At Last – Mike Ashley’s Views On Lots Of Things

The Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has given more details of his Newcastle takeover, and we think it important to undersatand the truth behind the takeover and other things about Mike and the club.


Mike Ashley – talks about lots of things

This is the real thing and not sensationalized rubbish that we’ve had from the gossip press – so we are going to simply list what Mike says – and encourage all fans to read it.

Ashley’s full interview is published in Newcastle United’s new official magazine, which is available in shops now.


How Mike bought Newcastle

“It was the quickest I’ve ever done a deal of that size – we’re talking only a few days. I was told there was an opportunity to acquire Sir John Hall’s stake in Newcastle United, that he may be a seller but only if somebody acted without any delay because he didn’t want to cause any form of disruption for the club.”

“The last thing Sir John wanted was a long drawn-out affair because he feared that wouldn’t be good for Newcastle United.”

“The deal was put to me on a Saturday. By the Monday, in advance of speaking to Sir John, I’d deposited the equivalent of money we hoped he would accept for his shares at the lawyers and on the Tuesday the deal was effectively done.”

“By Wednesday (May 23, 2007) the announcement was public and that was the first anyone, including the media, knew about it. Once I was told about it, it was done very quickly. Sir John was ready to act if I was and it was a very straightforward process.”

He adds: “Maybe I could have bought a smaller club, but it just wouldn’t have been the same challenge. It’s like settling for the high jump when really you want to do the pole vault – you want more excitement so you go higher.”

“I was being offered the chance to own one of the jewels, one of the diamonds of the Premier League. There was no hesitation, why would there be?”


The state of the Newcastle United finances

“Financially, the club was in a difficult position because I really do think that it had over-extended itself.”

“We first heard about the potential sale on a Saturday and had done the deal by the Wednesday, so if you are asking if we did due diligence before buying then the answer has to be no.”

“But would I change anything about that process? No. Do I regret anything? Absolutely not. What I will add is that one of the most unfortunate things about Newcastle United finances at the time was the amount of money still owed on players signed in comparison to the amount of income that was due off players who had gone.”

“There is still £27m net to pay on transfers that were done before I came. So probably in the latter years before we came in could you argue that the club was beginning to lose its way. It has also already taken upfront payments from commercial deals and sponsorships which didn’t help us at all.”

“It seemed as though the club was in a very downward spiral, one it would have found very hard to come out of.”

“Apart from the purchase of the club and the associated costs that come with that, I’ve put in a further £100m to reduce debts and expect no interest is paid on that. Yet still we have the outstanding debt of the monies still owed on player transfers.”


Why Mike sits with the Newcastle fans

“I wear my strip and I go in with the fans because that’s how I’ve always gone to football and I enjoy it.”

“Nothing beats the atmosphere of being in with the fans.”

“The fans who make the away trips are so fanatical every game feels like a cup game and it’s tremendous to be part of it.”

Asked how he feels when the supporters react negatively to the team’s performance, he added: “Honest answer? There were times last season when the fans were singing certain things at certain games and I wanted to join in, I really did.”

“I feel like they do. I’m in with the fans, and if we are not playing well I take this side because I’m thinking to myself: ‘How can this be? We are Newcastle United and we should be doing better than this’.”


How Mike gets on with manager Kevin Keegan

“Again, it all happens so quickly. And it was another no-brainer. I took a call from someone who said ‘do you realise Kevin Keegan may be interested in the Newcastle United job again?’

“At first I thought it couldn’t be true. I was out of the country but my reply was ‘if he is interested then tell him I’ll meet him anywhere as soon as I get back’.

“It couldn’t have been an easier choice.”

Asked about how Keegan’s role fits in with that of Dennis Wise, he said: “Kevin is a great manager and he is happiest working with the players.

“But there’s so much involved in running a club that you must make sure people aren’t spread too thinly. How could Kevin devote all his time to the first team if he also had to look after the Academy? That’s where Dennis Wise comes in.”

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

236 comments so far

  • Ian

    Aug 12, 2008 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #1

    Your spelling hasn’t been top notch this morning Ed

  • harrier

    Aug 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #2

    i think mike ashley has saved us from what is inevitably happening to man city – and i honestly think he will prove to be one of our greatest assets

  • furrygiblets

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM

    Comment #3

    Love your blog Ed but this CPU QUOTA is doing my tree in!

  • Graham

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #4

    “There is still £27m net to pay on transfers that were done before I came”.

    This really shows how bad the club was being run under Fat Freddy – he’s been gone over a year and we STILL owe £27m on players who may no longer be at the club. Whether or not that includes any interest etc. that it nothing short of scandalous on the part of Shepherd & co. Does this include what we probably still owe previous managers?????

    So to put it another way, we were in more than £100m worth of debt when Ashley took over.

    He’s saved our club from ruin – no two ways about it. Now get behind him and everyone else at the club – only 4 days to go and I can’t wait!!!

  • HeronMag

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #5

    I hope this puts to an end the doom-merchants claims that Ashley is in this just to sell up and walk away.

  • Phil

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #6

    He is a really good oke and a fanatical newcastle fan like all of us so lets all get behind mike!!
    with him at the top, this club will start goin forward both financially and on the football field 🙂
    i cant wait for this season to start already!!

  • HeronMag

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #7

    Look at all the optimists… AT LAST!!!! 🙂

  • Lesh

    Aug 12, 2008 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #8

    For gawds sake Mike, we recognise it’s been a massive task so far and by the looks of it, progress has been phenominal.

    Not a whinge I assure you and it may seem like detail but it’s a very important detail….. pleeeeeez have your colleagues look at the club/ fans/ media communications machine. As you know, no news leads to speculation, mischief, and false hope.

    It’s gone from famine to feast of late so let’s just see a balance and find that happy medium.

    Superrrrrrb so far.

  • SteveM

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    Comment #9

    The most interesting part of the article in my opinion was the section at the end titled “What about all the fuss over the so-caled showdown talks in london at the end of last saeson?”

    MA says “the point he (KK) was making is that their was a definite gap between the top four and the chasing pack,
    That comes down to finance. Those clubs are getting into the Champions League every year, it generates them extra money and they can use it to park players to stop others buying them.”

    this is a strong allegation about the top 4 using their extra revenue to prevent fair competition in th league

    MA goes on to say “You could look at the premier league as a marathon. It’s supposed to be an even race but really some clubs are running with a rucksack of rocks on their backs compared to others”

    MA has just said the premier league is NOT a fair sporting event.

    In the same official club magazine KK says on “the big four” Its very difficult to talk about the top four in this league because you get criticised if you tell the truth. Fifth place is almost the league for a lot of us at the moment, and while that may change as we build or grow, the top four are still spending money and bringing in lots of players to ensure they keep their position and keep everybody else away.”

    From this I believe that it is NUFC position that the present league system regarding CL placing is intrinsically unfair and that they may even be considering a league without the top four. Certainly the 5th place team Everton is likely to support Newcastle in this due to Everton’s owners comments about not being able to make the jump from 5th place to 4th. Spurs and Villa seem to be prepared to make a go at over taking Liverpool this season – which is the reason why I believe Liverpool have deliberately tried to unsettle and sign players from both these clubs – to prevent Villa and Spurs becoming a threat to Liverpool. All is not well in the premier league and I predict that the days of the ‘big four’ are coming to a close – The patience of Newcastle Everton etc about the unfair playing field has started to wear thin and I expect these clubs to lead a serious push to a fairer league system – one that will probably end up in the courts – but will lead to a league where Newcastle and Everton actually have a fair chance of winning a trophy. Vive Football!

  • Ian-original one

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #10

    It is good that he is talking, it is better for everyone.

    I still think it is simply because he couldnt find an investor/buyer and now has to get on with running this properly and protecting his investment, but whatever the reason I do not care as long as someone cares about our club.

    If Ashley has to hang on to it all for a few years it may just get under his skin and when the recession lifts maybe he wont want a partner/buyer, who knows.

    Anyhow, please dont get mixed up with me and the new Ian above.

  • HeronMag

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:30 PM

    Comment #11

    Thought I’d point a few positives today because the media more often than not seems to potray us a a ‘club in crisis’.

    1. KK is back
    2. Ashley is a billionaire who has stabilized this club financially and is looking for further investment.
    3. We have close ties with Chris Mort and his legal team to help us in transfers (e.g. Gutierrez)
    4. We have a committed youth policy and exciting youngsters like Carroll, Taylor, Lua-Lua, Kadar and Tozer.
    5. We have no european commitments, meaning we can concentrate totally on the domestic campaign.
    6. Michael Owen plays up front for us – a world class player.
    7. We have on of the best stadiums in the country.
    8. We can fill our stadium, unlike some other ‘big’ clubs.
    9. Our first team is filled with developing talents like Guthrie, Milner, Enrique and N’Zogbia.
    10. We are on the verge of signing a top class centre half.

    All in all things don’t look too bad 🙂

  • James

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    Comment #12

    I still think the MAJOR signing is :


    With the deal being done before the Euros.

  • Born Again Geordie

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:50 PM

    Comment #13

    Perhaps this will put pay to everyone slagging MA off and look forward to the new season!!!!!
    Big W – come out, come out wherever you are ??? lol

  • scoundrel days

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #14

    to be fair we can’t slate BigWillie til tomorrow, if there’s not 3 signings tomorrow then we need an explanation which we hope he will give. he has in the past!

  • ObaFan2

    Aug 12, 2008 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #15

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  • ObaFan2

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:06 PM

    Comment #16

    This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota

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    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:07 PM

    Comment #17

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  • macitect

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    Comment #18

    Article is fantastic. I want to believe that it’s earnest and honest and that MA is really in this for the long haul.

    If that were the case I would be much better able to relax about the transfer situation. It took ManU many years to build up to where they are. I think the notion that the top four cannot be broken into is bollocks – but it is not something to be done in one season. It takes a few years to develop players who will perform for club and/or be sold for top dollar. Along with responsible ownership, good decisions and a bit of luck of course!

    Keep it up MA! But for crying shame give MO a bloody contract!

  • ObaFan2

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    Comment #19

    This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota

    Please contact this site’s webmaster.

    and again

  • toonfan1

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #20

    we should all use the forum that ed made months ago so that the site does not keep crashing.

  • itoons

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #21

    well it appears he’s prepared to stump up the cash when appropriate. So why not wait for Owen to either prove his fitness, then offer a decent contract or prove he’s just a fragile has-been and spend the money on someone who’s gonna be fit.
    MA is proving to be a very shrewd gent thus far and aside from his lack of communication has not so much as put a foot wrong….
    surely it cant be fair on the rest of the league if we have 2 messiahs!!!! 😉

  • Toon_Ksk

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #22

    Where is Daiv?

  • Burnsie

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    Comment #23

    firstly lads that i dnt post on here a lot bt i read this blog everyday without fail, every article and this is by far the bitchiest blog going at the minute. some of the comments made about our players, our owner, other clubs, players we are linked with and most importantly each other, our own kind, are absolutely disgusting and uncalled for. day after day the majority of lads on this site just seem to come on and slag everything and i mean everything off. its getting crazy man. just read some of the previous posts. they are shocking. i bet i get slagged off for righting this, i hope i dnt cos im a canny lad just wantn to point this out. banter ok bt howay man some posts and comments are getting out of hand. secondly, about the ‘major’ signing thing that kicked off last nite…apparently its coloccini (ok hes defo), derdiyok and matias fernandez. now its fernandez that im curios about optimisticly curious. it simply comes down to the fact that he is chilean and our technical director, Jeff Vetere, is of chilean origin. now ok this might just be a coincidence bt i tell you what if we do sign him you can garuantee that it will all make sense…cheers lads

  • macitect

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #24

    @toonfan1 – I thought that the forum was dead. thanks for posting the link.

    @itoons – you’re probably right about MO. he’s another guy that I really want to believe is earnest and really wants to perform for the Toon and KK. I think it’s gamble. if he feels he isn’t getting what he’s worth he might fall to more injuries, whereas if things are all sorted and he can just get on with scoring the injuries might subside. I think injuries have a lot to do with the psychology of the player…
    Always loved MO – hope it works for him and the club and he helps lead the way back up to European football.

  • 51times

    Aug 12, 2008 at 5:59 PM

    Comment #25

    Burnsie – We can all be very angry people, but in our own way I think we get along just fine.

  • The Entertainers

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:01 PM

    Comment #26

    I know things havent moved at the pace i’d hoped for when the billionair arrived!

    But even before he arrived i had my doubts about FFS and always dreaded the Leeds situation happening at my club!

    It appears this was a real posibility and i’m grateful for that alone. And as i’ve said numerous occassions i have a huge amount of faith in Ashley.

    Just a word on Ashley and i’m not one for spreading rumours or conspiracy theories on here, but theres always a first time! ha ha

    I must stress these comments come third hand:

    Ashely invited a number of season ticket holders to a private lunch over the weekend, appartrently to haer some of the fans opinions and quell some rumours.

    Although i was earwigging at work when this conversation was going on between senior members of staff what i did hear was :

    *Keegan has been very specific regarding players he wanted.
    *He gave Ashley a list of about 7 players and expected to get 5, with the other 2 being possibilities. Giuterierez was only ever a possibility !
    *Aimar turned us down, for lower wages due to his wife (Where have we heard that before)
    Modric did the same as he wanted to be in London, again for lower wages!
    *Regarding Owen talks are on going and are still very hopeful.

    Now i know theres no ground breaking news there and its third hand but i thought i’d share all the same.

  • James

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Comment #27


    Warnock has just handed a transfer request in at Blackburn because he wants to move to Newcastle.

    Was just on Sky Sports

  • Frankieboy

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:12 PM

    Comment #28

    Been saying it all along MA is a successful businessman who knows what he is doing and the means of success.
    He has taken over a sinking ship, bailed out the crippling ballast (Fat Freddie),replaced crew as required, plugged the holes and steadied that ship.
    All now starting to look shipshape………..Full steam ahead captain.
    Have faith, as most are now realising.

  • Chris F

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #29

    toonfan1, i didnt even know there WAS a forum.

    i know ive suggested it to ed a few times, but never got any feedback.

    the fact it doesn’t seem to be linked to from anywhere obvious on the site doesn’t help either, i guess.

    but as the forum is apparently on the same server, the same issues will persist.

  • cockney magpie

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #30

    i just read it on the website but it says nothing about him wanting to join us

  • Frankieboy

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #31

    James, apparently Paul Ince is adamant nobody else is leaving after losing Friedel and Bentley.
    I would be quite happy to see Warnock arrive. I was surprised when Liverpool let him go to be honest

  • Edd Case

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:16 PM

    Comment #32

    Well, no announcements then…lol.

    No sign of Big Willie or anyone else…

    Well, I guess I’m a muppet because I really believed in that story. Well done Big Willie, you got me and I’m not afraid to come out and say so.

    Shame on you and the others though. It was either a bad joke or you’re own source is winding you up – either way, I bleed black and white and you are out of order to mess with with me and everyone else here on the site.

    Still, maybe I’m being harsh and there really is something in the pipeline – I’ll be the first to say sorry if there is but at the minute, it looks like it’s all a big wind-up…cheers.

  • 51times

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #33

    It would seem the players at Blackburn have taken a disliking to Ince.

  • toonfanjonny

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #34

    always optomistic im going to the open day tomorrow and hoping for some new signings, so Big Willie you’ve got until tomorra

  • 51times

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #35

    Edd Case – Big Willie said it was tomorrow.

  • A geordiedoonsooth

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #36

    Where’s Big Willie today I hope he’s around tomorrow as that is the day he said things would happen. We wait with baited breath (but not much hope)

  • ToonWhitters

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    Comment #37

    Of course ‘Big Willie’ stated that it would be announced by the club today to get the crowds up before 2moro. Oh well…

  • cockney magpie

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #38

    i think we hav been made fools of 🙁

  • Dave

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #39

    There would’ve been an announcement by now, like i said yesterday everyone got too excited. Coincidence that Big Willie isn’t online today? I think not.

  • AndyNUFC

    Aug 12, 2008 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #40

    Just got a call off my mate, he said he’s spoke to Paul and tomorrow only Coloccini will be there. I had said before that he thought that the other 2 signings would be there and all apologies by the way.

    However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting 2 more players in.

    He said that the reason was that Smith’s deal is being held up which means the Derdiyok deal is being held up.

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