Ashley Unimpressed with Release-Clauses in Newcastle Contracts

As we reported last week Mike Ashley will shortly be appointing an executive to conduct a thorough, objective and strategic review of the Newcastle United Football Club, which will also examine the club’s business practices. From what he has seen so far Ashley is probably unimpressed with Newcastle’s business practices.


Mike Ashley

The review should be interesting and will probably unveil at least some new news about what goes on at Newcastle.  Ashley is expected to appoint a member of his staff to conduct the review which will also consider the findings of Lord Stevens’ recent report where 8 of the 17 deals his company, Quest, refused to sign off on involved Newcastle or Allardyce.

It has already been reported that Mike Ashley and Sam Allardyce are rather dismayed at the existence of buy-out clauses in our two most recent big buys – Owen and Martins. Ashley is now aware of the details of these and is said to be unimpressed. The upcoming review will look at every aspect of the club and will need to examine the future of Shepherd who still holds the role of chairman – and now wants to take on a chief executive’s role.


Chairman Freddy Shepherd

Since Freddy Shepherd – as revealed by Graeme Souness handled all the transfers – the responsibility for these out-clauses in contracts lies at the feet of Shepherd. Some reports are even suggesting this will give Ashley real cause to remove Shepherd from his post as Chairman. Of course – being Freddy – there’s no way he would go without getting a payoff – so even at the end he would be taking money out of the club.

The sacking of Shepherd may be a good move for Ashley – so that he can have a fresh start at the club. Shepherd and Douglas Hall both have two year extensions to their contracts – if they are sacked. It would appear this is what they are serving out right now. To think these two could get clauses like this into their individual contracts shows little oversight at the club and is also little short of scandalous.

On the playing side Allardyce is said to be deeply concerned that Owen’s heart is not in staying on Tyneside.  As reported yesterday Manchester City may be the first club to test Owen’s will – especially if, as expected, Sven Goran Eriksson becomes manager. But why Owen would move to Manchester City is beyond us – other than to be closer to his home.

It seems the way Newcastle United conduct their business in the future will be a lot more business like and professional under Ashley -and that’s exactly the way it should be.

Comments welcome.

7 comments so far

  • reggie22

    Jun 23, 2007 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #1

    if the players are both commited to toon y not get them to sign new contracts minus the buy out clauses and possibly extending them.

  • Chris

    Jun 23, 2007 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #2

    I hope Ashley gets rid of Shepherd ASAP. He’s made a mockery of this club. For Shepherd to say he loves this club boils my piss. He even has a clause in his own contract the greedy fat twat!
    Shepherd is a business man nothing more nothing less. He’s signed players that our managers knew nothing about. So he buy’s the players and expects the managers to do something with them.
    I blamed Souness for the mess we got ourselves in. But he recons he only had any dealings with the Boumsong transfer. So Shepherdc has been playing Championship Manager for real.
    As far as I’m concerned Shepherd has to go. I hope Ashley see’s sense and I also hope he can bring in David Dein to steady this club.

  • Tez

    Jun 23, 2007 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #3

    Thats exactly what I think should be done – reggie22- offer both Martins and Owen new contracts without the buy-out-clause. If Martins is as commited as he has recently said he should sign without any problems. Offer Owen a three year contract without the buyout and then you will see if he is commited to Newcastle or is still holding out for move.
    And with all this talk of Henry away to Barca (reported £16mil – which is pennies) Arenal may come knocking and offer the £22mil (£13mil for Martins and £9mil for Owen) to replace Henry.

    Is there any more news on Alan Smith?

    We need to get this striker situation sorted so we can get back to looking to build on defense. Thank goodness we finally wrapped up the big 6’3 Rosehnal another experienced centre back along with a left and right back.

    Come on the TOON!!!

  • Guy

    Jun 23, 2007 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #4

    How can anyone call FS a business man when he is prepared to sell off his most valuable assets at below the market price. If you look at some of the prices quoted for strikers at the moment Martins should be at least 18m.

  • Darren

    Jun 23, 2007 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #5

    Chris – Be real, okay FFS isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he has backed every manager we have had with the cash for signings.

    You are reading Souness’s comments the wrong way, Souness stated he didn’t know anything about players CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS. Souness still told FFS who he wanted to buy, FFS didn’t decide what players to sign, he just dealt with the transfer fee & player contracts.

    Can you honestly see Keegan, Dalglish, Gullit, Robson, Souness & Roeder allowing the chairman to buy all players ala CM style?

    As for Shepherd’s own contract clause, every high paid job in the world has them, especially if you are employed by a PLC. The shareholders could vote you out anytime, you are bound to have a fall back clause entitling you to a redundancy pay off.

    People say the main fault in Shepherd’s reign has been his poor choice of manager, however most people were happy when Dalglish tookover from KK, again not many complaints when Gullit arrived. Robson was a universally popular choice and the fans wanted Roeder. Only Souness was criticised on appointment.

    Remember back to the dark days pre Keegan and be thankful Sir John Hall, Shepherd & the others managed to get us into the premiership just as the game boomed. We are now a club with a great stadium, massive turnover, we have seen quality players here that we could have only dreamed about wearing a black & white shirt, we have travelled all over Europe beating some of the best teams around, been to FA Cup finals and came to within a whisker of winning the premiership.

    We are now on the brink of greater things with a billionaire prepared to pour yet more money into our club. If FFS & Co hadn’t got us to where we are today, Mr Ashley wouldn’t be giving us a glance.

    So be thankful for has been done over the last 15 years – or would you have preferred weekend trips to Grimsby, Hull & Oxford like we had back then.

  • Pete

    Jun 23, 2007 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #6


    You say that FFS backed our managers with money, that is not true. He lent all the money from the bank – he didn’t really put his own money in.

    FFS actually takes money from the club, and he generally a buffoon who constantly embarrass’ the club.

    Anyway, take a look at this

    Ashley is quite right to get rid of the board, with Henry going to barca do you reckon Arsne/David Dein will come to us?

  • Darren

    Jun 23, 2007 at 11:55 PM

    Comment #7

    PETE – Fat Freddie did back our managers with money, every season millions were spent on players.

    Not his money though… The clubs money….

    Why should he not just put all his money into NUFC….

    Because we are a PLC – jesus christ are you people stupid????

    NUFC floated on the stockmarket because we didn’t have enough money to rebuild St James Park.

    Once floated, Newcastle became like any other listed business, you behold to your shareholders.

    At this moment in time we are still a PLC.

    Mr Ashley owns around 80% of the shares as we speak, and he is looking to take the club private again.

    Why hasn’t he gave us a big wodge of cash to go and by players yet?

    COS WE ARE STILL A PLC!!! He wants to delist us so he can have total control.

    No wonder people think Geordies are thick – try thinking about things before posting BS.


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