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MP Chi Onwurah Meets With Ashley – Some Confusing Statements In Times Interview

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.

Comments welcome.

168 comments so far

  • ashleysmate

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #1

    News Now is quoting we may still have a chance of signing Martins as it’s rumoured Henry is on the verge of being sacked
    But why would we want him anytime? It’s obvious the guy didn’t want to come here in the first place

  • barkel

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #2

    I’d say we’ve more chance of signing Henry than Martins

  • Jib

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #3

    I agree with Ed , Onwurah is a bit of a muddled thinker
    (she’s a Corbyn supporter so it’s probably a prerequisite)

    she could look a bit of plug in Westminster unless she’s
    briefed properly

  • Jib

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #4

    of a plug even

  • martoon

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #5

    Tsunki – re. Robleenio and the ‘mob’ – I’m not going to get drawn into this but anybody who reads yesterday evening’s posts can judge for themselves!

  • lochinvar

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #6

    Would you take Henry as Rafas replacement if he walks ?
    Or Sourness or Wagner ?
    Probably need to start thinking along these lines now that Ashley has done nothing to convince anyone on the planet that he’s ready to sell yet alone pay for transfers

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #7


    I honestly don’t know how rafa has put up with Ashley for so long with his lies constantly saying he backs him only to ignore him is a damn disgrace, id have walked after the first year if he wanted his buyout clause paid simple run after me in the Spanish courts see how far you go 🙂 or better still move to Saudi hahaha Ashley would have to appear in court 🙂

  • lochinvar

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #8

    see that the Mackems have sold their goal scoring striker Malaga for £3.5m
    Good business but might dent their promotion ability unless they come in for Joselu

  • geordietom

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #9

    martoon…re: THE MOB COMMENT …

    agree mate there was a load of depth charges being dropped on here last night…

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #10


    theres £3.50 in the toons coffers 🙂

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #11

    I presume they class the money as “Ashley’s money” as he owns the club and therefore any money it generates I presume. I may be wrong.

    That doesn’t justify what he’s doing at all.

    I mentioned the other day that there should be similar protection for football clubs as heritage sites. Just because you own one, doesn’t mean you should be able to make fundamental changes to it or take any money out. They are an important and historic part of their community.

  • mac the jaffrey

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #12

    I’d like to think that this could be the start of something much bigger in regards to various clubs being exploited at their fans expense and money drained out of those clubs, asset stripping etc

    If everyone got on board and really made this a parliamentary issue it could have legs.

    The Premier League are happy to let this happen with us but it’s happening elsewhere too (see Coventry City as one example).

    With the eyes of the world on it there couldn’t be any avoidance of the issue and it would have to be broached.

    In what other industry would it be ok to expect people to pay their money into something they enjoy and have real passion for, only to be guaranteed a less than satisfactory value for your money.

    Really feel like with the right encouragement this could grow….

  • Ron Knee

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #13

    A real thicko:

    “Onwurah graduated from Imperial College London in 1987 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. She worked in hardware and software development, product management, market development and strategy for a variety of mainly private sector companies in a number of different countries – the UK, France, the United States, Nigeria and Denmark while studying for an MBA at Manchester Business School.

    “Prior to entering Parliament, Onwurah was Head of Telecoms Technology at Ofcom, with a focus on broadband provision.”

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #14

    ronaldo aarons,
    There is no denying we needed someone with more commercial nous than Hall and Shepherd to come in, in hindsight it didn’t have to be one of the world’s richest men. Just someone who could sort out the debt and make us competitive again, it would have took a couple of years of austerity and then we’d have picked up again. Unfortunately we ended up with a very rich guy who had no intention from the outset of doing any good for the club. Just as he doesn’t really care how many HoF or high street jobs are lost he won’t give a jot to see is in League two once the bones have been fully stripped.

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #15

    Jail for Ashley

    aye but we will come back from it and Ashley be a marked man for life, can you imagine him coming up to Newcastle and the amount of people baying for his blood I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #16

    I’d be interested in people’s thoughts on this point I’m going to make.

    I think FIFA should be more concerned with protecting clubs and their history that they are with Financial Fair Play. Surely the work that has gone on at Manchester City, where the owners have invested their own money to develop the stadium, playing staff, coaching staff, club infrastructure, the training/academy facilities and all the work in the run down area of manchester near the club, is worth a club “over spending”, providing they are not risking the clubs future by taking huge loans out.

    For me, what has happened to us and clubs like Leeds, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Villa… is much worse that a club’s owner wanting to spend some of their own money to improve everything about the club.

    There are issues with where the money comes from (dubious states, etc), but that’s a different issue.

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #17

    I remember the day when someone called gorden lee sold supermac to arsenal, for what he done to the toon was nothing but scandalous he wasn’t just hated he was detested to great depths if Ashley fancies it then he will get that and a damn sight more

  • bettyswallocks

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #18

    Ron……..To be fair to Jib he suggested she is a muddled thinker not “Real Thicko”

  • barkel

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #19


    I’d take Henry either left wing or up front never mind in replacing Rafa

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #20

    Transfer Sage

    FIFA as well as EUFA are that corrupted they couldn’t care less about clubs histories all there bothered about is the massive turnover the industry makes and what offshore bank accounts to hide there ill gotten gains, it will never change more the pity

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #21


  • BeeGuy

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #22

    Until the league is reformed with a draft, salary cap and roster limits, the top 6 teams will hold the reins and every other team struggling to make any progress.

    Other than for promotion to a higher division, there is no incentive for ANY club to invest.

    Level the playing field and the league could expand to 24 teams, 4 divisions of 6 teams with playoffs like in North America.

    Imagine the excitement if NUFC participated in an annual draft of 3 or 4 players rather than picking up the scraps the top teams leave behind, or buying from clubs in financial straits.

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #23

    Geordie Mark

    I mean FFP proves to me FIFA/UEFA aren’t serious about having genuine competition.

    Clubs can only spend what they generate, therefore the rich can invest and get richer, whilst the smaller clubs cannot spend more than they make, not even as an investment for a couple of years to look to build long term. It’s the worst idea going.

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #24



  • Bambams

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #25


    All the very best for today mate !

    Enjoy your day

  • RobLeenio

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #26

    Cheers Martoon and geordietom, appreciated.

    BeeGuy, your persistence is admirable, but there is no appetite for the constraints that such a system imposes. It’s all very clean and sanitary and…. dull!

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #27

    happy birthday geordietom have a smashing day and sorry for the 22nd bambams must have missed your birthday hope you had a great day

  • bettyswallocks

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #28

    Jail…….. I think there were still a few, me included, that hoped and thought maybe just maybe Ashley might see the light and give us a sporting chance by at least allowing Rafa to use the money generated ny the club and giving him control of transfers. He has done neither and has made it blindingly obvious that he has no intentions of doing so.

    If we are not sold which now looks unlikely Rafa will leave and we are left with an owner who doesn’t care a toss about the club’s future and can not make any more statements of intent or false promises as he wont be believed. All that will remain is what we are going to do about it.

  • Transfer Sage

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #29


    I’d hate to see us follow and NFL model, it’s totally different to what we have.

    There is always incentive to invest. To win trophies, to get into European competition, to stay in it if you’re already there. There is no problem with clubs doing better. A draft just wouldn’t work for me.

    I agree there should be a salary cap for the squad and maybe even limits on transfer fees/agent fees to make things more even. I’m not sure how much is possible in terms of limiting transfer fees but something needs to be done.

    A big problem is the draw of the premier league and the money you get. It means that clubs in the championship are more inclined to take big gambles to get there and that clubs that are in will sacrifice everything (style of play, developing youth players) to stay in it.

  • geordiemark

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #30

    Transfer Sage

    yeah i know about how much the club makes but look at the likes of man city, man united, Liverpool spending money like confetti they didn’t generate it for how much they have spend its direct from there owners

  • toon22

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #31

    Obviously JIB is going to have a negative point of view regarding the MP and her comments
    It’s his job too

    Hiya KBA

  • toon22

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #32

    I think the way to get MA is to point to his treatment of the youth setup
    He says it won’t make him money

    Meaning he’s taking money from football development,leaving no legacy
    Same kind of stuff Fifa goes on about during World Cup bids

    It’s never MAs fault

  • posada

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #33

    If you want to buy a Premier League club we have to be the only option on that Rich List of 20 clubs.

    If you want to buy the Arsenal or similar it will cost you 1.5 Billion or perhaps more.

    So, only club on that list you can get at a sensible price is Everton or us.
    Everton have an old stadium and need to spend 300 million on a new one.

    Think the reason we never get a buyer is this – We are in the North.
    Not a popular destination for new money folks or investors from over seas.

  • Bambams

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #34


    Thanks fella, I did have a great day but slightly worse for for it the next day !


  • geordietom

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #35

    bambams … cheers mate …

    off to my daughters soon for me ruby ….

    hope you had a god day on your birthday …

  • c-dog

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #36

    What do we know Ashley has implemented this season?

    Withheld transfer money, summer?
    Released club statement signed by manager captain saying squad had improved?
    Attempted to lower player bonuses?
    Put the club up for sale 1/4 of the way through the season?
    Brought squad out for pizza?
    Gave the fans two fingers to club supporters on camera?
    Resumed day to day running of club?
    Refused to release January transfer money to improve squad?

  • RobLeenio

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #37

    posada, yep. I was in London on Tuesday, speaking to people there they sympathised that I had a long journey home and were surprised when I told them it was less than three hours by train.

    To put that in context, my colleague who was there with me lives in Kent and has a two hour commute EACH WAY into London every day.

    We’re not as remote as people think, but that is the perception for sure.

  • geordietom

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #38

    geordie mark …

    ta mate …

    hope to get some good news today regarding players or player signing for us but i wont hold me breath …

  • Zele

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #39

    Transfer Sage @ 18

    You make a very interesting point as to whether a football club should be classed as a ‘cultural asset’. I believe old Wembley and perhaps Highbury had a listed status. I’m not sure what the ramifications would be if Newcastle United was classed as such but I’m sure it would have unforeseen circumstances.

    I’m glad you included your last sentence about dubious states and all that is unacceptable (to us middle class European sensitivities) as a balance when praising what the Man City owners have done for that club and the blue half of the city. I understand that the actual owner has only ever attended one game since he bought the club.

    I think the MP has every right to question the owner of our club, it’s just a pity that previous Members of Parliament didn’t do the same when the Shepherd and Hall families were enriching themselves from the money the supporters paid to watch their idols.

  • hibbit

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #40

    no one has bought us because ashLIE has made us impossible to buy with all his clauses and strings,
    he really doesn’t want to sell or we would be gone !!!!!

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