Mike Ashley has given one of his rare interviews, and it’s with Sky Sports again as he talks about his wealth – or the lack thereof – compared to individuals and consortiums who run some of the big football clubs in England.
The Sky Sports interview that will air on Sunday as an introduction to Newcastle’s entry back in the Premier League before we take on Tottenham in front of a sold-out St. James’ Park.
Mike also understands that his manager Rafa Benitez is frustrated at not having the money this summer to buy the quality of players he would like to.
But we think it’s a one off, and if we can survive and even do well we’ll be just fine.
Newcastle should be much better off financially next summer and even in January since that windfall from the Premier League of maybe £125M – if we finish mid-table – will be just five months away.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley
We all know that Rafa Benitez has been frustrated by the transfer window this summer, but in his press conference yesterday, he seemed to accept it’s the way it is.
This is what Mike has said in his Sky Sports interview:
“If you said to me I am wealthy – in theory, I am a billionaire or maybe a multi-billionaire – but in reality, my wealth is all in Sports Direct shares,”
“As I said the other day, it is like wallpaper. I don’t have that cash in the bank so I don’t have the ability to write a cheque for £200M. I don’t have it, it’s simple.”
“I would have to sell the Sports Direct shares to fund that.” “The way it is sometimes portrayed in wealth terms is as though it is in the bank, it’s not.”
“And I have to make it clear that I am nowhere near wealthy enough in football now to compete with the likes of Man City and others.”
“Where it is a wealthy individual taking on what is the equivalent of countries.”
“I cannot and I will not.”
“Every penny the club generates he can have, but it won’t generate enough. Newcastle United does not have a £40M-a-year stadium naming rights deal.”
“I don’t want the fans to watch this interview and think ‘that’s great Rafa is getting £150m in the morning’ – he’s not.”
“Rafa has Managing Director Lee Charnley’s help. And Lee Charnley answers to Rafa and not the other way around, let’s make that crystal clear.”
“Rafa makes all the final decisions on players out and players in but he has to do it with the money the club has.”
“The money available is not enough, it’s very simple, it’s not enough. Rafa knows that and it’s not a secret.
Most wealthy people don’t have lots of money in the bank but it’s usually invested in things like stocks and shares where hopefully the money accumulates with some good investments.
So if richer people need to get money they sell some shares and there’s no reason why Mike can’t do that – but he would be investing his own money into the club.
Mike is running Newcastle as a business and we are at a low ebb right now because we have just come back up from the second division and we missed out on the first payout of the new £5.1B three-year Premier League rights deal in May.
As one example Bournemouth received about £125M from the Premier League for finishing in 9th place and that’s just less than £80M more Newcastle got from our parachute payment from the PL (£41M) and £7.1M from the Championship.
That’s an example of why we are at a financial disadvantage this summer and another consequence of being relegated last year.