Mike Ashley’s hidden agenda behind his latest statement at NUFC – a worrying theory

Almost like clockwork, Mike Ashley released another end of season statement which in reality, was pretty hollow. Nowhere near as committal as his previous ‘five year plans’ or stating he wasn’t leaving ‘until he had won a trophy’; perhaps the lack of intent in his latest PR exercise shows the level of apathy he has for running the club.

A sale wasn’t mentioned but there were a few parts of the statement that are worrying – including my unsettling theory behind the following comment…

“On many occasions throughout the season they have been described as a Championship side, which I personally consider to be derogatory.”

This was concerning part of the statement and addressing the accusation of the quality of the players felt unnecessary, unless Ashley intends to use it as an excuse to once again not invest. Rafa working miracles will, knowing Ashely, allow him to use a 10th place finish to paint the narrative that we have a strong squad and only a few new faces.

Anyone within football knows our squad is strong in character but not quality and being guided by a world class manager has allowed us to overachieve. We need serious investment to build on a rare, positive season under Ashley.

The ‘pantomime villain’ promises “every penny generated” for Benitez

Sunday’s statement included the following: “Rafa, as always, has my full support, and, contrary to some media reports that portray me as a pantomime villain, I will continue to ensure that every penny generated by the club is available to him.”



Just 12 months ago this was the statement published on the club’s website and attributed to Ashley following face-to-face discussions with Benitez: “I’ve confirmed to Rafa and Lee that they can have every last penny that the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season.”

It is nothing new and Ashley didn’t invest last year, expect some loan deals in January. The usual excuses of the amount of fees spent on agents and not having felt the affect of the TV money were wheeled out but there will be no hiding place this summer. Rafa and the fans know it and it is about time every penny, means EVERY PENNY. He should focus on this rather than what the media think of him.

 “I hope very much that Rafa will remain at Newcastle United”

The second crucial line in the statement is Ashley’s declaration that he “hopes very much” Benitez will remain at St James’ Park.

Again, actions speak louder than words though, and Benitez will need reassurances from the owner before he commits himself to the Magpies. Talk has proved cheap and lies have been a constant thread of the Ashley era. It is about time he backs up these statements; even if he intends to sell the club, keeping Rafa will make it easier to sell. He needs to make sure Benitez stays, not hope that he does after failing to deliver on his demands.

Rafa needs assurances – we should be asking him what he wants not the other way round. A long summer of speculation awaits, so for now, let’s still enjoy the superb win over Chelsea.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

117 thoughts on “Mike Ashley’s hidden agenda behind his latest statement at NUFC – a worrying theory

  1. Icedog:
    Poor Das Dost attacked by his own fans has nasty head injury and legs have been damaged,fk arseholes

    Ice – is that true?, what the hell is all that about?

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  2. I am not understanding this Spurs new stadium. They have a cheese room and a Michelin starred Chef. I know they want to attract the City of London boys and Levy sees it like an American Sports product but football is not like that. It only lasts 90 minutes and people come in and leave and it is usually just lads. American sports can last all day with the tailgating and it is much more family. Most of the baseball parks are compared to “ball malls” because a lot of it is about the food and the selfies, God the selfies.

    I just don’t get where he is coming from with the Cheese room.

    I went to a Man U game in Chicago set up by the Manchester Tourist Board. They had a 20 minute presentation and a raffle then we went into one of the private boxes. Nobody knew anything about football and yapped about other things the whole time whilst stuffing their faces. It was so anemic. I suppose that is what Levy wants.

    I did win the raffle though which was 2 free return tickets to Manchester. Stayed there for 2 nights and then a week in Ireland so if they wanted to showcase the city then even that failed.

    Cheese room 🙂

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  3. Sharpy17: Ice – is that true?, what the hell is all that about?

    Aye it’s true mate I’ve seen photos of the poor guy,those fans are crazy,didn’t win the lge or some shit

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  4. Icedog: Aye it’s true mate I’ve seen photos of the poor guy,those fans are crazy,didn’t win the lge or some shit

    Hells bells, they can’t blame him he’s been an absolute goal machine for them!!. Might he get his agent to get him out of there this summer?!.
    I know his buy out clause is pretty big, but he might tell them he won’t play again after taking a hiding – that could help.

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  5. Sharpy17: Hells bells, they can’t blame him he’s been an absolute goal machine for them!!.Might he get his agent to get him out of there this summer?!.
    I know his buy out clause is pretty big, but he might tell them he won’t play again after taking a hiding – that could help.

    He asked to leave couple of months ago after falling out with owner in public

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  6. SSN saying WH are coming for Rafa. That worries me now like coz I don’t think they would move without some kind of encouragement – whether that’s a direct go and get him from his people, or whether it’s a negotiations aren’t going smoothly and WH see a chance to spend £6m on his release clause and get the manager they want.

    It’s up to our lot now though. If he can get what he wants with us I don’t see him going anywhere … but we know Mike, £6m is £6m!!.
    He might even reinvest that 🙌🏻

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  7. Sharpy – All the papers and SSN are running with this story now. That basically means the guys at West Ham have briefed the media that they’re going for him. This will be true. Whether or not Rafa decides to move to West Ham is another thing. If they offer the £6m and Rafa agrees to talk to them, then I’d say it’s curtains for him at NUFC. He might just say no until he’s concluded talks with us but that will all depend on how the talks are going with Ashley.

    My big worry here is that Ashley said in his statement that he hopes Rafa stays. That to me says it’s far from certain. Why would a owner even mention it with a year left on his contract…?

    Big couple of days coming up.

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  8. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – All the papers and SSN are running with this story now. That basically means the guys at West Ham have briefed the media that they’re going for him. This will be true. Whether or not Rafa decides to move to West Ham is another thing. If they offer the £6m and Rafa agrees to talk to them, then I’d say it’s curtains for him at NUFC. He might just say no until he’s concluded talks with us but that will all depend on how the talks are going with Ashley.

    My big worry here is that Ashley said in his statement that he hopes Rafa stays. That to me says it’s far from certain. Why would a owner even mention it with a year left on his contract…?

    Big couple of days coming up.

    Stu – my worry is that Ashley won’t like being put in such a position by Rafa (even though Rafa is right, and not asking for anything that shouldn’t just be given anyway).
    I don’t see Ashley agreeing to aspects of what Rafa wants – mainly the transfer fee thing. I think he’ll agree to everything else personally – he just won’t be keen on big fees.

    I agree, it’s squeaky bum time over the next few days (hopefully not weeks).

    This is another pivotal moment in Ashley’s tenure that could either see us kick on, or set us back another 5 yrs – his track record at such times hasn’t been great so far.

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  9. I read somewhere yesterday that Rafa has been told that he would have only “a little” bit more money than last season to spend on players this summer and will have to sell to buy. I find that staggering considering they were suppose to have bid £15m for a striker in January.

    The mood music really isn’t encouraging for me. I really have no idea why Rafa would want to yet again be put through the ringer and not be able to compete with the likes of Bournemouth, Burnley, Southampton or Leicester.

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  10. Rafa can do better than West Ham. It could force Ashley’s hand but this time it would be a fan mutiny. We sort of didn’t know if Chris Hughton was a PL Manager and didn’t know what we were getting with Pardew, but at least he had managed in the PL.

    Now we know exactly what we would be giving up. I am not even going go speculate who we could possibly get until this story develops a bit.

    I pretty much know that Ashley will not have any ideas about a replacement and who is he going to ask Charnley and Bishop – an accountant and a spin doctor!

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  11. Silly season starts in earnest then going to have this shite all summer. I don’t care if it is true or not. What will be, will be. Just get in with it and stop the endless non exclusives in the papers, 90% of which fizzles out into nothing. We will have it with Lascelles and Shelve amongst others too. The bookies are just as bad with their dead certs that never come off. Pay no heed to any of it and just wait and see what comes out in the wash at the end of the day.

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  12. West Ham have clearly told the press they’ll give Rafa “whatever he wants.” He obviously isn’t getting that at NUFC.

    Regardless, it won’t force Jabba’s hand. How many ones does he need to prove to us he’s a knob? He shit on Shearer and Keegan so he won’t be bothered. He knows the fans will still turn up.

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  13. Eric, you say he’s be mad to go to West Ham but I’m pretty sure everybody said the same to him about Newcastle under Jabba. He’s no better than the Dildo kings as you put it. Maybe if they’re prepared to be flexible and show ambition he will take them up on it.

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  14. George Caulkin also reporting that after numerous rounds of talks and Rafa being told “he can have every last penny of money” they still haven’t told him his budget! How the hell can you run a club like that? Sorry, Eric, but Rafa cannot surely be happy to accept working like this…

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  15. Also, would WH go so public in the press if they hadn’t had some encouragement from Rafa’s representatives?

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  16. If Rafa is the man of honour we think he is then he will finish his final year and then leave.

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  17. Stuart79:
    If Rafa is the man of honour we think he is then he will finish his final year and then leave.

    Unless someone pays Ashley his £6m and takes that decision out of Rafas hands – then honour remains in tact.

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  18. I’ve just been looking at WH average net spend over the last 5 years – it’s only around £30m.
    If Ashley can’t even promise Rafa that amount – or £20m plus whatever you make on player sales.

    I get that they can’t give him an exact figure, coz you don’t know how much Mitro and Mbemba would bring – you don’t know if anyone will even buy Colback or Saivet. We can’t even guarantee loaning those types of players out, so we need to be selling really – but the player and his agent have the power then.
    But we could easily be giving him a ball park figure – or assurances that if the money he’s raised by selling doesn’t cover the amount for recruiting – the difference will be covered.

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  19. georgio:
    It’s all press speculation. Some never learn!

    Whether Rafa goes or not is press speculation, but whether WH are wanting him is not speculation. If you don’t know how it works then I think you’ve been living under a rock.

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  20. Sharpy17: Unless someone pays Ashley his £6m and takes that decision out of Rafas hands – then honour remains in tact.

    Sharpy – I suppose that will depend on whether Rafa thinks WH would be a good move or not. I just see Jabba’s form and can’t see Rafa wanting to accept more of it. But whether he wants to have similar problems at WH is another matter.

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  21. Sharpy17:
    I’ve just been looking at WH average net spend over the last 5 years – it’s only around £30m.
    If Ashley can’t even promise Rafa that amount – or £20m plus whatever you make on player sales.

    I get that they can’t give him an exact figure, coz you don’t know how much Mitro and Mbemba would bring – you don’t know if anyone will even buy Colback or Saivet.We can’t even guarantee loaning those types of players out, so we need to be selling really – but the player and his agent have the power then.
    But we could easily be giving him a ball park figure – or assurances that if the money he’s raised by selling doesn’t cover the amount for recruiting – the difference will be covered.

    Sharpy – They can give him a budget today based on what their income will be. They don’t even need to bother about what is raised by selling players. They can just tel him his budget and tell him anything he raises from players sales is also his.

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  22. Stuart79: Sharpy – I suppose that will depend on whether Rafa thinks WH would be a good move or not. I just see Jabba’s form and can’t see Rafa wanting to accept more of it. But whether he wants to have similar problems at WH is another matter.

    Stu – in terms of character, the WH owners are similar to Ashley for sure. But in terms of ambition, I think they blow Ashley out the water. Rafa will have dealt with plenty of snakes across the clubs he’s been to even before Ashley came along – the WH boys would be putty. But they WANT their club to win things and be successful rather than just exist – and that could be key.

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  23. Stuart79: Sharpy – They can give him a budget today based on what their income will be. They don’t even need to bother about what is raised by selling players. They can just tel him his budget and tell him anything he raises from players sales is also his.

    Stu – for me they do need to sell players – not necessarily to raise funds, but more so for the wage budget and squad size. There’s also the fact that Rafa wants his own players, and that will require a clear out, which in turn naturally raises those funds. To be fair, most clubs outside the top 4-6, their transfer budget is made up from player sales.
    I think Rafa would expect that as well to be honest. With players like Mitrovic, Mbemba, maybe Gayle and numerous others but they bring the main money – that’s possibly £30-40m plus from those 3 along.
    So even if they were to say to Rafa £30m from the pot, he’d know from those sales that his budget will be up around £80m this window.
    That would still leave money in the pot for the winter window should he need it.

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  24. Stuart79:
    Eric, you say he’s be mad to go to West Ham but I’m pretty sure everybody said the same to him about Newcastle under Jabba. He’s no better than the Dildo kings as you put it. Maybe if they’re prepared to be flexible and show ambition he will take them up on it.

    They sacked one of the coaches and he referred to them as the dildo brothers when he left. The name has stuck and a lot of people refer to them as such on blogs and newspaper comments pages.

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  25. Stuart79:
    Also, would WH go so public in the press if they hadn’t had some encouragement from Rafa’s representatives?

    They could be trying to unsettle him/be testing the waters. I don’t know, I just think Rafa could do better than West Ham but as other jobs are being taken the options become more limited. If he is sick of NUFC pissing him around the grass may look greener at West Ham. I would watch out though as there are 3 snakes in the grass down there and I wouldn’t trust them either.

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  26. Remeber that he had agreed to go to WH ine June 15 when he was approached by Real Madrid, and WH agreed to let him go. So he will feel he owes them one. Pun intended. However he also has a year on his contract. So what does an honourable man do. Put family first and stay with NUFC.

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  27. Stuart – we all live under rocks of one size or another. Mine’s not particularly big. Yours?

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  28. talks have been ongoing for three and half weeks now,how long does it take??,jabba still playing to old three card trick club is for sale,he can have every penny of coarse that means sell before you buy

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  29. Stuart: article in The Guardian showing just how big of a mess West Ham are. Ashley doesn’t like to lose so maybe being challenged by 3 other shysters will get his hackles up and he will get Rafa’s situation sorted? Not holding my breath though. Also, they really did piss Moyes about trying to have him in reserve as they scoured the globe for his replacement.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/may/17/west-ham-hardball-approach-looks-risky-david-sullivan

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  30. I would agree that he’s better than West Ham, but also better than us under Jabba. I think it will boil down to what happens up here rather than what West Ham can offer.

    West Ham have to show they’re really interested by agreeing to pay his £6m. Then it’s up to Rafa. Weigh up where he thinks he has a better chance to win things.

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  31. West Ham didn’t give Moyes a January budget either even though they were in as big a relegation trouble as us. One of Moyes’ complaints was that the owners were choosing who to buy or at least making recommendations. I wouldn’t trust a word the dildo brothers say. And I know, you can’t trust a word Ashley says either. That’s why I think there would be better options than West Ham and Rafa would be mad to go there.

    Their squad is not that great and needs as big an overhaul as ours.

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  32. Let’s hope Pochettino doesn’t leave Spurs because then it could be a complete no brainer for him and Spurs…

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  33. Stuart: skim the comments in that Guardian article I posted. The West Ham fans don’t believe it will happen for whatever that is worth. They hate the 3 stooges more than we hate Ashley.

    I don’t remember the details but I know they left Brum in the sh!t when they jumped ship for West Ham.

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