John Hall – Let’s Hope Ashley Can Find Buyer Soon

John Hall has talked again this morning about the sorry plight of the Newcastle club, which he was Chairman of during the heady Kevin Keegan years of  the 1990s.


Mike Ashley at the Benton training ground last Tuesday

The North-East business  entrepreneur has insisted Ashley had been well intentioned at the strat, two years ago, when he bought Newcastle, but claimed that he went on to make some massive mistakes that have finally resulted in relegation to the Championship.

But John doesn’t blame Mike entirely for the terrible demise of the Tyneside club:

“Let’s get one thing straight: Mike Ashley came into Newcastle for the right reasons – as a long-term investor looking to build the business over four or five years,”  “He wanted to globalise the club. He did not use it as a toy.”

“He saw Newcastle was a fantastic brand, and he wanted to build that brand. However, he made massive mistakes. Too often, he probably took advice. That, combined with the recession, made for disaster.”

“When I first came into the club, I knew nothing about running a football club, but luckily we found Freddie Fletcher, who had huge experience of the business from his time at Glasgow Rangers.”  “He guided us through the minefield, so we did not make the type of mistakes Ashley has made.”

“Sadly, I don’t think Ashley has been able to call on that type of advice.”  “What you also have to acknowledge, though, is that Newcastle’s decline had begun before Ashley arrived at the club.”  “Some of our managers have been disasters and ruined the club long before he came in.”

“The quicker he can sell, the better it will be,”  “However, that is much easier said than done in today’s climate.”  “Mike Ashley will be pushing very, very hard to find a buyer quickly. I just hope he can find one – and find the right one.”

“We need investors who will come in and let the Newcastle United manager – hopefully Alan Shearer – try to build for the long term.”  “Whoever buys the club has to find the money to build a team to get out of the Championship, then build a team fit for the Premier League.”

“That will be easier than it was for us to do because the stadium, the structure and the training ground are in place now, but it will still be very difficult.”

“We can get over this. I know we will get over it. Geordies are used to succeeding in adversity, and they will do again. Let us hope that happens sooner rather than later.”

Of course it will not be easy to find a buyer – and what happens if we don’t find a buyer over the next 4 weeks?

Who will coach the players when they come back – and how do we get all the work done in the last two months of the transfer season, and with just over one month to go (on July 1st) before the Championship season starts.

Not to mention who is buying and selling players  before pre-season starts in a short 4 weeks time, so we can live within our means in the Championship – since to do so means cutting the club costs by around  50%.

Those are the really troubling questions right now – that somebody at the club should be working on – and dare we say it – have some plan when that actually happens – which is more than likely.

It’s the old adage – you plan for the worst and hope for the best – but we wonder if any such plans are in place at the club.

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far

  • baro

    Jun 3, 2009 at 1:30 AM

    Comment #1

    y can’t ashley just sell the club. he has 2 parties interested and he said i want to get rid of the club as soon as i can. simple. just sell it to omani guy or the unknown uk investor ( maybe sheppard ). just let anybody have the club with some money besides fat ashley

  • Toon_Ksk (Huh? u mean David Craig is real?)

    Jun 3, 2009 at 1:57 AM

    Comment #2

    I don’t think it could get any worse as well, just sell it to the highest bidder.

  • mylestoon

    Jun 3, 2009 at 2:58 AM

    Comment #3

    If ashley sells before pre-training that would be quality.

    But if im being honest the only time your goig to see the club sold is when the wage bill is cut down and the club has stabalised a bit, everyone can see that the club is on free fall at the moment, it just needs stability.

    If shearer becomes manager and removes the dead wood and high earners and manages to land a few quality signings, then a buyer will look with more interest.

  • Sav

    Jun 3, 2009 at 3:52 AM

    Comment #4

    SJH is talking guff about the players volunteering for a pay cut. Some may have to if they don’t want to be sold on but what cloud did Hall just step down off?

    Coming from a bloke who made over £50 million out of NUFC, its a bit hard to take. Especially as he left us the legacy of his eejit son leeching the club for years through his Gibraltar office. I’ve more time for Shepherd than for Douggie Hall and that’s not much. Between the 3 of these jokers, they defy the adage that you can’t make money out of football. They lined their pockets and left us in the mess which Ashley has inadvertently just hauled us out of.

    Hopefully, in a couple of years we will look back on the Ashley dynasty and thank our stars for it because it may have been instrumental in saving the club financially – as long as the next owner doesn’t bleed the club dry again. I know SJH brought NUFC out of bad times into good but unless he is looking to put some of that massive profit back in, he has no paternalistic right to be telling others what morally they ought to do with their wages.

  • stk85

    Jun 3, 2009 at 4:53 AM

    Comment #5

    he is making sense, if players want to stay FOR THE CLUB, they have to take a pay cut.

    we aint some charity case, last chance salooon for a quick buck.

    firstly, i’d love to see if duff wants to stay on for the club (as he said, he’s as loyal as they get), go down to 40k a week for the year instead of 60k.

    its hardly a f*ing effort for them!

  • beyethegreat

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    Comment #6

    this list is disgaceful how is klinsmann ahead of the likes of stanley mathers romario and hagi

  • Nick D

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #7

    I don’t know why Ashley has put it in the hands of Keith harris again. he should have used the girl who sold Man City. That was done deal in less than no time. harris hs had an eternity to get any solid interest. That girl whose name escapes me completed the Abu Dhabi deal in days.

  • Johno Toon

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #8

    cause its the mirror beye!

    Think Sir John Hall is right that ashley did come in for the right reason but he has made a pigs ear of it ,

  • ian

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #9

    They need to be bringing someone with experience in now on a temporary basis to search for potential deals with current expensive players so the choices are already there is someone buys. If no-one buys within a month they have the option themselves of acting on them, there is a com,plete lack of organisation and business acumen with this bunch they step in the same turds year in and year out.

  • Ericles

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #10

    Looks like the Russian navy’s Gorshkov principle again – when the balloon goes up and the chips are down you go with what you’ve got cos there will be no time to call for anything else. That looks like the road to Leeds to me.

  • Stuart79

    Jun 3, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    Comment #11

    This will take ages!

  • lesh

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #12

    SJH’s advocating building a team to get out of the Championship?

    That world-class striker Owen could be available for a £1.5m sign-on fee and £50k pw!

    What a snip

  • Stuart79

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #15

    Journal reporting that a mystery middle East party have declared an onterest and that Keith Harris is out of the country ‘on business’.

    Hope it’s in the middle east!

  • Toon Graeme

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #16

    Lets just hope that no news is good news and that the weekend brings us good news for a change i regards to an offer and a manager.

    I think we are all sick as fudge (edited word) with what has been going on at SJP and its time for change.

    New owner(s)
    New manager
    New team
    New season

  • Johno Toon

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #17

    Totally agree with you graeme , was gutted ashley decided to sell becasue it has thrown us back into turmoil but i feel a sale is on the cards now,

    any read on the journal that rumors the group looking at portsmouth might rethink and try buy us? Surely just the media putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5! or is the journal accurate with stories like this?

  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #18

    well i came on to post the journo link, but it seems everyone has it, makes me happy we are going for beckford and it sounds like he wants to come, i am a big fan of the lad

  • Toon Graeme

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #19

    Johno – I tend to find that the journal do some pretty accurate reporting and find you can rely on it as a source of toon news.

    I thought that Shearer and NUFC would be a big attraction to players currently in the championship – not necessarily that they are any good and thats what we need to weed through.

    Get the right players, with the right attitude, who want to play for the team and the city – not just the wage packet.

    Fingers and toes crossed for good news!

  • Whumpie

    Jun 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #20

    …new league

  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #21

    peter loven wants to stay.

  • sahota

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #22

    I just hope deal is done before end of week. Probably we will be cheering a team in AUG who will be ready to die for Newcastle and will work socks off for us. Com’on Shearer and co , get us out of hell. We should be in PL in next 1-2 years. That should be target.

  • Whumpie

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #23

    Let’s not forget that there is nothing stopping us offloading players before a buy-out or even a manager is appointed. I’m sure Ashley has a list of players Shearer is happy to see go, and I’d be amazed if these players weren’t firmly on the transfer list already.

    Same with new deals: Shearer and the scouts won’t be sitting idle waiting for Barclays to get their finger out.

    The link on post 13 is also interesting, and confirms what many of us suspected: that Ashley just hasn’t got the liquid assets to do what’s needed; hence the sale and hence the lack of Shearer contract until Barclays give the nod.

    Strange to think of that as good news, but at least it does give a plausible explanation as to why things are the way they are.

    There’s still hope. Unfortunately it lies with a load of total bankers.

  • Johno Toon

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #25

    think mclovin would be very useful int eh championship , certainly has the pace and can certainly get a a few goals

  • Nick 69

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #26

    beckford would be a decent signing, hope it comes off. i also think we shud offer daniel sturridge a contract althought there is news tht chelsea are going to, which would be a big mistake on his part if hes after first team football considering reports that drogba will sign new contract and their supposed interest in pato or eto’o

  • Toon Graeme

    Jun 3, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #27

    I do hope Loven does stay and sign up – just for his chant alone which seems to go on for ages – even when he aint on the pitch!!

    Seriously though I think he shows the passion we need – or was that just to get a prem deal – this report seems to show its not all about getting into a prem team.

    Anyone think we will flog Ameobi and get some money in for the kitty – and no its not a dig at him.

    Again fingers crossed.


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