We have reviewed all the press reports about the meeting yesterday in London between Kevin Keegan, Mike Ashley and others, and we think we have a reasonable idea of what happened.
Mike Ashley – chief honcho at Newcastle – and biggest fan
This is just our best shot at what we think happened and it’s really aimed at dedicated Newcastle fans who wonder what went on.
We think this list will probably be close to what really happened – since it’s obvious the club, and rightly so, will not issue a detailed communication regarding the meeting.
It was a long meeting which lasted a full 4 hours and we have pieced together various reports, and this is our best shot at what we think happened at the meeting:
- Keegan was told not to criticize Mike Ashley in public again. But Kevin will continue to give his opinions and inform Newcastle’s fans about the state of the club, but no more questionable remarks about Mike, the owner
- There was probably a short financial review and it would be pointed that Mike had already put around Â£250M into the Newcastle club, having paid off debts totaling around Â£100M since buying the club for Â£133M last summer
- Mike Ashley will have the club run as a viable business, with Chris Mort obviously as the man in total control as Chairman
- The wage bill is currently too high at around Â£70M, which is about 80% of Newcastle’s total costs, and will need to be trimmed in the summer
- Newcastle will allocate a certain amount of funds (maybe Â£20M) for transfers this summer, plus anything additional that Kevin can get from selling players (note: we estimate that could be another Â£19M)
- We think the roles of each executive present would have been reviewed for clarity for everybody present
- We believe the players who Kevin wants to retain at the club like Michael Owen, Steven Taylor and Steve Harper were discussed and agreement reached and negotiations will start forthwith
- Then some time would have been spent discussing the transfer targets and we think a short list of players to pursue right now, was put together and agreed to
- At the end of the meeting, after 4 hours, everybody present was told not to comment on the meeting to the press, and Chris would issue a short statement saying it was a good and positive meeting
- Then everyone shook hands and kept saying 5th place, 5th place, 5th place, as they left the conference room â€“ since thatâ€™s our target for next season 😀
We’re not saying this is exactly what happened but we think we’re fairly close.