The Mail’s chief football correspondent Martin Samuel has offered a fascinating insight into his conversation with Mike Ashley, revealing that the NUFC owner admitted to not understanding the football business and opening up to the mistakes he’s made during his time on Tyneside.
Samuel admitted to meeting Ashley in the directors’ box at Watford’s Vicarage Road, and has shared details of their conversation after a Newcastle fan shared his experience of Mike Ashley in a comment to one of his columns.
‘Fisherman53’ responded to one of his recent pieces, explaining his experience when meeting Mike Ashley during a recent holiday in Majorca. He said:
“I had a chat with Mike Ashley when I bumped into him near his villa in Majorca.” “He came across well and was honest about his need to sell Newcastle to someone with the money to help the club grow.”
“No point selling to Amanda Staveley if she hasn’t got big money backers.”
Interesting – does Ashley feel Staveley’s hasn’t shown the financial firepower to take Newcastle forward? He clearly knows he can’t, but it seems he has reservations over Staveley and PCP.
Samuel then responded to this comment from the NUFC fan in his latest column, sharing his own experience of meeting the NUFC owner:
“I don’t think Ashley claims to know the football business. I think he’s quite shocked by it actually,’
“I, too, had a chance meeting with him, in the directors’ box at Watford, and he was also very frank about the problems facing Newcastle and the mistakes he has made.
“One of his observations is that football is unlike other industries. In any other field, as he sees it, if you put £90M into the business, you see direct results of that investment.
“Football was alone in that; having spent £50M on players say, an owner will then be told – ‘Well, that hasn’t worked, we need another £50M.
“And he’s right there. Manchester United spent £75M on Romelu Lukaku – now Jose Mourinho has gone back to the board and told them they need to spend again on Alexis Sanchez.
“They probably thought the £75M had addressed that particular problem – but, no.
“I don’t think Ashley has been the best and I’d say he probably acknowledges that, too.
“But I do think it is his right to set the price and not be bounced into a cut-and-run deal by an investment group that is showing little sign of having the necessary funds.”
Some very interesting stuff here and some points that perhaps show just why Mike Ashley has never ‘got it’ at NUFC.
The idea of constant investment is clearly a little lost on Ashley, yet that is something essential in football. For example, signing Jorgensen may improve us up top, but no doubt Rafa would then say ‘we need a winger and number 10’ in the summer, tasking Ashley with spending another £30-£40m. It’s constant if you want to continue improving and Ashley clearly isn’t willing to continually invest.
Ashley clearly doesn’t understand how football works, and it seems that he’s finally accepted that he needs out.