This is old news now, well yesterdays news in fact, but it’s taken me a while to do some digging and to prepare this article so apologies for the delay.
I read some comments in The Chronicle whereby they attempted to clear up where this £35 million has gone and what it has been accounted for. Being realistic they haven’t got a clue, which they admitted to be fair, and neither will any of us until the accounts are released for the relevant period, and even then it will be hard to tell exactly what has gone where.
They did manage to collar a “source close to NUFC” however in fact The Chronicle managed to grab a “senior” source no less. Let’s take a look at what was said as he tried to clarify just what the £35 million will be spent on:
“The most simplistic way of saying it is that the money will not be taken out of the club. It will go on the squad. Mike has no plan to withdraw any money from the club.”
“What Mike and Derek have done is be prudent about what we spend. We have great deals which allows us to sign good players and give them big wages We are not being frivolous like previous regimes in terms of getting trophy signings which will fail to deliver – like Michael Owen.”
“We are aiming for a top-10 finish next season, and Alan Pardew, Graham Carr and the rest of the staff will get the squad together they believe will get us there.”
I may aswell have not bothered with all of it as the statement from the source falls apart at the first hurdle.
“Mike has no plan to withdraw any money from the club.”
Really? Because that’s not what the accounts say. Take a look for yourself.
It quite clearly says £12.3 million will have already been paid back to Mike Ashley at the start of last season, and that another £16.5 million is repayable after “more than one year”. Now that could mean the start of this season or the start of next season, but it will be one of them as on another page (the one that goes on about balances and other stuff like that) it is shown as a liability within 1-2 years.
Now personally speaking I don’t mind if money goes towards paying off debt, as long as the first-team is improving steadily along with it. Time will tell on that of course, but the one thing that grinds my gears is why the need to be so cloak and dagger about it all?
If they want to use some of the money to pay off debt then just say. People will grumble and say that it should be used on the first team, but at least it’s a bit less fanciful than suggesting that it all be used on training ground upgrades, wages and whatever.
It’s there, in black and white, Ashley IS taking money back from the club. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as a club with lower debt may prick the interest of another buyer, but it’s most definitely happening. Kind of makes a mockery of the source don’t you think?
Then again, we are used to being led astray….