Sir John Hall – Mike Ashley Is Doing A Very Good Job


Most Newcastle fans thought it would take many seasons  to build Newcastle into a good side again, with the way owner Mike Ashley was unwilling to spend money in the transfer market.

Hall signed Alan Shearer for £15M in the summer of 1996

But we are now sitting pretty in 3rd place in the league, and not only that but the side is performing very well of late, and playing attacking and attractive football to boot.

In an interview with Goal, Sir John Hall, who ran the club during the first Kevin Keegan management era at Newcastle, has come out and applauded Ashley’s strategy of adopting a thrifty approach to running the club.

Ashley has been successful in getting some significant bargains in the transfer market, like Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote, who Newcastle signed for around £8M for the two of them. How much would they worth now in the transfer market?

Ashley’s strategy is also to bring the very best youngsters to the club, and that is working well too, as the Reserves, like the first team, are still unbeaten in their league this season, and the average age of the side is around 20.

Mike has invested heavily in the Scouting network at Newcastle, and the club now have over 20 scouts each weekend checking on potential targets, and of course he has heavily invested in the Youth Academy.

This is what John Hall said to GOAL:

“The only thing fans wanted is for you to keep throwing your money into a club but you can’t keep doing that when you are competing with the likes of Chelsea because it is a recipe for bankruptcy unless you have a bottomless pit of money,”

“Ashley runs his business by keeping a very tight rein on things and he is doing very, very well. Sports Direct has done exceptionally well since he founded the company and he has brought his business principles to St James’ Park.”

“I don’t have as much money as Mike but I would probably be doing the same as him. In my day we were local millionaires such as Jack Walker at Blackburn, Dave Whelan at Wigan and Bill Kenwright at Everton and we put our money into our clubs because we were fans.”

“But now the game is being run by billionaires and for me it is wrong and stupid if any English businessman tries to compete with these billionaires who are coming in and I don’t think are coming in for the right reasons.”

“Ashley has a formula that is working and long may it continue.”  “In my view when Roman Abramovich came in, the game in England changed forever and basically people threw money at it for reasons other than football.”

“It is a global business but I don’t think the right thing is happening for the fans.”

“Mike Ashley has had a lot of unjustifiable criticism,”  “With some of the headlines he has got in the local press, I would have walked away if I had got them. But probably he came in not knowing football.”

“He took a lot of advice from friends of his in the south of England which wasn’t the sort of advice that Newcastle United needed and he suffered the consequences of it. He came into the club to use Newcastle United as a brand to bolster his Sports Direct business and I still think that will happen.”

“But he has got to be applauded for the position of the club at the moment. He spent money and he has bought players but he has bought the players he wants to buy and he is running the club in a manner which he wants to run it.”

“He is a very astute businessman and he has got the team playing well and the club functioning well as a whole. He deserves credit and we should all be saying well done and carry on.”

It even seems that whatever Mike was trying to do when he first arrived at Newcastle is starting to pay off, and certainly Newcastle have made giant strides forward since they were sadly relegated from the Premier League just over two years ago.

Newcastle won the Championship with a massive 102 points in May of 2010,  and then finished 12th in the Premier League last season, and unless the lads have a terrible collapse this season, we should do better than 12th place this season, as the club continues on an upward spiral.

Things are certainly looking up at Newcastle at the moment, as Mike’s strategies for the Tyneside club seem now to be working like a charm.

And as Sir John says – long may that continue.

Comments welcome.



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5 comments so far

  • magpiebop

    Nov 5, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #1

    Credit where credits due!

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  • stephen1971

    Nov 5, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #2

    eating humble pie, i must say he,s definatly got the club going in the right direction and not spending big, look at the reserves , they are unbeaten and the average age of the team is only 20 , this is our future and there sitting nicely at the top of the leauge, the future looks bright the future is black and white hwtl 2-1 today will do

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  • bills-son

    Nov 5, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #3

    Ashley made big mistakes in his first 12/18 months – most of them by listening to fans and so called football ‘experts’. Once he realised that most of these experts were talking bullsh&t he started to run NUFC with the same business sense as he runs Sports Direct.

    That meant making controversial decisions that at the time seemed not to be in the interests of the club. Sir John is dead right, mosts fans think a good plan – the only plan – is for a club to constantly spend millions. It isnt. The real value of a player is how he performs on the pitch for NUFC not how much he cost. Cabaye, Tiote and Ba are prime examples. Ashley knows there are plenty of bargains out there and it is the job of the manager and scouting staff to scour the world and find them. Its no different to his SD business where his buyers do exactly the same.

    Having a sound plan and sticking to it is the basis of any successful business and – whether fans like it or not – thats exactly what football now is. The great thing is that a big part of Ashley’s plan is to sign talented young players who are ambitious and hungry for success and who are thrilled to join a club where 50,000 fans will make you a God if you win a trophy. He is also building the squad from the youth team up which is a massive change from previous regimes.

    Fans forget that when Ashley first came he wore the shirt, drank in the Strawberry and stood on the terraces. He IS a football fan, he jumped around when we scored just like the rest of us. How many other owners have EVER done that? Not the Maktoums or Abramovich thats for sure.

    Ashley has had dogs of abuse which at times has been very public and disgraceful. Toon fans have shown that they can swallow their pride by chanting ‘Alan Pardews black n white army’ so lets at least stop the Ashley abuse even if we can’t go as far to sing ‘Ashleys army’.

    Just think how much more Ashley might do for the Toon if he thought that he was finally being appreciated.

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  • BigKirky

    Nov 5, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #4

    As some of us were saying in the summer, look at the players who have cone in, not the money spent. We have bought well and hopefully that will continue and one or two young quality additions brought in each year will keep the club getting stronger and stronger.

    I was thinking about Sir Bobby earlier in the week and it dawned on me why we’re actually doing so well.

    Bobby has had a word with God to say it’s about time Newcastle United had some luck and got a team which matched the fantastic support and will go on to be hugely successful. I think God is listening to Sir Bobby you know 😉 how could he not! 🙂

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  • cupiddstunt

    Nov 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #5

    Although I never went as far as to write crap about him I was at a loss when MA first started with NUFC but I accepted he made mistakes and hoped he would learn from them and progress.

    He appears to have done this, we are basically rid of the cockney mafia the poison dwarf and his group are gone and MA is starting to run the Club like a sound business which is good.

    The next two transfer windows will be a telling time will he see what we have and build on it or will he sell some players at what will be substantial profits and look to replace them with cheaper versions as he has done over the last 12 months.

    The prises in the NUFC team except for Collo are all on long contracts so they will not be leaving on the cheap.

    I think if we do not let any of the best players go in the next two windows then the intent is to build and that will gladden my heart.

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