Mike Ashley Remains Shocked By The Business Of Football – He Doesn’t Fully Understand

The Mail’s chief football correspondent Martin Samuel has had a chance meeting with Newcastle owner in the directors’ box at Watford’s Vicarage Road.

During their chance meeting, Ashley explained how he didn’t understand the football business and still doesn’t and has realized that football is not like a regular business.

If “normal” means that revenues and profits are high and growing, then football is not a regular business in that sense because it’s how you do on the field that’s important.

If you announce significant profits as a football club, it suggests you have money to spend that could have been spent on players who could make the on-field performance better.

Newcastle were relegated twice with a good bank account and a weak team.

Mike Ashley – football not like a normal business

In his piece today, in the Mail, Samuel is responding to “Fisherman53” who is a Newcastle fan who met Ashley in Majorca.

Fisherman53 had written:

“I had a chat with Mike Ashley when I bumped into him near his villa in Majorca.” “He came across well and was honest about his need to sell Newcastle to someone with the money to help the club grow.”

“No point selling to Amanda Staveley if she hasn’t got big money backers.”

This is some of what Martin Samuel has reported in the Mail today in his weekly column, responding to “Fisherman53”:

“I don’t think Ashley claims to know the football business. I think he’s quite shocked by it actually,”

“I, too, had a chance meeting with him, in the directors’ box at Watford, and he was also very frank about the problems facing Newcastle and the mistakes he has made.”

“One of his observations is that football is unlike other industries. In any other field, as he sees it, if you put £90M into the business, you see direct results of that investment.”

“Football was alone in that; having spent £50M on players say, an owner will then be told – ‘Well, that hasn’t worked, we need another £50M.’”

“And he’s right there. Manchester United spent £75M on Romelu Lukaku – now Jose Mourinho has gone back to the board and told them they need to spend again on Alexis Sanchez.”

“They probably thought the £75M had addressed that particular problem – but, no.”

“I don’t think Ashley has been the best and I’d say he probably acknowledges that, too.”

“But I do think it is his right to set the price and not be bounced into a cut-and-run deal by an investment group that is showing little sign of having the necessary funds.”

Those are good points made above, and that’s why it’s important to have a good manager at the club and good scouts who can spot the top players.

That’s one big reason Newcastle is attracting attention because Rafa Benitez is in charge, and that’s the best thing Ashley has ever done at Newcastle-  signing the Spaniard.

And success in football is measured by trophies and that investment does pay off – in the value of the football club.

If in the next three years Newcastle regularly finish in the top six of the Premier League and say win the FA Cup once – we’ll be worth twice what we are worth today on the open market.

You heard it first here – on this blog.


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Comments welcome.

19 comments so far

  • Rob1971

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #1

    Catchy I said the other day if we bid for a striker and keeper which you were shouting for you would still find something to blame on Rafa, a couple of days later and guess what you are moaning about the striker we are linked with, it does not matter who we bid for you wont like it as its all to do with your hatred of Rafa

  • Veltman

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #2

    Vincent Abubakar, anyone????

  • Prometheus

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #3

    Gob shite

  • twotonearmy

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #4

    We aren’t asking for 50 million in spend, we aren’t even asking for 30. Let us break our incredibly out of date transfer record on a striker that can actually hit a goal and we will be far better off.

    Ash you can’t keep pretending like we are asking for spending the likes of the Manc clubs.

    Maybe if you actually knew how to run the commercial side of the clubs and we made actual revenue from advertising then we’d be able to atleast afford a player that could impact the team.

  • Jib

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #5

    Overseas players making it in the PL
    is one of the great imponderables.

    Every time you venture into Europe
    to buy someone regardless of position
    it’s a gamble.

    I alway thought Wijnaldum was a canny
    buy for the money after watching him regularly
    for PSV (50 goals in 150 games for an AM !).

    Then we made a profit on him from the bindippers.

    I was genuinely shocked to read he played in
    LPools loss to Swansea, I never even noticed him
    on the pitch !

    His big pal from Holland Memphis DePaye has sunk
    without trace at ManU the list of bench warmers on
    huge salaries is eye watering.

  • chicousa

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #6

    So NUFC thought the 8M £ bid from Brighton for Mitrovic was insulting eh? Well currently on TransferMarkt Mitro is valued at only 8M€! So Brighton not out of line. Also interesting comparing Mitrovic to Slimani…


    Hmm. Maybe the best deal out there is to keep and actually play the big Serbian!

  • ArtyH

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #7

    Will anyone fall for the line will only ” sell Newcastle to someone with the money to help the club grow.” If you believe that you are in need of medication. He does not care who he sell to ( if he ever does ) its all about how much he can get!

  • ShirebrookToon

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #8

    Well if he’d done his due diligence before buying the club he may have understood thing a bit better. Or then again maybe not because he hasn’t learnt anything in the last 10 years, he continues to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome!!


  • Slank

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #9


    ‘…His big pal from Holland Memphis DePaye has sunk without trace at ManU…..’

    Is it because he plays for Lyon ?

  • Thump

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #10

    @Jib: when the Bindippers came up earlier in the season, we honestly didn’t even know he was playing. It wasn’t until half time when we were scanning through the live tickers over a pint in the Gallowgate that we discovered that he was the one who hit the post.

    Apparently everybody else realised the same thing, as there were a good few “let’s all laugh at Gini” chants after the second half whistle blew.

  • AncientC

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #11

    From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5311043/Newcastle-isnt-football-culture-shock-anyone.html

    Martin Samuel goes on a tirade about Newcastle fans thinking they are “special,” this was after Samuel was questioned about Mike Ashley—at no point was it implied to Martin Samuel that Newcastle fans think they are special. Later a few paragraphs down (after 2 paragraphs about geography which had nothing to do with anything), Martin Samuel goes on to complain that he and southerners are being pigeon-holed.

    This is probably why Martin Samuel writes for the gutter media. I wonder if Samuel has noticed that by claiming all Newcastle fans think they are special, he has realised that he has pigeon holed Newcastle fans in the exact same fashion as to which he complained about earlier in his piece. Not too many rungs up the ladder from simpleton territory, is our Martin Samuel.

    “Don’t pigeon-hole us Southerners.”

    “You lot think you’re all special.”

    Yeah, okay.

  • Jib

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #12

    Slank remove the “has”
    and all will become clear.

    In season 2016/17 he played
    20 minutes (yes twenty)
    in the PL for Man Yoo !

  • AncientC

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #13

    “One of his observations is that football is unlike other industries. In any other field, as he sees it, if you put £90M into the business, you see direct results of that investment.”

    This is what happens when you do not reinvest profits. The club (Ashley) had made £100 million over 5 years, then let the squad fall into a state of almost irreparable damage. Then, and only then were the club’s profits thrown into the playing squad—-and most of it was spent on rookies with a profit (inflation) in mind. Martin Samuel must have forgotten about that one, when he was making it seem like Ashley just out of nowhere splurged on players.

  • nightfa11

    Jan 25, 2018 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #14

    i agree.. that sanchez, lukaku story is not much of an excuse..

    clubs in premier league get ton of money and spending 50+ mio a year on few first team players is the very least an owner can do..

  • Tsunki

    Jan 25, 2018 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #15

    Munster has a point (cradles chin with hand, glances skyward in pensive mood) why IS Mitrovic so poorly rate by Benitez with such a fantastic scoring and playing reliability record? Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Catchy has a point (switches to cradling chin with other hand, glances skyward in pensive mood) why DOES Benitez rate this Jorgensen goon who we don’t know for definite we have tried to buy or are actually after or that hadn’t played for us in any case yet?

  • Shadow_Shearer

    Jan 25, 2018 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #16

    Could people please stop all this non sense about the fat man not understanding football. That was his excuse many years ago to not spend money.

    Its not hard to understand, the better the team you buy, the higher the team can achieve. Im sure a self made billionaire understands. If he gave us the same attention he does to sports direct, it would be a different story.

    He just doesn’t care about the fans or club, but can’t come out in public admitting it. Add on the fact hes to stingy to spend

  • Moonraker15

    Jan 25, 2018 at 5:33 PM

    Comment #17

    Ashley doesn’t realise it’s not the “amount” you spend in football it’s “who” you buy!
    If you allow a football expert to choose rather than an amateur, then your team will be more successful and a successful club increases in value.
    Rafa could, as KK and SBR did, build a top 6 club competing in Europe. This club would then be worth 6-700 million! Which bit of that simple plan does a successful billionaire not understand? FFS!

  • Kenny

    Jan 25, 2018 at 8:54 PM

    Comment #18

    Moonraker15: you’ve hit the nail on the head, there is also prize money for what ever position you finish in the league above the relegation zone and there is TV money.. some of which will go towards players wages but there has to be enough leftover to buy 3 or 4 good players in each window if the sale of unwanted players goes well, there’s sponser money and advertisment money shit was getting carried away there he’s still milking us dry but we still owe the FCB £100m !!!!

  • terencelim

    Jan 26, 2018 at 7:58 AM

    Comment #19

    Easily the worst owner in the league if not the whole nation. Profiting from the club and putting the money into his own pocket.

    Yet someone here earlier said all owners are the same. Wow.


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