Mike Ashley’s go-to journalist ends takeover silence…and it absolutely stinks

Martin Samuel has given his thoughts on the impending takeover, and as usual, it’s baffling to say the least.

The Daily Mail writer is a trusted confidant of Mike Ashley, so of course the article is not so complimentary about our would be owners while painting his mate in a far better light than he deserves.

You have to read it to believe it, so here’s the first of two snippets we’ve picked out (You can see the piece in full here):

“The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has total estimated assets of £256billion. The difference between the £340m Mike Ashley wants for Newcastle and the £300m believed to be on offer, is 0.015 per cent of that wealth.

“And that is what has been holding this up? The equivalent of £4.50 to a person earning £30,000 annually. Roughly the price of a pint of beer. Alarm bells, alarm bells.

“There is a lot of information swirling around this takeover, all coming from one side, and usually one source. The seller has said nothing. All we know about Ashley and the consortiums raised by Amanda Staveley is that he does not trust them.“ I mean come on, “the seller has said nothing”.

Really? Give over man, this absolutely reeks of Ashley dictating this entire article, exactly the same as his “interview” Samuel apparently did with him last year in the aftermath of the BZG fiasco and Rafa leaving.

Here’s the first clue. No one else is running a story about the sale amount being less than Ashley’s initial asking price as if it’s a stain on Staveley and co.

If the amount is in fact lower than what Ashley wants, it is of course because of a decreased value due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. A value apparently so decreased he’s having to ask the government for help to pay his staff.

Millions of businesses all over the world have decreased in value and millions more probably will, so why is Samuel talking about it like Mike Ashley has been hard done by, and making out Staveley, the Reuben family and PIF are the bad guys for not paying more.

It smacks of Ashley basically moaning to his mate that he’s had to accept a lower bid due to the financial situation in his business empire, and Samuel has turned it into an anti-Staveley article for him.

On that note, I personally find it wonderfully poetic that a man who has expanded his business empire by bullying companies in financial difficulty is now being forced to sell on terms that don’t seem fair to him.

Samuel’s line about the £4.50 is also amusing too. I can afford £4.50. Would I pay it for something that was worth say, £3 like a Sainbury’s meal deal without questions, queries or negotiations? Nope.

I also wonder if Samuel would like to make a monetary comparison between Ashley’s wealth, and how much it would cost him to continue paying his staff during a desperately difficult time for a lot of people. No Martin? That one isn’t relevant? Wealthy and successful business people don’t throw money away needlessly.

The article went on to say:

“Some interpret Ashley’s silence as confirmation a deal is nearing conclusion and he is doing nothing to jeopardise it, happy to get his £300m amid a huge economic downturn. That would make sense.

A more cynical interpretation is that Ashley is letting the deal proceed, placing no obstacles in its path, allowing the papers to be lodged with the Premier League until the moment he can look his suitors in the eye and tell them, ‘Right, show me the money’.

And if it is not there, if there is another hitch, another delay, a fresh round of conditions or negotiations, then it is on them, not him. He proves his point and is done: it really was another waste of his time.“

That reads like a threat from Ashley to Staveley. We are all aware that there is bad blood between them.

The PR campaign against our would be saviour after her last attempt broke down was shameful to say the least and resorted to personal insults from Ashley’s camp.

Even her attempts to tell her side of the story to the trusted George Caulkin, then of The Times, was labelled self serving PR in some Ashley friendly media outlets. Oh the irony….

I said this about Martin Samuel in an article after he “interviewed” Ashley. He is a very intelligent man and usually an insightful, knowledgeable journalist.

He is much better than writing nonsense for his mate.

14 thoughts on “Mike Ashley’s go-to journalist ends takeover silence…and it absolutely stinks

  1. Started reading Samuel’ s article he posted last night… ‘alarm bells’ indeed!!!! Gave up reading it as he(& the Mail) obviously are being paid handsomely by the fcb…hope they are both squirming uncomfortably on their fat ar5es…
    ASHLEY OUT!!!

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  2. Whether you’re Ashley rich or Saudi rich, the same rules of investment apply.

    So to suggest anything untoward or amiss because Mike’s £340 is apparently now anywhere between £300-310m when values are internationally hit on top of Mike’s asking price being an unwavering £340m through painful times when he paid waaaay less and has an instant buck on that interest free loan upon sale of the club is severe disingenuous reporting by Ashley’s little puppet.

    Tantamount to an opinion by our favourite former Crystal Palace owner who repeatedly makes himself look like an idiot with inaccurate claims.

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  3. Ashley has got exactly what he deserves from the sale 13 years of hell under his riegn. He still furlongs his staff and was adamant his stores should stay open during this epedemic. Then he let’s Rafa go coz he wanted to achieve more than he did. The sooner this clown sells and goes the better there will b one big party for the toon that’s for sure.

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  4. Wouldn’t have Keegan back if got him for nowt he would walk away if went pear shaped he got no bottle at all

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  5. There’s no mention of the new £150m charge St James Holdings has over PCP Partners. This seems to indicate a deal is done.

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  6. Samuels is a disgrace ….he airbrushes out of his article minor inconveniences like Ashley furloughing all non playing staff straightaway in this crisis ; the zero hours contracts for his workers ; his total disregard for the clubs place in the North East community and his use of the club as a cash cow to finance his bids for House of Fraser , Debenhams etc . If he has had to reduce his price so what ? He’s presided over two relegations , two near misses and generally used the club and its supporters to promote his disgraceful company whilst running it in to the ground . For a reporter of a national newspaper Samuels should be ashamed of writing such a one eyed article purporting to be a balanced view . Absolute joke .

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  7. If you look around at owners of football clubs, most of the people owning them bought them in fire sales, at the bottom of the market, including Ashley. A football club is not a traditional business and is very hard to value – are players assets or liabilities for instance? Do you value Joelinton at the price paid for him, or the price you could expect to get in the marketplace? And who comes up with that value? What we have here is a greedy man, Ashley, who’s valued the club at one price, and cash buyers who value the club differently. The point made by the author in the article is an excellent one – just because you can afford to pay out £4.50 (or in case we forget what we’re talking about here – 40 MILLION QUID), you don’t spend it if you don’t have to, or if you think you’re not getting something of value for it. Ashley’s used to holding all the cards when he’s buying out businesses with no other choices available to them, and to dictating his terms – when he’s dealing with people who genuinely could buy anyone they wanted to, he’s resorting to huffy articles to try and…what? SCARE the consortium? He’s out of his depth, a one-trick pony.

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