NUFC Blog’s response to Mike Ashley’s ‘pathetic’ letter – Utter lies, but proof he’s now rattled..

Here at NUFC Blog, we like most if not all Newcastle fans have been utterly bewildered by the lack of investment this summer by Mike Ashley and his letter to Chi Onwurah, in response to the recent parliamentary petition, is a new low and a further web of lies, deceit and utter contempt for the fans of Newcastle United.

Let’s unpick some of the ridiculous claims Ashley has made in the letter leaked last night:

“I was therefore disappointed that, to the best of my knowledge, Ms Onwurah made no attempt, in advance of presenting the petition, to contact or engage with me, or anybody at Newcastle United.”

Even this at the very start of the letter is a total lie. MP Onwurha confirmed today she requested several meetings with Ashley since 2013 and all of which were rejected. There are even emails circulating on social media proving this. Ashley doesn’t speak to the fans, any journalists or focus groups – only a bi-annual Q+A with a scripted SKY presenter. He is only responding now as he is concerned his other business interests will suffer from this publicity, not because he has any concern for Newcastle United or its fans.

“As owner of Newcastle United, I have provided the club with interest-free loans, the outstanding balance of which as at today’s date is £144million, whilst I also cleared all of its third-party debts, which stood at £76m in 2006/07 and incurred finance costs of £6.5m that existed when I purchased the club.”

This confirms we are actually in more debt now than when he bought the club, £61.5m more. This is due to his appalling running of the club on the field, ensuring two relegations which had big financial consequences. This level of debt may be interest free but he wants it paid back and is one of the reasons we are stuck with him, as it drives up the asking price and scares off potential buyers.

“This enabled Newcastle United to establish an affordable ticket-pricing policy for fans. This includes a number of season-ticket prize-freeze schemes, which allows over 20,000 supporters to secure their ticket at a significantly-reduced rate every season.”

Ticket prices have been increased this season, over 20% in most cases. This puts us as one of the most expensive out of the top six but with the lowest net spend in transfers on the field. Add this to the fact shirt prices increased too to place our shirts at a higher cost than far bigger brands like Man Utd and Liverpool, really does highlight how little regard Ashley has for the fans of NUFC.

“We operate numerous community-engagement programmes through our Foundation, who met with your predecessor Matt Hancock MP earlier this summer to discuss our work. I enclose below a link to the Foundation’s most-recent annual report for your information.”

Having worked at the foundation myself between 2010-2012, I know first hand their were many redundancies at the Foundation as funding from the club was often cut.

Ashley has shown no regard for the community of the North East during his 11 years owing NUFC. There is no communication with fans, no investment in the local academy and little support in local initiatives like the Newcastle Food Bank.

“Our training facilities have improved significantly during my tenure. They are fit for purpose and very clearly do not have a negative impact on performance, given we secured a place within the top 10 of the Premier League last season.”

There has been next to investment in our training facilities, culminating with us at one point losing our Level 2 academy status, unheard of for Premier League level.

Benitez has openly criticised quite rightly our outdated facilities, which if updated, could help us attract better players to the club as we battle with the preference for players to move to London.

Looking at the plans at other sides like Leicester and the investment in this area, it is demoralising that Ashley will to invest when planning was granted over a decade ago by Newcastle Council to build a training ground to compete at the top level. Even Sunderland and Middlesbrough have better training grounds than us…

“Furthermore, my continued financial support, the huge contribution of the world-class manager we retained, together with the fantastic efforts of our players and staff, enabled the club to swiftly recover from relegation in 2017. This contrasts starkly with the experiences of clubs such as Aston Villa and Sunderland, and, less recently, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.”

After saying he could not and will not, compete with sides like Man.City (fans never expected we do) he is now using sides that, in Leeds and Forest’s cases, have not actually played in the top flight since he bought the club. Newcastle were comfortably in the top 20 clubs in Europe for turnover when he bought the club and in the seven years prior to his purchase had been in the Champions League twice and the Uefa Cup twice too. To compare us to Forest and hold up promotion as some form of success, when it has been Ashley’s horrendous ownership that got us relegated in the first place, is embarrassing.

“Following publication of the petition, an unprecedented volume of unacceptable abuse was directed towards staff at Sports Direct and its associated companies, via social media, email and telephone. This included digital material of an obscene nature, incitement to commit criminal damage, and language that was clearly intended to intimidate and harass staff.”

The final quote is perhaps the most farcical of them all. While of course we would never condone abuse, it is laughable that Ashley is trying to protect Sport Direct staff here.

Let’s remember the company and his awful staff conditions were so bad a Panorama show went undercover to discover;

  • Ashley forced to pay back £1m in unpaid staff wages (sound familiar with the current squad bonus issue?)
  • 76 ambulances called to Sports Direct Warehouse in under 2 years
  • Labelled the most unethical comapny in the FTSE 350
  • Staff members sacked for being off sick for 2 weeks
  • Making staff work for free if they wanted shifts the following week

So, don’t play the staff welfare card Mike; he is rattled as fans are now affecting his Sports Direct profit levels, not the people.

To publish such a letter, full of total lies and manipulation, is baffling and needs addressed. Ashley is so out of touch with Newcastle fans and doesn’t understand this type of response will only add fuel to flames of the protests planned. With two days left to do deals, which more than likely, will still ensure we end the window with another net profit, something has to give this time.

As Ms Onwurah brilliantly put it in the commons today in her response, this letter does not address any of the concerns or issues at Newcastle United. Ashley is the issue and we need to drive him out.

By @SJRiddlesden 

  (Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at & 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.

9 thoughts on “NUFC Blog’s response to Mike Ashley’s ‘pathetic’ letter – Utter lies, but proof he’s now rattled..

  1. The only people threatened or abused are him, Charnley, Bishop, and SD shareholders who have had a free ride for 10 years at our club’s expense.

    Same old garbage he tried when claiming his family were threatened at St James’ (lie) and suggested happened to Pardew (another lie which even P45 himself refuted).


  2. Whoever wrote this letter please send it to all of the newspapers and media concerned.
    Ashley can’t be allowed to have it all his own way with lies and denial of the truth of what is going on at Newcastle United.
    Ask some questions too such as where has the £125m gone from last seasons earnings, where does the money go to when we continually make a profit from transfer windows, why does his debt never reduce although he never invests a penny into the club, why does Sports Direct pay no money at all into the club for all of its massive exposure etc.
    The sporting world at large must be aware of these accusations and ask him for some answers.
    If he can.


  3. Keep the preasure on and shake the fat git and his crumby empire to its foundations.


  4. Before the backlash saying i support Ashley i dont. But i also dont agree with a nobody politician taking our plight to parliament. It was pathetically embarrassing and showed a small club mentality from her and fans supporting her. Hate ashley but dont make us a laughing stock nationally. We have enough trouble shaking the deluded fans label without publicly dragging this through parliament. They have NO authority or role in football.


  5. I have been a NUFC fan ever since the 1960s when Joe Harvey brought some players to Link End Caravan Site at Alnmouth whilst my parents, brother and I were living in a caravan there (Pops was working with Marconi Radar at the time). Joe and the players were more than happy for my brother (John – now sadly deceased) and I to join them in a playful kickabout at the site.
    It really saddens me to see how far the “Toon” have deteriorated since – and I hasten to add this is not due to the players themselves, but entirely to senior management (Board/owners).
    Although I am unable to attend matches – living near Portsmouth since I was 18 and usually away at sea during 33 years serving in the RN – have always supported the lads from afar. Having originally thought Ashley might be our saviour, I (and many others) quickly became totally depressed every season due to his lack of interest in the team and the club. Now genuinely believe nobody and nothing will stop “The Git” from reducing the club from (long time ago) title and trophy contenders to potential extinction. (Okay, possibly a bit of exaggeration there), but despite being far removed (physically) from a great football club I am really depressed at how far they have sunk down both in status and credibility – through no fault of the Managers and/or the players (who have – every single one of them since 1965) tried their best to bring the club back uo to where they truely belong. Namely challenging for honours in the Premier League, FA Cup and European cups.
    Unfortunately, nothing I or anyone else will affect Ashley’s determination to solely use The Club as a free advertising feature for his beloved (but crap) Sports Direct.
    I have no doubt he is probably a brilliant businessman. Unfortunately he was extremely lucky in getting control of a great and famous club and turned them into the laughing stock of the world.
    No matter what I, or anyone else, says or does, all this nincompoop is interested in is free advertising for his baby (SD).
    I hate to be the harbinger of doom, but in my opinion (having been a long-distant but dedicated fan for over 60 years) the best hope I can see is if this great club goes into ome form of liquidation (but not totally) through “him” at some stage making a major misjudgement – and our great club going into administration.
    Drastic I know, but if that is the only way to get rid of the disease (him) then the pain and sacrifice will be worth it.


  6. Who do you think you are kidding Mr Ashley 😀 ……………..
    We’ve got him on the run 😈 though he’s not very quick 😉
    The more lies he spouts, the more bad publicity he’s getting.


  7. Great piece unlocking the lies. Olly why don’t you send it as an open letter to Jeremy Wright MP with copies to all the media outlets.


  8. I no longer have any sympathy with Newcastle fans, because the only way to rid themselve of Ashley is to stay away from the ground and those who have renewed season tickets are mostly to blame.
    Ashley already has had bad publicity with the stance taken by players and sky – BT showing games with an empty stadium will only help our cause to rid ourselves of him.


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