appear ready for some regular action. We can cope.



That said, just 2 or 3 more quality signings could have ensured that we were strong on all fronts this season. Squad morale would have been better than it is now (possibly), genuine competition for places in the team will have been created (of which there is little of) and the crowd will have been a tad more bullish and full of voice during games – giving us that 12th man factor.

There is never any guarantee that a few semi-expensive signings will be a success, but maybe it would appease the fans and show a more substantive signal of intent. Perhaps our current approach to success for the club is a good one, but is not sexy enough for some fans?

We all know that throwing money around does not guarantee success, but there is the argument that if we can obtain quality players on the cheap via fantastic scouting, then why cant we apply the same approach at the same time as actually spending a few bob on one or two faces that will undoubtedly propel us to the next level? There are many very good arguments to be had from both sides of the coin, but nobody can dispute that we currently have the best squad we have seen in probably a good decade or so – having spent relatively little.

The Freddy Shepherd days may have been all glamour and big name signings – sexy on the outside, but riddled with debt and risky management on the inside – whereas the Mike Ashley Ashley days are all about being well oiled on the inside, albeit not a lot to get the heart pumping on the face of it. Feel free to go into depth on the subject on the comments section, but just out of interest I’d like you to cast your vote on one simple question – take your time to really think about this before registering your reply.

[poll id=”71″]

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

186 thoughts on “Vote: Is our club really well run?

  1. I voted yes. I truly think that in the years to come, Ashley will be the model on which all non sugar-daddy backed clubs will operate. I don’t like it, but it’s the way the game is going.

    Considering the question being posed is whether the club is being run well today, I don’t see the point in constantly going back and dwelling on things like due diligence – it’s just a stick that the Ashley haters like Big Dave use to beat him with at every opportunity – as you did again above. In fact Dave, B+B explained the debt situation to you a week or so ago, so I’m surprised you’re still continuing that argument. The debt on acquisition, whether Ashley knew about it or not, was always there – it belonged to NUFC. It didn’t just magically appear when Ashley bought the club, so why keep going on about him doing due diligence? All that happened is Ashley purchased an asset (nufc) that was worth less than he thought it was worth due to this debt. It would have to be repaid whoever owned the club, and I can’t imagine FFS contributing out of his own pocket to ensure the club isn’t crippled with interest & debt repayments if he was still at the helm. Even if you believe he’s only doing it to protect his investment, in this case the interests of Ashley and the club are in alignment, so more of the same please fatman!

    Another point re the Sports Direct Advertising – I do believe that Ashley has the right to take ‘free’ advertising if he wants (not that it will be proven either way until the next set of accounts are released), but to throw another perspective on it: Ashley owns 100% of NUFC, he only owns 70% or so of SD. Therefore if I was the money-grabbing cnut that the neggar train like to accuse him of, I would be paying as much money as possible for the advertising rights – as basically, Ashley would be paying 70 pence with his left hand(SD), and pocketing a pound in his right (NUFC)- he would make a profit of 30p on every pound that left SD to go to NUFC. Not only that, Sports Direct is a much more profitable company than NUFC which has in the past been either loss making or hovering around break-even. By transferring cash from the profitable SD to the unprofitable NUFC, he can reduce his overall tax liablility and increase overall wealth. If I was advising Ashley, this would be the approach I’d take. I don’t know what his motivations are, but I think just saying he’s doing it for the dosh is a bit simplistic.

    To summarise, I think as a person Ashley & Dekka are a pair of right cnuts, but I really can’t argue with the direction we’re going.

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  2. By the way Dave – I wasnt meaning to pick on you in particular, but you do go on about the due diligence ad nauseum. I know you say you compliment Ashley on the good stuff he does too, and you may do that for a line or 2, but then it’s back to the same repetitive negative crap time and time again. Give it a break. They’ve acknowledged they’ve made mistakes in the past – lets all move on. I can’t imagine it would be much fun knowing you – having everything negative you’ve ever done constantly brought up and gone over all the time. Feel sorry for your poor wife who probably has to hear about that meatloaf she burned back in 2003 every time you sit down to dinner.

    Like it or not, we’re stuck with these wankers running our club for the forseeable future. We can’t do anything about it. Ashley has shown he won’t be influenced/bullied by the fans so what options do we have?
    To me, we can either take the good with the bad, suck it up and just get on with it, or we can be miserable bastards and just complain about it all day. No brainer for me, but I’m not a negative person.

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  3. 😯 welfare monkey, I think I have to disagree when you say that you don’t mean to pick on big Dave in particular 😛

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  4. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @WM&TTM

    I think it’s important to note that around the time Ashley was making all those cock ups, he was trying to sell us for an unrealistic price as he realised he had bought something which he couldn’t afford.

    The fact he didn’t do DD resulted in him trying to offload us but the greedy bastard didn’t just want what he paid for it he wanted £400m!!!

    It was round that time, the now Man City owners were looking for a club and they tried to rip his eyes out! It backfired.

    We might now be Premier champions if it wasn’t for his greed by him wanting all his losses and more back.

    I believe ashlet failed to conduct DD as he knew FFS was not fit enough to fight the takeover and wanted to rush the deal thru before he recovered.

    He bought into a North East institution not a house or a yacht but something that thousands of people invested time, love and money in.

    In the early days he treat those people with contempt and all I ever asked was he put the club up for sale for a reasonable price.
    If nobody showed any interest in buying us then none of us could complain. But he didn’t. The greed got the better of him.
    That’s what rankles with me.

    Fortunately he has turned things round and a great deal of luck was involved in bouncing back from relegation first time. Had the players rebelled then who knows where we would have ended up. Even more debt and another Leeds Utd.

    I’m not praising FFS, but many say we would have gone out of business if he had stayed. How does anyone know that? Like every club, FFS would also have had to cut back on spending but not to the drastic extent Ashley did. He came in and realised he couldn’t afford to run the club and threw out all his toys from the bath including the plug all in one go.
    Relegation cost us tens of millions adding to our debt.

    FFS always maintained he had debt but was manageable. It was on a mortgage. The ground covered a huge part of their debt. It was necessary debt. It wasn’t a great situation but he too would have had to restructure payments, wages and transfer policies.

    Most clubs had to around the time Ashley took over. Ashley isn’t the only club chairman doing that. It’s not a new phenomenon. FFS would have had to have done the same. Ok, we may have had a huge interest payment to make but FFS deemed it was manageable. I don’t believe he would have made all those catastrophic mistakes Ashley did.

    To the present, Ashley seems to have come thru the rocky period but is a long way from safety. One good season does not mean you’ve made it. Look at FFS reign. We can crash and burn with ease.

    The test has yet to come. FFS was in charge for 10 yrs or more. Ashley half that time.
    We had two great runs in the champs league and numerous cup semis and finals.

    Let’s see what this season brings and see if he can keep it together as a few cracks seem to be appearing on and off the pitch.

    I

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  5. Ashley is and I quote: “A genius”

    We are lucky Askley, Pardiola, Carr and Co are moving us towards a position where we will win something from a platform which with go on for years.

    Remember our young guns need the hope of breaking through and some will big time. They also don’t rock the team spirit boat like “stars” on the bench.

    I’m chuffed thanks

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  6. Further to that. FFS already had plans drawn up for a Gallowgate extension taking the capacity to 60k.
    It involved huge investment from private sectors to build on ground above st James metro.
    This would have included casinos and leisure facilities similar to the Chelsea village. These were his ideas to make NUFC even bigger, better, richer.

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  7. Wow, you certainly have a lot of insider info Troy.. most of us have to rely on the bullshit the papers print, but you were there even in the FFS days.. Please do not hold back on all this first hand information in future mate . 🙂 🙂

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  8. Ffs’s plans were quite public, “common knowledge” if you like…….maybe you’re just struggling with the “knowledge” bit? 😯 :mrgreen:

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  9. Well ffs’s real club debt wasn’t common knowledge now was it…… I reckon Troy/ Tino knew tho 🙂

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  10. Erm, and what do those accounts show Tino? You seem toknow all about these things… do the anual P&L statements show where the debt is and what future earnings have already been spent? Do tell oh ‘knowledgable’ one….

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  11. Why do I need to tell? The point was you questioned Troy on ffs’s plans, I said they were common knowledge, they were. You said the debt wasn’t common knowledge, I said it was available every year…..guess what? It is! It may be an idea if you understood your own comments before misinterpreting other peoples 😉

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  12. @Troy
    The major point I would disagree with is pointing to Ffs’s champions league success.
    It would be like the old Pompey board citing the fa cup as a great success of theirs. Or previous governments talking about their improved employment levels etc. It wasn’t real. it was built on money that wasn’t there and putting our future in jeopardy. I agree we can’t say for sure that he didn’t have a plan, but we just as equally can’t say he did. Whereas Ashley has a clear plan. Due to the mass cutting of luxury players relegation only cost us 11 Million more than normal. Most of the debt increase since Ashley has been here has been from taking on the burden of ffs’s mortgages and staggered transfer payments.

    Champions League was amazing though. Wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. But I think seeing what happened to Leeds and not realising we were in a similar position has tainted it somewhat for me.

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  13. The major change for me under Ashley, is that I actually enjoy supporting us more now. The two champions league qualifying seasons apart, most of Freddie’s reign turned me into a negative fan. We had players on world class wages not giving two shits about the fans. It was awful.
    The past three seasons have been incredibly enjoyable. Players are playing with heart and we a have a few youngsters coming through. It’s good times ❗

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  14. Nice dodge Tino 🙂 , you decided to comment on a small part of my original comment to Troy and now you have your reversing beepers on.. well done mate 🙂 .. next time you butt in and act like a ‘knowledgable’ bloke, think twice. 🙂 🙂

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  15. Oh dear 😳 I made 2 statements both of which were correct and I’m the one backtracking? I feel for you, I really do 😆

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  16. Tino, just tell me what the statements actually reveal mate? You don’t think Ashley would have seen them before he purchased the club?? So it says to me the real debt was well hidden.. hence my post earlier on.. but hey.. those accounts are available as you say.. you don’t know whats in them…. but they are available 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  17. They reveal no more or less than I intended them too,they were simple comments in connection to previous “simple” comments that you are trying to twist into more than they are….oh and if Ashley had done his DD the real debt wouldn’t have been hidden at all 🙄

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  18. Solano-I agree completely with your last point. I’d started to hate so many players that wore the shirt and bar the SBR days I never really had much fun. Almost completely went when Shearer left. Relegation really was like a re-birth.

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  19. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Aussie

    You know you’ll go in a hissy fit do I would leave off 😉

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  20. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Trumpet

    I love your purposeful change of words. Champions league success? 😯

    You’re a either a very funny person changing words on purpose or you have a problem. 😉

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  21. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @BD

    I’m starting to think he’s doing it subtlety for a bite. He’s got to be. If not he must be a confused person.

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  22. @troy
    Are you joking? us in the champions league? how can it be described as anything other than a success?
    Honestly sometimes people on here will jump at the slightest error.
    Okay i understand you’re trying to do your best to avoid a good point. substitute “champions league success” for “champions league qualification”. as if there’s a difference for us.
    Troll.

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  23. So you said “we had two great runs in the champions league” and me saying “champions league.success” is somehow misquoting you..?!
    It’s times like these, and when you post your irrelevant metaphors, i wonder, are you actually on crack?

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  24. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Trumpet

    Crack? 😯 I leave the drugs to Rotary Vests. 😛

    I’ve got to be honest. I disagree with your entire paragraph. Following your your success misquote.

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  25. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Trumpet

    I apologise having re-read your success line. I see the meaning now. I’m on nightshift and had little sleep.
    However I still disagree with your following paragraph about liking it to Pompey fa cup win as a great success as it was paid for by money they didn’t have.

    I disagree as at the time we did have the means to pay for it. The fact we were playing in the competition paid for itself.

    The mistakes came by not strengthening the squad at the right time and a manager change which resulted in us dropping out the competition and we never recovered.

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  26. Your apology is making me feel a bit light headed 😯
    i think we had it more under control than.pompey but the whole staggered transfer payments was based on getting champ league money each year so I’ll always think it was irresponsible. like you say though, if ever there was a.time to try consolidating champions league Footy, then that was it. nightmare now with some many teams.wanting it.

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  27. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND  DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    There’s not much craic going on at the moment so Just a reminder of a post B&B is referring to earlier;

    I think it’s important to note that around the time Ashley was making all those cock ups, he was trying to sell us for an unrealistic price as he realised he had bought something which he couldn’t afford.

    The fact he didn’t do DD resulted in him trying to offload us but the greedy bastard didn’t just want what he paid for it he wanted £400m!!!

    It was round that time, the now Man City owners were looking for a club and Ashley tried to rip their eyes out! It backfired.

    We might now be Premier champions if it wasn’t for his greed by him wanting all his losses and more back.

    I believe Ashley  failed to conduct DD as he knew FFS was not fit enough to fight the takeover and wanted to rush the deal thru before he recovered.

    He bought into a North East institution not a house or a yacht but something that thousands of people invested time, love and money in.

    In the early days he treat those people with contempt and all I ever asked, for him to put the club up for sale for a reasonable price.
    If nobody showed any interest in buying us then none of us could complain. We would know we had the best on offer. But he didn’t. The greed got the better of him.
    That’s what rankles with me.

    Fortunately he has turned things round and a great deal of luck was involved in bouncing back from relegation first time. Had the players rebelled then who knows where we would have ended up. Even more debt and another Leeds Utd.?

    I’m not praising FFS, but many say we would have gone out of business if he had stayed. How does anyone know that? Like every club, FFS would also have had to cut back on spending but not to the drastic extent Ashley did. He came in and realised he couldn’t afford to run the club and threw out all his toys from the bath including the plug all in one go.
    Relegation cost us tens of millions adding to our debt.

    FFS always maintained he had debt but was manageable. It was on a mortgage. The ground covered a huge part of their debt. It was necessary debt. It wasn’t a great situation but he too would have had to restructure payments, wages and transfer policies. FFS had vision and had demonstrated this with the huge expansion of the ground.  He had further plans to extend it to 60k.  It was to incorporate a property development on the land adjacent to the Gallowgate end.  This would have assisted with the clubs finances. 

    Most clubs had to make cost cutting actions around the time Ashley took over. Ashley isn’t the only club chairman doing that. It’s not a new phenomenon. FFS would have had to have done the same. Ok, we may have had a huge interest payment to make but FFS deemed it was manageable. I don’t believe he would have made all those catastrophic mistakes Ashley did.

    To the present, Ashley seems to have come thru the rocky period but is a long way from safety. One good season does not mean you’ve made it. Look at FFS reign. We can crash and burn with ease.

    The test has yet to come. FFS was in charge for 10 yrs or more. Ashley half that time.
    We had two great runs in the champs league and numerous cup semis and finals.

    Let’s see what this season brings and see if he can keep it together as a few cracks seem to be appearing on and off the pitch.

    FFS was a lot of things and made huge mistakes IMO when appointing managers (not all) .  His legacy is often criticised on here whilst Ashley is  applauded. 

    But for a bit of guidance when appointing managers then FFS policies could have been successful long term. 

    Just a different slant on FFS and a reminder that Ashley has forgot about his little hobby that he so wanted. 

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