We see there is news in the Chronicle today that Mike Ashley still wants to sell Newcastle and they probably are making it known now for several reasons.
First of all the summer transfer window is coming up and it will give Ashley good reason not to pay out big money for players is he’s selling – even though Rafa Benitez may sign a new deal to stay for a few years – probably three.
Let’s be honest here, Mike Ashley does not want to make Newcastle into a great team and a major club – that’s not why he bought Newcastle.
He bought the club to be a global advertising vehicle for his business – Sports Direct – and that will not change.
That’s what he told Sir John Hall back in 2007 when he bought the club.
Mike Ashley – in front of St. James’ Park
The hierarchy has said the club has not been taken off the market and one good thing since the turn of the year is that we will not be relegated this season.
The other positive is that if a new bidder came in and really wanted to buy Newcastle, it’s possible he could sign Rafa up to a long term contract – maybe five years – or even ten years.
But Rafa is not at all convinced that Newcastle are ready to mount any assault on a top-eight position – never mind a top six place.
Our training grounds lag behind even smaller clubs like Brighton – never mind the top six clubs, who have lavish training facilities compared to Newcastle.
We were promised world-class training facilities back in November 2013, and we are still waiting.
Rafa wants cast-iron assurances that he will get better training facilities if he signs a new deal and he also wants to rebuild the Youth Academy and U23 set up.
But at best Mike Ashley may grudgingly cave into some of Rafa’s demands, but his heart is not in it.
His idea of running Newcastle was to have it be self-sufficient and not get into the extra expense of having a really successful club.
As long as we survive every season in the Premier League that’s as good as it will get for Mike Ashley as the Newcastle owner.
And the last two seasons have been perfect in Ashley’s eyes because it’s been very cheap when you have a manager as good as Rafa in charge.
That’s the truth about Mike Ashley, and it hasn’t changed over his 12 years of ownership – the club keeps sinking further down the totem pole.