On Monday we learned that Mike Ashley was still discussing the potential takeover of Newcastle United, with his Saudi backed consortium. All other bidders are nowhere to be seen, and even after 17 weeks, the Premier League is refusing to make a decision. Instead, holding out for the prospective owner to just give up because of the endless delays.
A Premier League petition has so far received over 107,000 signatures from fans who seek answers to the future of their club. This goes together with 40 MP’s who have each written to demand answers from the Premier League.
It’s a painful waiting game for all of us at the moment. With Sky Sports reporting that Mike Ashley is 100% committed to resolving any issues that the Saudi consortium had when they left the takeover discussions, 10 days ago.
Despite the turbulent year’s under Ashley, Newcastle remain one of the best supported clubs in the Premier League. With a global fan base, Newcastle United are a football club with huge potential if the club is able to receive investment from the correct buyers.
“The English Premier League is the most viewed professional sports league in the world,” states a spokesperson from online casino site PlayFrank.
“The Premier League betting market is worth billions of pounds; this is one of the reasons why investors will be interested in a club such as Newcastle United. Although Newcastle have been a bit of a yo-yo club in recent times, there remains huge potential for any buyer. The stadium needs no improvement, the facilities are fantastic, and the fans are a part of one of the most loyal fan bases in the country. (Source – https://www.playfrank.com/en-gb)
The Final Countdown
The consensus is that Ashely has to go, and he must go as soon as possible. Let’s look back at the key factors which led to the Sports Direct supremo’s demise:
- Since purchasing the club, there have been 10 different managers appointed and 2 relegations in 13 years
- The undermining of Kevin Keegan
- The JFK debacle
- Purchasing Rafa Benitez then replacing him with the weak choice of Steve Bruce
- Allowing Alan Shearer to have the hopes and dreams of the club pinned on him
And many more besides.
Who is the man behind the owner?
- Mike Ashely ranks 836th in the list of Forbes’ richest people in the world
- In June 2020, his net worth was listed as $3 billion
- Ashley is the founder and CEO of Sports Direct International PLC which is valued at £2.5 billion
- Sports Direct has stores in 450 countries around the world and employs over 18,000 people
Mike Ashley is known to be a recluse and a bit of an eccentric who shy’s away from the spotlight. He certainly doesn’t look like your average billionaire tycoon as he’s often seen in a tracksuit. And prefers to watch his clubs’ action from the side-lines with the fans, rather than sit in his own private box. But just how did this unassuming man get to be so rich?
Ashley began his career after leaving secondary school, as a squash player. It was an injury sustained in 1982 which put paid to his sporting career and Mike turned to coach his favourite sport instead. His sights were soon aimed at the retail industry though and thanks to a £10k loan from his family he purchased his first shop, where he sold sporting equipment.
This shop was a huge success and Mike had a thirst for more, he soon had 100 shops in the UK by 1990 and changed the brand name of these to ‘Sports Soccer’.
With plenty of cash profits under his belt, Mike went on to purchase many well-known brands that were currently in financial difficulty. Donnay was the first purchase in 1996, then Lillywhites and Lonsdale. 2004 saw Ashley realise the potential in buying up doomed companies cheaply and turning them round to make a profit. Within 8 years Ashley owned the likes of Kangol, Firetrap, Debenhams, LA Gear, and Slazenger to name but a few.
Ashley is known to do his business in an unconventional way and in strange places. Making him seem eccentric and impulsive, this has done him many favours though as he’s become a bit of a legend. Seen as ‘one of us’, he is the billionaire who built his empire from nothing, but his destruction of NUFC over his reign as owner has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many.
No one really knows how many other businesses he has stakes in or his exact net worth. In 2003 he got divorced from his wife of 15 years, Linda Jerlmyr in what was a record divorce settlement and one of the largest in the UK. This cost Ashley over £50 million, not to mention handing over properties, personal belongings, cars, and other assets. Ashley has 3 children from this marriage.
Splashing the cash
It isn’t just his own money that Mike Ashley is happy to throw around and even lose. Since his takeover of the club in 2007 for £135 million, there have been some spectacular player signings:
- Georginio Wijnaldum
Transfer Fee: £18 million
- Miguel Almiron
Transfer Fee: £21.6 million
Transfer Fee: £39.6
Whatever the future holds for Newcastle United’s ownership, can it be any worse than that of Mike Ashley?