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.