Mike Ashley Couldn’t Understand How Football Works – He Does Now

It seems that Mike Ashley and manager Alan Pardew are on the same wavelength as to how they will make Newcastle into a great team again.

Mike Ashley – learning the football game

Indeed one of the success stories in the last 14 months or so is just how well Alan Pardew has done as the manager of Newcastle United, and in today’s interview in the Daily Telegraph,  Alan talks about how he was welcomed by the fans at Newcastle:

“The usual Geordie quote to me was ‘good luck…anyway’. Which was almost good luck. Not quite. In London, it’s ‘you ain’t going to do nothing here, mate’. “

“It’s a different kind of welcome! But when you come to any football club people, really, are just desperate for you to do well.”

That statement “good luck anyway”  is akin to saying that even though we are absolutely convinced you will be a failure on Tyneside, the best of luck in any case.

But Alan has shocked a lot of people, including us, by becoming a very good manager at Newcastle, and he seems  to know what he’s doing.

And of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating,  and he has Newcastle in 6th place in the league and above Liverpool – and that’s quite amazing in itself.

Alan has also opened the door a bit on Mike Ashley, and that Mike was frustrated in the first few years in charge of Newcastle, as he didn’t know how  football works.

But Alan says the case has been cracked and he thinks that Mike will be the owner of the club for a long time:

“Speaking to Mike he feels he will be the owner for a long time and that’s why I wanted a long 5½-year contract,”   “This is his football club and he’s taking a longer-term view now.”

“It’s hurt him, this club, he couldn’t understand how football  works – the agents, the salaries, the industry. Compared to the retail industry he is in and is the main man and knows exactly how it works.”

“I know for a fact he can tell you the price of something on his shelves to the penny. That’s how thorough he is. But you can be thorough in this game and get it all wrong if you have bad selection, advice and that’s what he’s trying to cover.”

“He trusts managing director Derek Llambias to run the club, Graham Carr as chief scout, me as manager. Now he is feeling a lot better about the football club. He now understands the game.”

“When we negotiate with clubs and players we are pretty tough and you need to be in this financial climate – as Rangers and Portsmouth have shown. The model we have got is a good model for these times.”

It’s certainly true that Newcastle are very thorough these days in the transfer market, and when they have identified their targets, which they have done for this summer’s transfer market, they create huge dossiers on the players and are usually one step ahead of other clubs.

That’s how we got players like Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, since there were a number of other clubs interested in those players.

And we have already seen Newcastle being linked with a number of players they will go after once this season ends.

We think it will be a good transfer window again this summer, and there will also be a clear-out of both young players in the Development squad and fringe players in the first team squad like Alan Smith and Peter Lovenkrands.

So there’s likely to be quite a turnover in personnel before September rolls around.

Maybe we will have a team that can even challenge for the top six next season, now that Mike Ashley seems to be getting a handle on how football works.

Comments welcome.

27 comments so far


    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #1

    Maybe he wasn’t the best person to buy a football club then specially without due diligence. He won’t ever be accepted in Newcastle I’d bet.

    Cant argue with the plan for the club its working for now but we haven’t really seen the sell high part yet.

    Still a utter disaster in PR but great at pushing his other company through NUFC for free.

  • LewSpi

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #2

    I think once we beat Sunderland, that would be a perfect time for Mike to come out and explain everything to the fans, just lay it all down on the line. It’s all well Pardew coming out to explain, but there’s nothing like hearing it from the horses mouth.

    He needs to explain things like where he sees the club in 3 years then 5 years, he needs to explain the stadium name and what the chances are of getting a name in for it, these are just a fraction of the explanation needed, but he’d be best to do it while we’re all on a high.

    Personally, I think David Gold has it right, he has a twitter account which he goes on for maybe 20 mins a day, and he just answers fans questions. It’s probably not even him, it’s probably a representative, but it just goes a long way in making the fans feel united to the club.

  • cyprus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #3

    Interesting question about why ‘the magpies’. Also interesting is the beautiful badge with the two seahorses. Coolest badge? Check out some other ones (PL, Championship) at http://www.premierleagueheroes.co.uk/#/pl-teams/4554977471

    Swansea has a nice one too.

    Why the seahorses then? Interesting answers about it here:


    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  • Colo-Sus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #4

    Good post here Ed

    Ashley is learning to be fair to him, and I think the model we have is a very good one, we are responsible ran and dont pay silly money anymore.

    I trust the club now and their decsions, I still dont like Lamearse though.

    Us fans need to accept that players will be sold eventually even key players, but as long as we have young talented replacements at the ready i dont mind.

    Future is Bright


  • cyprus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #5

    In fairness not quite for free. 250 mil. of personal fortune, more like. Not trying to defend him here, but it is true, these people definitely don’t buy football clubs to make money…

  • martoon

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #6

    I still think if Ashley gave an interview himself (even if it was only to nufc.co.uk) and explained his ideas and thinking especially about stadium renaming etc, he could win over a lot of hearts and minds. Surely he knows that in any business keeping the customers happy is essential. I am really baffled why he does not do this now there is less hostility torwards him.

  • davybtoon

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #7

    personally dont think the fans hav any right to know what goes on behind the scenes at any club, there here to support the team n the team only not worry about spreadsheets n figures, look at the top clubs man utd, spurs, chelsea, man city, liverpool, arsenal they dont tell the fans whats happening behind closed doors, and ill take ashly vision over craig whytes at rangers or guydamak at pompey or the venkys at blackburn things are no were near as bad as ppl make out

  • cyprus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #8

    If it was just for advertising,
    just 10 mil (that’s what we are asking for) would’ve done the trick, no need to buy the thing. Also, how many people buy from sportsdirect thinking, ‘oh, this is the NUFC owner, so I’ll buy this’. Non-fans couldn’t care less, fans are more negative because of this…

  • LewSpi

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #9


    Read post 2 😉

    Great minds and all that….

  • Colo-Sus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #10

    I agree there Martoon, it would do alo to help his image with the fans.

    Still think hes just media Shy though, hes always been that way, but surely one with his own clubs website wouldnt be too hard.

    Could we petition it maybe? In a friendly manner?


    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #11

    Aye it can be argued that he has already paid for it but those cost were his own fault. Plus if he came out and said that then I wouldnt have as big of a issue with it but the ‘showcasing’ BS gets my back right up

  • Brad

    Mar 2, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #12

    Why should MA give an interview? None of the top clubs feel the need to address the fans, Do you see Abramovich, The Glaziers, Man City Owners etc etc, no they just go about running the club in a professional manner. For years we have have been a laughing stock due to the owners, either in the Papers or on TV. Its been refreshing this season to be on the back pages about our football and not the running of the club or the Players with too much to say – Barton / Nolan etc.
    I personnaly prefer the way the club is being run, no player power / silly wages, and going the right way up the league. Why cant people just sit back and enjoy a good season and hopefully beat the SMB on Sunday.

  • Colo-Sus

    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #13

    Brad I dont think anyone is complaining here but simply saying that it would be good to hear from Ashley. Even Llambiarse..Just to iron out the clubs vision etc. Of course Ashley does not have to, and your rigtht RE Abramovich etc…Just would be good and would show leadership and empathy with us fans,,thats all mate

  • Slank

    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #14


    ‘…specially without due diligence…’

    You clearly know nothing about Due Diligence. Due Diligence is a voluntary investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract. It has nothing to do with knowing about football or managing a football club.

    ‘…Maybe he wasn’t the best person to buy a football club …’

    Only time will tell but, unlike Rangers, Portsmouth and quite a few others, the general consensus is that he and the club are doing very well and are becoming a benchmark to other clubs on how to successfully manage a football club. Within the next 12 months the club is likely to be reporting a profit and it will be not long thereafter when it is self-financing. And all this and we are 6th and haven’t been out of the top ten all season.

    I think the club is probably in a better position now than it has done for years.


    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #15

    I didnt say due diligence had anything to do with football but a man who knows nothing about football buying a football club without doing the basics when buying a standard business probably isnt a equation to success

    And yes it might turn out well but he made lots of mistakes in the beginning which hurt our club which had he known what he was doing he most likely wouldnt of done. So at the time he wasn’t the person to be buying a club

  • Slank

    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #16


    Totally agree. Yes, why should MA give an interview, nobody else does. Newcastle United is the private property of Mike Ashley. If these fans are so desperate to hear from the owner why don’t they write to him and/or the club.

    It’s so nice to see our club now discussed in terms of respect for it’s on field performances, it’s scouting, it’s financial sound management and lack of front page coverage for off field shenanigans.

  • Slank

    Mar 2, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #17


    He didn’t do any Due Diligence when he bought Lillywhites department store. He has a track record of doing things his way. At the moment Sports Direct are the darling of the FTSE. Compare Sports Direct with JJB Sports. It’s almost a mirror image of Newcastle and Wigan.

    Yes, he made mistakes because in many instances he took advice from ‘football’ people. He kicked out the ‘football’ people and now relies on his own considerable business acumen that has made him a very rich and very successful man.

    People make mistakes but the question is whether they learn by it and not repeat their previous failings and now do things better and differently. To me, he has.

  • jesperfuglsang

    Mar 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #18

    Interesting reading cyprus 😉

    I have always likes the Wolves crest – something simple about it. It reminds me of FC Midtjylland in the Danish SAS League.


  • Howden Mag

    Mar 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #19

    The club in general appears to be very well run throughout. Strong financial decisions, transfer policy and scouting. Changing the playing staff but not drastic measures and improving the squad. Ashley has to be given credit. In my opinion a good manager who is only limited by the qualities of the current playing staff strengths and weaknesses, hopefully this will be addressed in the Summer. I personally do not care about the media name for St James’s Park, for financial reasons, whatever the name, it will always be St. James’s Park, where the lads play and we support them just the same as the Leazes end and the Gallowgate. Times are changing, have changed and we have to move on to keep up and make ground on the regular European competitors. I know Ashley gave a five year plan which we are still in and we appear to be sticking to that plan, maybe slightly ahead. We may be given further information from Ashley at the end of that period. We have been spoilt in the past by press releases about nowt from previous owners, this owner appears to say nowt unless there’s something worth saying.

  • Sav

    Mar 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #20

    I don’t remember discussing Westwood or Rush every week when they were in charge. What does Mashley need to explain that we don’t know about him already, and frankly, even if he did, could you rely on him? So don’t sweat it.

  • cupiddstunt

    Mar 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #21

    WWJBD @ # 11

    Short memory mate he said in the very beginning he bought the club to combine and develop both the club and showcase his main business, problem is everybody seems to have forgotten that fact.

    The impression I got was the whole thing was going to be a little bit symbiotic and it looks like it is heading in just that very direction.

  • cupiddstunt

    Mar 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #22

    Sorry should clarify they are not his exact words but a synopsis of his initial statements.

    He wanted to use the club to help develop his interests abroad.

    So a successful club is the only way he will get his wish of raising his company profile abroad

  • bills-son

    Mar 2, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #23

    He made mistakes at the beginning …. ?

    Who DOESNT in something they try for the first time??

    Honestly, you’d think some of you on here were multi-millionaire successful businemen who never make mistakes and have the vision to see round corners before something has even happened. You keep judging Ashley on his past mistakes while he was learning the ropes. WHY??

    What if your boss kept bollocking you for mistakes you made 3 years ago even though you are getting 90% of what you made mistakes at, right now? You tell him to F right off and stop being a FN ar$ehole.

    THats exactly what Ashley wouyld think reading some of these posts when we are now 6th in Prem with a squad of players FAR BETTER than we had when he came.



  • 9

    Mar 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Comment #24

    WWJBD@1. “Haven’,t seen sell high yet”???? How high do you want to go? £35m not enough?
    Check out cyprus@5 and bill@23.

  • chuck

    Mar 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #25

    The statement, he trustsLlambias and himself (Pardew) i would take with a grain of salt.
    He now understands the game, yeah sure !
    He understands the money part, after all his business is buying and selling.
    As for the rest, yeah Carr appears to be a fair judge of talent (apart from Obertan) certainly Tiote, and Cabaye were astute buys.
    And hopefully a recovering Marveaux will prove to be also.
    As for Llambias ? i have’nt a clue what his gig is, sure i recognise the title, but what does he do thats not vetted by the man himself?
    As for the plan, buy younger cheaper and better, sounds great, but when they show a bit of ability it’s not un-noticed by bigger sides who are willing to splurge.
    Which leves the club back on square one.
    now if the that’s the plan itself, to be a selling club and make a profit on player sales, we better start hiring a few more scouts to fill the assembly line.
    That and the fact we will possibly remain a lower top ten PL side, for the forseeable future.
    Truth is you cant hold onto players when you are paying them peanuts.

  • bills-son

    Mar 2, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #26

    chuck @ 25 – As for the plan, buy younger cheaper and better, sounds great, but when they show a bit of ability it’s not un-noticed by bigger sides who are willing to splurge.
    Which leves the club back on square one.
    now if the that’s the plan itself, to be a selling club and make a profit on player sales, we better start hiring a few more scouts to fill the assembly line.
    That and the fact we will possibly remain a lower top ten PL side, for the forseeable future.
    Truth is you cant hold onto players when you are paying them peanuts.

    What an absolute load of nonsense …

    This ‘we only buy cheap so we can sell high as early as possible and just stay a lower top ten club’ is utter, utter bollocks.


    You and others fans who keep going on and on and on about this non existent /feeder club policy are simply making yourselves look idiots with every window that Ashley does the exact opposite. There is NO evidence to support what you are saying – it is simply your biased Ashley opinion gleaned from the $hit sirring southern press that you decide to believe.

    And as for Llambias – I know an agent heavily imvolved at NUFC and he says that Llambias is a top man to to do business with and that, like Ashley, he is dedicated to making us a success.

    And to me – that is cleary obvious when you look at their totally professional approach to everything from youth development right through to signing first team players.

    It is getting to the stage where anyone who CANT see that is making themselves look a fool.

  • solano

    Mar 2, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #27

    Bigger clubs?


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