Newcastle Central Labour MP Chi Onwurah’s constituency includes St. James’ Park and she has been interviewed in the Times today.
She has been trying to talk to Mike Ashley about the running of Newcastle United for many years and finally got an invitation to meet the owner Mike Ashley last Saturday.
That probably means that Ashley will not be selling the club anytime soon and he may take the club off the market soon.
The invitation was for a meeting with Mike Ashley and some of his people before the game last Saturday when we hammered Cardiff City 3-0: our best win of the season.
There will soon be a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons about the owner’s running of the Newcastle United and his unwillingness to invest in the club.
Onwurah has said she was not convinced by Ashley’s explanation of why he will not invest in the club.
This is some of what Chi Onwurah has said in the Times today:
“It’s clear he feels very strongly in his own defense, so it’s not a matter of indifference to him that he’s seen as the cause of Newcastle’s malaise as well as seen as undermining the city and asset-stripping the club – that matters to him.”
“He and the people around him think he’s the victim of misrepresentation, that he hasn’t taken any money out of the club.”
“We disagreed strongly.” “He didn’t convince me.”
“Most worrying, in my view, is that he has no intention of investing significantly into the club.”
“He said to me at one point, ‘Would you put all your money into it?’”
“But this isn’t just any company, it’s a huge part of our city.”
“I would have recognized I was buying a cultural asset that required investment.”
“One of his people said, ‘But he has invested’.” “Buying the club wasn’t an investment, it was buying something.”
“Giving the club loans isn’t investment.”
“Mr. Ashley said the club can only spend what it generates but, as I’ll say in the debate, that is a form of austerity economics — a club needs investment to reach its potential.”
There are some confusing statements from Chi Onwurah.
What we need Mike Ashley to do is to invest the club’s money that it generates as a business.
We really should not be talking about Ashley’s own money, and he has already invested some of his own money into the club.
That’s to the tune of about 125M over the years at zero interest rate to the club.
It’s the club’s money he’s unwilling to invest – that’s the real problem here.
And if Newcastle suddenly pays Ashley £125M to settle the loan that’s not the owner taking money out of the club; it’s Newcastle United FC paying off what they owe to the owner.
We shouldn’t be confusing Mike Ashley’s own money and the club’s finances; the detailed financial accounts of which come out at the end of every fiscal year.
Ashley has said he will give every last penny the club generates to Rafa.
If he did that we could have had a good team by now.
The point is he hasn’t done that.
As the world’s 19th richest club last season – based on revenues generated of £178.5M – we should be able to invest decent money in buying some good players.
Other clubs with less money seem to be able to do that.