Newcastle Statement Misleading, Incomplete – Why No Mention Of Team’s Achievements?

Over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn criticized some owners in football today and said they are ruining some clubs.

He is the Leader of the Labour Party and has been the Leader of the Opposition since 2015.

Here’s a good tweet starting with Newcastle fans’ comments and then Jeremy Corbin talking about clubs who have been ruined by bad owners – like Mike Ashley.

It’s worth taking at it look before we go on as it sets the stage for what Corbyn has said:

Of course, the incompetents who are running the club – now without the help of world-class manager Rafa Benitez – have struck back and tried to defend Mike Ashley’s ownership – and that’s always a difficult task.

Here’s the statement from the club:

“We are disappointed by comments made by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the weekend regarding football governance and club ownership, in which he specifically attacked Newcastle United.

“Amongst his comments, Mr. Corbyn accused ‘billionaire owners like Mike Ashley’ of ‘ruining our national game’, claiming these ‘bad owners’ put their ‘business interests above everything else’ and risk their clubs’ financial security.”

“In overlooking existing governance and regulation, as well as the hugely positive impact – Newcastle United and other professional clubs have in their communities, Mr. Corbyn has demonstrated a “surprising lack of knowledge about our national game.”

“We feel, therefore, it is important to address his damaging and misinformed opinions in the interests of the club and its supporters.”

“Financially, other than sums provided to the club on a short-term, interest-free basis and repaid to him as intended, we would like to make it clear that Mike Ashley has not taken a penny out of Newcastle United in interest, salary or dividend, as is customary at many clubs.”

“As stated on numerous occasions before, every penny Newcastle United has will continue to be available to it. In this financial year, the club will use an overdraft facility to manage its cash flow, following a significant spend on talent in the summer.”

“As a well-run, responsible club, that amount will be repaid in full and on time and our other regulatory obligations will be met.”

“We will not apologize for being financially sustainable, but we will push the boundaries of our budgets as far as possible to maximize the impact on the team.”

“We agree with Mr. Corbyn that ‘a football club is more than just a club; it is an institution at the heart of our communities.”

Some points to be made about the statement.

Notice that nothing is said at all about the team on the field and what we have achieved under Ashley.

That’s because we haven’t achieved anything special and most seasons have been pathetic because the owner will not spend the money (or wages) for top players.

We agree that Mike Ashley has not taken anything out of the club and feel that when the NUST are allowed to take a look the books they will be fairly solid – it’s difficult for an owner to take money out of the club when there is an audit every year – so we agree on that one.

The club is also financially sustainable – that’s true too.

And now the time to say it – the owner has “Sports Direct” banners and ads all over St. James’ Park – they look horrible.

And only recently did he agree to pay for that global advertising of his company, but our understanding is that he pays just £2M/year – which is way short of the market-rate.

Ashley has no ambition for Newcastle and that lack of ambition is at odds with the fans who want to see a top-six club.

Mike Ashley has been more concerned about the club’s financial accounts rather than the team on the field and that’s why our performances over the last 12 years of his ownership has been dire at best.

The only time he has put money into the club since paying off a £100M loan the club had when he took over, are the two times we have been relegated.

Ashley wanted to keep some top players who wanted to stay and he loaned the club money to help pay their wages.

That was so we could get back to the big money of the Premier League so those bank accounts would be good again.

But as far as having a team that can finish in the top half of the Premier League he has no interest in that.

And while Rafa Benitez was trying to build a good team the owner prevented Rafa from keeping more experienced players who were some of our best players last year.

Three of them were Solomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez, and Mohamed Diame.

Newcastle have qualified for Europe only once (2012-2013) since Ashley took over in 2007 – but in January of 2013, we were again fighting relegation while competing in the Europa League – our squad was far too small.

We have been in the top nine in the Premier League only once under Ashley’s ownership.

Here’s the record in Ashley’s reign – fans are not interested in the bank account but in how successful the team is on the pitch – that’s the big divide and difference between the owner and the fans.

Premier Season Position Number of Points
2007-2008 12 43
2008-2009 18 34 – relegated
2009-2010 1 (Championship) 102 – promoted
2010-2011 12 46
2011-2012 5 65
2012-2013 16 41 – fighting relegation
2013-2014 10 49
2014-2015 15 39 – fighting relegation
2015-2016 18 37 – relegated
2016-2017 1 – (Championship) 94 – promoted
2017-2018 10 44 – fighting relegation
2018-2019 13 45 – fighting relegation
2019-2020 16 After 8 games – 8 points
– fighting relegation

We want a good team and a steady bank account, not a team fighting relegation every year with a stellar bank account.

In 12 full seasons under Ashley, we have been fighting against relegation half the time.

That’s 6 times during the 10 times we were in the PL – and we were relegated twice.

Those two relegations are the only times we have ever been relegated from the Premier League.

This is the 13th full season under Ashley and looks to be the 7th fighting relegation in the 11 times we have been a PL club.

What a waste of time.

When Ashley took over we were one of the six or seven best teams in England – but not anymore, as we have been on a downward trend since Ashley began his miserly management of the club.

So the statement above is all about finances – we want a good team to be challenging for a trophy – we haven’t won a trophy since 1969.

That’s when PCs were still almost a decade away and iPhones hadn’t even been thought of – I remember it well.

The club are talking about the wrong things for their benefit – as usual.

Mike Ashley needs to sell Newcastle and get out of football club ownership for which he is totally unsuited.

Comments welcome.

This article was originally posted here