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Talks With Rafa Come To A Standstill – It Shows Ashley’s Lack Of Ambition

The Telegraph are reporting today something that was getting to be obvious – the talks between Rafa’s reps and Lee Charnley on a new contract for the manager have stalled.

And it’s to do with Mike Ashley ambitions for the club or should we say – his lack of ambitions.

While Rafa has talked about liking the challenges he has had since he arrived on Tyneside just over two years ago he doesn’t want to be fighting relegation again.

But he knows from Ashley’s past that if he doesn’t get significant money and a cast iron agreement from the owner to spend in upcoming transfer windows that’s what Newcastle will be doing.

Mike Ashley  – doesn’t have high ambitions for Newcastle

Mike Ashley’s ambition has been to spend as little as possible to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.

And he’s even failed in that.

Here are some of the things that Rafa has said in the Telegraph article starting with when he hopes things will be sorted out:

“Maybe before the summer, I don’t know but as soon as possible.”

“We have to do the right things.” “As I have said many times before that means to clarify our ambitions going forward.”

“I have to say what I have to say and that is very clear.”

“Everybody, all the fans, they have the same feeling as me, and o it is something we need to clarify.”

“I have had three challenges since I came here.”

“The first one was to try and keep Newcastle in the Premier League – but we couldn’t do it.”

“The second one was to go up at the first attempt in the Championship and we did that.”

“The third was to stay up and we did it, we did it early.”

“So I’m quite happy overall with the challenges but still I’d like to compete for something more.”

“It’s not that we want to come to a top side and think that if we lose 1-0 we can protect our goal difference.”

“That is what I don’t like to do, I want to know that we can win.”

“What I will say is this, and I have said this many times – this is a massive club.”

“If we want to compete in the Premier League, and at a good level, then what we have to do are the right things – that is it.”

“We can’t be thinking that our position is ‘We’re safe, great.’”

“No – we had 52,000 fans at St James Park in the Championship last season, between 3,000 and 9,000 at away games in the Championship.”

“The level this club has to be competing at is in the top eight of the Premier League or higher.”

“We want to compete in the Premier League at a good level.”

Well said, Rafa.

It seems like Ashley and company are unable to show Rafa they have the ambition he needs from the club.

Couple that with nobody seeming to want to buy Newcastle for close to £400M Ashley has managed to manufacture another potential crisis on Tyneside.

Only he could do that after two successful seasons under a world-class manager.

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Comments welcome.

17 comments so far

  • Jib

    May 7, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    Comment #1


  • Steve Le Sleeve

    May 7, 2018 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #2

    its all so horribly predictable. just waiting for one of the henchmen to say the money isnt there, or we cant compete with Burnley. Seriously, where does the money go? Wage bill is forever being cut. Ashley apparently had to put in an extra £30m when we were down in championship. Must’ve learned Trumpian economics.

  • ToonTiger

    May 7, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #3

    Cough up or Sell up Ashley

  • Lindisfarne

    May 7, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #4

    The £30M MA put in, approximately half was to cover running costs last season. Which would indicate the bank balance was empty prior to any income / winnings gained at the end of the season. Not a whole lot of money has come or gone out over the last 12 months in comparison to other clubs and the financial position we are in after this season ends will dictate the money available to Rafa.

    Not a whole lot, would be my guess and whilst only a small percentage in overall terms the corporate deals made by MA, not paying for advertising, merchandising sales going to SD adds up to a tidy sum over the 11 years he has been here. Leaving NUFC on a string budget in comparison to other clubs and not withstanding the TV money.

  • Bambams

    May 7, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Comment #5

    It’s a horrible situation at this moment in time, Rafa is clearly giving Ash notice of his intentions.

    However if Ash either fails to sell up (which I think is the reason he is stalling in the hope someone comes in before he has to cough up funds) or fails to back Rafa in the summer window – then I believe Rafa will make it clear he will stay until his contract is up or await someone to buy his clause to release him.

    Rafa wants to compete for a trophy as do we….Ash just wants free advertising worldwide

  • Ron Knee

    May 7, 2018 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #6

    For older readers:

    Ashley, “You better move on, you better move on.”

  • lochinvar

    May 7, 2018 at 8:57 AM

    Comment #7

    And just how does the Telegraph arrive at that conclusion that talks have stalled ? Are they included in the process ?
    It’s a long Bank Holiday weekend and I guess everyone’s taking some time out anyway.
    Time will tell

  • Geremi's Prosthetic Leg Fund

    May 7, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #8

    Unfortunately for Ashley is that his entire austerity argument falls down when compared to literally any other top flight club. We’ve missed out on top flight income twice in the last 11 years, we haven’t been down for a sustained period and been hit accordingly. As much as the hierarchy wish it was that way to suit their agenda, it isn’t.

    We’ve worked on austerity model throughout the TV boom years – so how are we not able to compete? We’ve never overspent, always worked on the bear minimum costs, season after season. We’ve invested absolutely nothing in infrastructure.

    The only way it stacks up is that we pay all fees upfront – few other clubs do that, and lo and behold they’re not all riddled with debt and close to breaking point. They know how to manage it and it is the accepted norm. Great idea in principle to pay fees upfront but when the market is inflating at the current rate it will forever reduce is to £10 million players.

    We need a total model restructure, one that puts the sport first and aligns with how others operate so we can maximise our budget.

  • Aces-of-Eights

    May 7, 2018 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #9

    What happened to parachute payments.. Sissoko money.. Then the near 100 mill for this seasons tv money… We should have 50 mill minimum to spend this year. Just need to spend most of it on a world class no 9 and 10. Then get a proper right footed right winger on loan with option to buy and a defensive midfielder again with option to buy. That should be enough until next january. Stupid ashley its the clubs money not yours

  • Jib

    May 7, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #10

    I always thought the Stone’s version was crap
    I preferred the original by Arthur Alexander

  • Tsunki

    May 7, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #11

    It seems a mystery to many even to this day why the club runs close to the wire when posting it’s balance sheet.

    It’s because revenue that other clubs utilise fully just never make it into the sporting entity. When Ashley sticks a few million “of his own money” (he profited from in other associated profitable entities) in to keep the final balance in the black it’s just a necessary adjustment.

    That’s what this “wiping its own nose” is about. Ashley has no design to introduce sporting ambition to this model because that would require a huge reshuffle of incomes and a sea change in his business philosophy.

    I’m beginning to think Ashley has minimal interest in moving out of this club. He does virtually nothing to maintain it, it generates steady income and his minions keep it ticking over.

  • anthc

    May 7, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #12

    I said to my father in law that the stavely bid was all smoke and mirrors as Ashley has no intention to sell.
    Several months down the line he blames stavely and then puts the price up by 50 million.
    My view is Rapha wants some assurances in written in his contract as Ashley sold him down the river at the start of last season. As long as Ashley is here we’re always gonna be treading water, he dosen’t want to pump any money in and will only allow what the club generate.

  • mactoon

    May 7, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #13

    @Bambams Comment #5

    “he will stay until his contract is up or await someone to buy his clause to release him”

    He is now in the last 12 months of his contract, there is no clause now he can walk away for nothing. Ashley knows this which is why he is trying to get Rafa to sign a new contract and reintroduce a new clause.

    Generally, the Telegraph’s article is a bit alarmist and they are stretching it by saying Rafa’s quote that the position with talks are “more or less the same situation” is “hinting that talks had stalled”.

    They have talked for less than a week, and now it’s a bank holiday weekend so talks will resume next week. But if they used that quote it wouldn’t sell papers!

  • Bambams

    May 7, 2018 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #14


    Thanks for that mate, I was not aware the clause had ended.

    Even more chance Rafa could leave to a more ambitious club/owner

  • mactoon

    May 7, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #15

    Exactly. Time for Ashley to show some ambition or lose the Manager

  • Toon-Barmy

    May 7, 2018 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #16

    Transfer window opens in 10 days time. Surely it needs sorted out but then?

  • mactoon

    May 7, 2018 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #17

    I would suggest while Rafa hasn’t signed a contract he has the upper hand and if he waits until after the transfer window he will be able to judge Ashley’s intent by how he is backed in the window.


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