Mike Ashley vs Freddy Shepherd – Who’s better?

Mike Ashley and Freddy Shepherd.

"Satan's mirror has two faces."

Well, Newcastle United have finally managed to finish in the top half of the Premiership under current owner, Mike Ashley.

This is our first top ten finish, and qualification for European competition, since Glenn Roeder’s Intertoto “Dream Team” managed seventh, and Europe, after a storming finish in the 2005-06 season.

However, we fans are constantly reminded that this can only come at a very high cost, that the name of the club’s traditional home, St James’ Park, must be sacrificed to become a free publicity vehicle for Sports Direct, that we must also be subjected to a myriad of fit inducing signs publicising Sports Direct throughout games, that we must pay a £25 membership fee to purchase a season ticket, or even just one away ticket and so on…

Mirroring the spin department of the current administration at 10 Downing Street, everything is blamed on our previous administration for allegedly taking us to the edge of the financial abyss, with neither the world economic crisis, nor relegation to the Championship playing any part whatsoever. Even after five whole years, when controversial decisions are made, the spectre of the Byker Beelzebub himself, Freddy Shepherd, is constntly raised, and the club’s current owner is hailed as a messiah who has somehow led the club from the verge of complete extinction. So, now that the club has completed it’s fifth season under its current ownership, I thought I would put this to the test, measuring the performance of the current owner, both on the pitch and on the balance sheet, against his predecessors under the leadership of Shepherd.

This is no defence of those predecessors, who looted the club mercilessly under it’s former incarnation as a Public Limited Company, paying themselves massive salaries and bonuses as members of the old board of directors. However, the statistics seem to show that the club still has a little way to go before it returns to the state it was in before Ashley’s takeover of the club in the summer of 2007, with Ashley and the current Managing Director of the club, Derek Llambias, still lagging considerably behind their predecessors on terms of performance on the pitch, and in some respects, even finances.

Below is a table comparing ten years of Freddy to the first five under Ashley’s ownership. In it I’ve looked at the club’s league positions over the seasons, with average league positions for both Shepherd and Ashley, along with financial results and also debt. So here goes!

Shepherd vs Ashley on the pitch
Fat Controller League Positions (Points) APtsPS APosPS
Shepherd 13 (44), 13 (46), 11 (52), 11 (51), 4 (71), 3 (69), 5 (56), 14 (44), 7 (58), 13 (43) 53.4 9.4
Ashley 12 (43), 18 (34), Relegated (N/A), 12 (46), 5 (65) 47 11.75

APtsPS – Average Points Per Season, APosPS – Average Position Per Season.

Well, even without some kind of handicap to Ashley for getting the club relegated, that’s still a victory to Shepherd. Four years (out of ten) in european competition, including two top four finishes for the Champion’s League, whereas with Ashley, we’ve qualified once for the Europa League in five years. Despite our recent very crditable fifth placed Premiership finish, in terms of our average league position Shepherd’s 9.4 beats Ashley’s 11.75.

Half time: Shepherd 1 – 0 Ashley.

But of course, on the financial front it’s what our cousins in the US might refer to as a “no brainer” surely? After all, we are constantly reminded by Ashley’s PR machine that our current owner has singlehandedly saved the club from huge debts and almost certain extinction, and has “taken no money out of the club.” Let’s see. The debt figure given for Shepherd is the club’s level of debt when he left the club and Ashley took over, and the one for Ashley is from the last set of published accounts.

Shepherd vs Ashley on the balance sheet
Fat Controller Pre tax profit / loss Average Prof/Loss Net debt
Shepherd 98) 5.0m, 99) 1.4m, 00) -18.9m, 01) -8.9m, 02) -3.1m, 03) 4.4m, 04) 4.2m, 05) 0.0m, 06) -12.0m, 07) -32.9m -6.1m 71m
Ashley -20.3m, -15.2m, -17.1m, 32.6m -5.0m 130.5m

Well, despite Ashley and Llambias’ relentless propaganda, it seems that Ashley could only manage to scrape a draw here. Whilst Ashley just beats Shepherd in terms of pre tax profit and loss figures, the net debt figure (gross debt minus cash on the bank in this case) is now almost double what it was when he took over the club. This is despite the the huge sums spent on inflated fees and wages for “marquee” signings under the previous administrations, the immense divvies trousered by the Shepherds and the Halls when the club traded as a Public Limited Company, and finally, the immense amounts of interest which was being paid on third party debt.

On the Shepherd side, there is also the contentious issue of the mortgage on the club’s stadium, St James’ Park. This would have the debt figure when Ashley took over the club to more like £124 million, though this is still lower than the current net figure of £130.5 million (£140 million – £9.5 in the club’s coffers). Also, commercial revenues are still considerably down on what they were under Shepherd. At the time when Shepherd left the club, it generated £27.6 million in commercial revenue, but in the last set of accounts it was almost halved to only £15.8 million. On the other side, the current administration have a huge advantage in the amounts paid the the club for it’s maedia rights in the Premiership. For the year the Shepherds and the Halls left, the club only received £25.9 million in media revenue, but in the last figures it was a far larger £48.5 million, almost double.

Full time: Shepherd 1 – 0 Ashley.

So, it’s still a 1-0 victory to Shepherd in the above comparisons. Despite the constant propaganda guff coming from the Ashley / Llambias camp about the club’s finances, there is still some way to go. The figures under the Ashley regime could have looked far worse too had it not being for one man, Andy Carroll, who singlehandedly lifted last years figures out of the red, and into a £32.6 million pre tax profit, most of which has gone into the club’s “reserves” (cash reserves, not the second team players!). Unless the club can sell an ex Academy player who cost next to nothing for a sum of around £35 million every year, the figures for that previous year cannot be sustained. So, the club will either have to start winning major trophies, be a “selling” club like the one Mike Ashley based his current model on, the black and white club from the North East (of Italy) called Udinese, or it will have to stop being a free publicity vehicle for Ashley’s largest business interest, Sports Direct International PLC.

In the final analysis, this may go against the conventional “wisdom”, but it seems real difference in Newcastle United’s previously precarious fianancial position hasn’t been so much the profligate spending on has been players with long, huge packages. Although the deals for players such as Geremi, Cacapa and Alan Smith were started under the previous regime, they were all sanctioned and completed under Ashley’s ownership, and he had a horror or two all of his own, remember Xisco? It hasn’t even been the huge amounts trousered in wages and dividends by the previous regime. Although they were all, beyond a doubt, huge factors, it has simply been that Mike Ashley is considerably richer than the previous incumbents. This has given him the abilty to absorb the debt and stop the huge interest payments to third party lenders. However, it IS still debt, and it IS considerably larger now than it was when Ashley assumed control of the club. The mistake the current owner made by failing to do due diligence before purchase will NOT be paid for by Ashley himself in the long term, it will be paid by the club itself.

I will leave the final word to the site, NUFC Finances, as I can’t really put it any better myself:

“No one should ever underestimate the mess that Shepherd left the club in. This does not excuse anything Mike Ashley may, or may not have done subsequently.”

Poll

avatar NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1035 articles on this blog.

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64 Responses to “Mike Ashley vs Freddy Shepherd – Who’s better?”

  1. 1
    avatar UTD111 says:

    I enjoyed the vision and the hope of the Sir John Hall years. It was he who developed the ground, brought in Sir Kevin and signed “The Entertainers”. Without the excellent 50,000 plus stadium legacy of those years which we have now, we’d just be an Everton or an Aston Villa.

    I voted for the Halls.

  2. 2
    avatar Sammy J says:

    Is there a way to see how the profits for Sports Direct have been effected by Fatmans acquisition of Newcastle?

  3. 3
    avatar joesoap says:

    Some of us really do have short memories. This is the same FFS who sacked SBR, gave jobs to the likes of Dalgliesh, Gullit, Fat Sam, Sourness, Michael Owen, let Shearer form a clique of players like playground bullies & basically run the club, abused fans in a Sunday Newspaper scam, and used the club as a golden hen to line his pockets, ran up huge debts, and generally took the club to the brink of bankruptcy….Ashley is a cold calculating business man who is in it to make money but at least he doesn’t patronise us with crap about 11 Geordies on the pitch and other bullshit lines about how he’s merely a fan like the rest of us….I voted Ashley!

  4. 4
    avatar Grafton83 says:

    I think it’s better to be unpopular today and respected tomorrow than to make popular decisions today and loss all respect in the future. That’s the real difference between the two.

    Ashley gets my vote everyday of the week. I’m also so tired of hearing he’s in it for the money. He has spent an awful lot already mainly because of the legacy that Sheppard left. I wouldn’t be inclined to dig deep into my pockets if I recieved the abuse he has. I think he’s done very well in extremely difficult circumstances.

  5. 5
    avatar Andy says:

    Dumbest article ever written.

    Did the writer ever consider that when MA took over Newcastle had loads of old underachieving players signed on ridiculous contracts that were bleeding the club dry? Look at the last three years of Shepherd: The debt was growing exponentially! Under Ashley the size of our debt peaked and gradually returned to profit. A massive achievement in itself considering MA had inherited £75 MILLION in debt that he didn’t know about till he had taken over!

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2012/03/09/mike-ashley-wipes-newcastle-united-s-75m-debt-72703-30495285/

    Shepherd may have gotten slightly better results on the pitch but he did it by driving us to the brink of administration and Ashley came in and eventually stabilized our debt. That’s not propaganda that’s fact supported by hard evidence! Pardew himself said in a recent interview that Mike Ashley has spent about 25% of his personal fortune on Newcastle’s debt. The the author is a bitter idiot.

  6. 6
    avatar Supermac says:

    Hitler vs Stalin – Who’s better?

  7. 7
    avatar Supermac says:

    Hi Worky – what’s it like being a bitter idiot?

  8. 8
    avatar UTD111 says:

    Andy@5

    There’s really no need for the playground name calling mate – we’re all adults here – disagree by all means and back up your view with reasoned argument – but the schoolboy stuff? Leave it at the door mate!

    I think it’s a bit rich trying to blame Shepherd for the fact Ashley only discovered the debt after he’d bought the club. It was open to Ashley to conduct Due Diligence.

  9. 9
    avatar Supermac says:

    Blind fool vs Bitter idiot – Who’s better?

  10. 10
    avatar Supermac says:

    UNT – schoolboy stuff? you must have gone to a posh school then! at mine in any 3 words the middle one would have started with an F

  11. 11
    avatar UTD111 says:

    That explains F in FFS then :)

  12. 12
    avatar Derek L says:

    should it not be FFFS then ?

  13. 13
    avatar GS says:

    If you read this blog for more than a day or two you know Worky has some issues with Ashley and especially the Sportsdirectification of NUFC.

    However, I think he is on to a losing proposition trying to say that FFS was anything other than a fat F@ck leading the club down a path to ruin whilst lining his own pockets.

    Average league position and total debt at the end of the Shepherd shepherding do not give the full picture.

  14. 14
    avatar GS says:

    As Worky says, Ashley is “considerably richer”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHo2pXO_XAI

    although FFS made the headlines in Spain a few years ago.

  15. 15
    avatar Widowmaker says:

    What’s wrong with the article?
    Worky simply compared financial figures and points, and who can argue with those facts?

    FFS did sign loads of underachievers and crap managers, but was JFK any better? FFS might be a bad chairperson, but Ashley has yet to prove that he is any different.

  16. 16
    avatar glentoon says:

    On the league position part where freddy won. Surely it now harder to finish up the top part of league than when freddy had it. Teams are better now than there were then (due to money).
    Have to agree good article worky and interesting to see those figures, some people are just bitter idiots.

    Keep up good work.

  17. 17
    avatar workyticket says:

    GS says:
    May 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

    “However, I think he is on to a losing proposition trying to say that FFS was anything other than a fat F@ck leading the club down a path to ruin whilst lining his own pockets.”

    I would suggest that you actually read the article before passing comment on it, GS. ;-)

  18. 18
    avatar GS says:

    Apart from needless insults, Andy @5 made a point. As did Glentoon.

  19. 19
    avatar lualua17 says:

    On the league position part where freddy won. Surely it now harder to finish up the top part of league than when freddy had it. Teams are better now than there were then (due to money).

    Glentoon I disagree with that comment during Shepherds/Halls era you had footballers like Roy Keane, Thierry Henry in his prime & Robert Pires can you really say the standard of footballers is better now than it was before? If anything I think the standard of football in general has declined since 2000.

  20. 20
    avatar GS says:

    Worky: I read it and saw that you criticised FFFS. You had equal parts criticism for Ashley, but I think Ashley more F@cked up than used the club for his own purposes. It is recently that he went on the sportsdirectification thing.

    You never said anything about Shepherd (Dalglish)dismantling a potentially great team.

  21. 21
    avatar workyticket says:

    Andy says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    “Pardew himself said in a recent interview that Mike Ashley has spent about 25% of his personal fortune on Newcastle’s debt. The the author is a bitter idiot.”

    As Ashley is now worth around £1.7 billion, that would mean that Pardew is claiming that Ashley has “spent” around £425 million on the club, which isn’t true. Most of what he has put into the club has to be paid back, so it isn’t “spent,” it’s “loaned,” which is a slightly different thing. That’s why the club is in so much debt, Andy.

  22. 22
    avatar workyticket says:

    GS says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    “Worky: I read it and saw that you criticised FFFS. You had equal parts criticism for Ashley, but I think Ashley more F@cked up than used the club for his own purposes. It is recently that he went on the sportsdirectification thing.

    You never said anything about Shepherd (Dalglish)dismantling a potentially great team.”

    Ashley isn’t running the club for his own purposes? Why is he doing it then? As a charitable gesture to the people of Tyneside? :-)

    I didn’t write that it was Freddy Shepherd who brought Alan Shearer to the club either, GS. You can’t say absolutely everything in one piece though.

  23. 23
    avatar GS says:

    Yeah, I know. Isn’t the internet great though…

  24. 24
    avatar workyticket says:

    Sammy J says:
    May 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

    “Is there a way to see how the profits for Sports Direct have been effected by Fatmans acquisition of Newcastle?”

    Sammy J, when Ashley finally gained complete control of NUFC towards the end of June,2007, the Sports Direct International share price was around 180/185 pence, it’s around 287.5 pence now on the ticker.

  25. 25
    avatar Michael12 says:

    I think Mike Ashley will be spoken about in even greater tones than Shearer and other Newcastle greats. Taking Over the club when he did left him with the liabilities of the Shepard regime. Players on inflated wages, huge transfer fees for big name rather than big performers. He did not come into a clean slate so it would be unfair to judge him form the second he cam aboard.

    No doubt in Ashley’s first few years he was going to struggle and would take time until we were able to get excessive high earners off the wage bill. I think we can only truly start to judge his performance after he has purged the liabilities he inherited.

    Newcastle as a football club and business model is now the model to follow. It speaks of creating synergies rather than spending to hide inefficiencies. You cannot tell me winning only on goal difference justifies the millions more than united paid in wages, transfers etc by man city. there are some serious inefficiencies going on there and they pay big money to hide them.

  26. 26
    avatar workyticket says:

    Andy says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    “A massive achievement in itself considering MA had inherited £75 MILLION in debt that he didn’t know about till he had taken over!”

    Well the club has over £130 million of net debt now, Andy, which either the club, or the next owner would have to cough up for. So it is either the club or the next owner who would be expected to pay for Ashley’s negligence.

  27. 27
    avatar GS says:

    Worky: when Ashley bought NUFC didn’t the regular shareholders get about 25 pence on the pound for their original purchase price?

    I think Freddy made out like a bandit, Big Mike is now doing OK and everybody else got screwed.

  28. 28
    avatar GS says:

    Where the hell is Chuck when you need him? He would bring some insight to this debate. And you too UTD111. You are suspiciously quiet.

  29. 29
    avatar workyticket says:

    Michael12 says:
    May 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    “I think Mike Ashley will be spoken about in even greater tones than Shearer and other Newcastle greats…”

    Are you quite sure about that? :-)

    Michael12, With all due respect, that was just a collection of empty cliches garnished with a little middle management speak. Where’s the substance?

    As for players on inflated wages, Ashley sanctioned quite a few of them (Smith, Geremi, Cacapa) after he assumed control of the club, as well as Xisco so theres a bit of revisionism going on there. As for it being “unfair to judge him from the second he came aboard,” he has been the owner of the club for five years now.

  30. 30
    avatar Michael12 says:

    @Workyticket: He has been in charge for 5 years now and we are only getting rid of Alan smith now. Newcastle had a human infrastructure in place from manager, scouts, and other back room staff. Ashley was always going to pay and be responsible for the agreements made prior to his arrival as is the case in any organisation.

    He could not walk in and say all of you oot! Like any position you have to learn it you don’t just come in and hit the ground running.

    You cannot argue with the business approach and direction we are now following but this required a purge of which took time. Focusing on establishing a synergistic approach where every part of the machine is working at its best. At teams like City I could be a rubbish scout but so long as we are winning the title nobody will notice I do nothing?

    The period of time you are using to compare are also unequal so it is still too soon to judge but I am sure every negative facet of Ashley you can get a hold of you would gladly clasp at.

  31. 31
    avatar UTD111 says:

    GS – I’m hereabouts LOL!

    But it’s one o those rare occasions where we’ve got some sunshine here in Northumberland so I’m taking full advantage of it :)

  32. 32
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    What was paid + the debts is probably about the correct price for NUFC.

    Time for a debt write off, me thinks.

  33. 33
    avatar glentoon says:

    Yea dont get me wrong there were incredible players back then lualua17 but on my opinion the overall standad of players is better now than ever before. Hey im only 23 so when o say ever before i mean as far back as i remember.

    I believe that given time ashley will get it right. Only hope the delay in releasing the new home top isnt because it going to be red white and blue (sports ditect colour)

  34. 34
    avatar workyticket says:

    Michael12 says:
    May 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    “You cannot argue with the business approach and direction we are now following but this required a purge of which took time. Focusing on establishing a synergistic approach where every part of the machine is working at its best.”

    I think you’ll find that I can, and without relying on vague platitudes and empty middle management guff, Michael. ;-)

    Is the almost halved commercial revenue figures, due to the club being used as a free publicity vehicle for Sports Direct, part of this “synergistic approach where every part of the machine is working at its best?” And are we going to sell an ex academy player for £35 million pounds every year to keep the club in the black?

    As there is a potential conflict in what is good for the interests of Sports Direct, and what is good for the interests of Newcastle United, the question should be which part of the machine is working best for whom?

  35. 35
    avatar workyticket says:

    glentoon says:
    May 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “On the league position part where freddy won. Surely it now harder to finish up the top part of league than when freddy had it. Teams are better now than there were then (due to money).”

    But clubs have also been receiving far more media revenue too, glentoon, including Newcastle United.

    As I wrote in the piece above:

    “For the year the Shepherds and the Halls left, the club only received £25.9 million in media revenue, but in the last figures it was a far larger £48.5 million, almost double.”

    Of course, it is now Manchester City who are spending the most, but back when Ashley took over, it was Chelsea who were spending similar sums on buying success. However, it is the incresed media revenues I pointed out above which has arguably been a bigger engine for pushing up expenses than the odd oligarch.

  36. 36
    avatar mcgarrity says:

    Its a hard one to call considering all the factors. Shepherd had us nearing administration but had us close to success but in terms of long term financial stability and recent achievement I have to say ashley has done a better job. Its all too easy to give a manager 100 million and say get whoever but on limited budget has got the best out of the manager and got the best possible players for that price. I know a lot are bitter about relegation and various other dick moves on ashleys part I can’t argue with the position were in considering the finances because in this day and age money was a big part of teams in the top 6. We broke into that top 6 spending about 20 odd million, a lot of that the money from carroll being sold so were a few million up, a few positions up and have increased revenue not to mention european football back at st james park (s_____ d_____ a____) when a lot of clubs are spending over the odds and buying players they can’t afford we’ve adopted a brilliant transfer policy and built a great squad when so many expected failure. For that my vote goes to ashley, for the financial stability in the long term when many other clubs will crumble in the not so distant future

  37. 37
    avatar workyticket says:

    The value of Ashley’s Sports Direct shares have tripled since his first rename of St James’ Park after his primary business, Sports Direct International PLC. Now he’ll be getting a £24 million share bonus on the back of providing “significant free advertising for the company” at the expense of NUFC :lol:

    LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) – Mike Ashley, billionaire founder of Sports Direct, could net a one-off shares bonus worth about 24 million pounds ($39 million) at current prices after Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer raised a proposed payout.

    Sports Direct said on Wednesday it would ask shareholders at its annual meeting in September to back the grant of 8 million shares to Ashley, up from the 6 million shares proposed in December.

    Ashley holds 71 percent of the company’s equity and is executive deputy chairman. He does not take a salary and generates significant free advertising for the company through his ownership of high-flying English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/sportsdirect-idUSL5E8FNBSQ20120425?type=companyNews

  38. 38
    avatar tunyc says:

    As my geordie cousins would say: divven’t knaa like. Or to paraphrase what Solon pointed out to Croesus, you have to wait until the race is over to see who wins.

    I see we’ve again been visited by folks who are apparently made to read this blog at gunpoint. Rough life.

  39. 39
    avatar Michael 12 says:

    @Workytiket:
    Todays Money is not the same as money those days.
    Todays competitiveness is not like the competittivness of thos days.

    Those days 98/99/2000 record transfers were £15m – £20m now we have fees in excess of £50M for Torres £80m for Ronaldo

  40. 40
    avatar AndyMac says:

    Andy says:

    “Dumbest article ever written.

    ……………..The debt was growing exponentially! Under Ashley the size of our debt peaked and gradually returned to profit. A massive achievement in itself considering MA had inherited £75 MILLION in debt that he didn’t know about till he had taken over!”

    Presumably you are on another planet Andy or just another parallel universe ?

    Anybody who could be bothered to look up Ian Ferguson’s great blog “NUFC Finances” knew only too well that the gap between profit and loss was ever widening under the FFS. £70m plus the stadium expansion mortgage had to be paid off upon change of ownership.

    So now that debt is still NUFC’s, except we owe it to the Fatman instead of some other greedy grabbing bastad. A debt is a debt no matter to whom you owe it !

  41. 41
    avatar AndyMac says:

    http://www.nufc-finances.org.uk/

    Wasnt too hard now was it ?

  42. 42
    avatar AndyMac says:

    tunyc says:

    “I see we’ve again been visited by folks who are apparently made to read this blog at gunpoint. Rough life”

    Twas ever thus tunyc ! The half life’s emerge from the cocoon of mind numbing mundanity on .cock or .com every now and again mainly because they cannot deal with the fact that all is or may not be right at their beloved club.

    I challenge any of the interlopers to find out how much the latest Puma kit deal is worth to the club and, assuming its feck all, where’s the money going ?

  43. 43
    avatar chuck says:

    I can see this subject has the wannabe bean counters out of the woodwork and we have all kinds of disperate figures being throw around.
    There are some (most) who believe the NUFC PR department, (now in full swing)
    Who if we are to believe them, present Ashley as a modern day Moses, bringing NUFC out of the wilderness,
    thought i’d throw in a biblical reference for color.
    When in fact everything points the other way.
    OK, whats the difference between now and when FFS & SJH owned the club.
    They sold an average side, with a state of the art stadium and a moderate Debt, (comparatively speaking)
    What do we have now ?
    More debt and with a still average side, most of which is owed to our owner (Smoke & Mirrors)which in turn can be confusing.
    Why more debt?
    Ignorance and bad decisions on who was hired, from Chris Mort to the present crowd, you know the names.
    Resulting in relegation, with highly compensated players willing to play in the second tier for those wages.
    How come ?
    Cause no one expected it and there was no language in the players contracts about relegation.
    What followed were what seemed to be desperate attempts to sell, but with no real takers.
    Fortunately for Ashley he had Chris Hughton running things (by default) which proved to be one of his few decent decisions.
    Then following a banner season, with a record number of points, it was back to the big time.
    His reward as we are all aware was an ignominious firing, half way through the season, go figure ?
    Following that it became apparent Ashley had purchased the club as an adjunct to “Sports Direct” a free advertising board, if you dont believe it just look around what once was St. James’ Park next home game.
    Now some still believe Ashley intended to sell the name as a means of advertising for some corporate entity, dont believe it, what you see is what you got, free advertising for Sports Direct in Sports Direct Stadium.
    Still think he’s doing the right thing ?
    Hey ! you can fool most of the fans, most of the time….

  44. 44
    avatar workyticket says:

    Michael 12 says:
    May 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    “@Workytiket:
    Todays Money is not the same as money those days.
    Todays competitiveness is not like the competittivness of thos days.

    Those days 98/99/2000 record transfers were £15m – £20m now we have fees in excess of £50M for Torres £80m for Ronaldo”

    I seem to recall that Zenadine Zidane went for more than Fernando Torres back in 2001, Michael, and then there were players such as Luis Figo, Christian Vieri, Hernan Crespo etc…

    But anyway, as I already pointed out above, the amount clubs receive for media rights has also increased commensurately in recent years too, and this has, arguably been a far greater engine in terms of driving up fees, wages etc than a Sheikh and an Oligarch. As I wrote above, in Shepherd’s last year, the club received £25.9 million in media revenue, but in the last set of figures it was £48.5 million.

    On the other hand though, commercial revenues at NUFC have plummeted under Ashley because the club has given most of them away to Sports Direct for free, something Mike Ashley is about to be rewarded £24 million for, amongst other things, by other shareholders of Sports Direct. This is as well as the fact that the value of his own shares and those of his fellow shareholders in Sports Direct have TRIPLED in value since his first “showcase” rename of the stadium two and a half years ago. That has been worth many hundreds of millions for Ashley, far more than the worth of the whole of Newcastle United.

  45. 45
    avatar workyticket says:

    chuck says:
    May 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    “Who if we are to believe them, present Ashley as a modern day Moses, bringing NUFC out of the wilderness,
    thought i’d throw in a biblical reference for color.”

    Well it makes a change from my National Socialism references, Chuck.

  46. 46
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    The ten year point would be a more accurate measure.

  47. 47
    avatar GS says:

    Worky @37: the article suggests that the increase in SD profits is due to a wide variety of value brands and an increased internet presence. Some of it may be on the back of free advertising at NUFC but that article doesn’t back you up there.

    I love the way you say to Michael12 “with all due respect” before having a right go at him and accusing him of being David Brent :)

  48. 48
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    Everybody knows that in recessions the ‘stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ companies make all the money.

    101, init?

  49. 49
    avatar GS says:

    What we are seeing is a remaking of NUFC in Ashley’s image (the new slimmed down Ashley). We have a successful team, built at good value but a tacky facade.

    He sort of exploits and rewards the fan base at the same time (kept season ticket prices flat). He does this with SD employees by keeping wages low but giving out the best bonuses in the industry. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pardew’s and new players’ contracts structured in this way although I have no Knowledge of it.

    When Ashley bought NUFC he was on a high after selling part of SD and probably thought he could walk on water. He quickly found out that he knew nothing about football and he probably got some bad advice on who to hire.

    Now he is applying the principles he has learned in his other business and we are at least balancing the books and have potential for a decent side.

    Maybe, we should give Ashley a pass on the first few years as a learning experience?

    There is no excuse for the treatment of Chris Hughton though.

  50. 50
    avatar workyticket says:

    GS says:
    May 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    “but that article doesn’t back you up there.”

    “…and generates significant free advertising for the company through his ownership of high-flying English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.”

  51. 51
    avatar GS says:

    I still scratch my head at why Chris Hughton wasn’t allowed to finish what he started. It wasn’t as if Pardew was going anywhere.

  52. 52
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    GS,

    CH obviously wasn’t as compliant with the general scheme being employed, a bit of a maverick & therefore seen as unpredictable.
    Bigger risk.
    It’s all about percentages & final outcomes with businessmen.
    Predictable ones!

  53. 53
    avatar GS says:

    Worky: I skimmed the article and missed the bit that you specifically quoted, duh. Sorry about that and I completely retract what I said about the article not backing you.

  54. 54
    avatar GS says:

    Why does it matter that Ashley gets free advertising from NUFC. It benefits Ashley to cook the books and push revenue to SD because they are a public company and it might be reflected in the share price.

    So if the NUFC books are short changed by 20 mil a year who cares. By all accounts he wouldn’t reinvest it and would just take it out to repay his loan.

    I think the former fatman is quite capable of understanding this concept and also the minor sleight of hand of showing NUFC breaking even rather than making a big profit and him hearing squeals from NUST etc.

    Now if he turns into Randy Lerner, I will take all of this back as well.

  55. 55
    avatar workyticket says:

    GS says:
    May 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    “He sort of exploits and rewards the fan base at the same time (kept season ticket prices flat). He does this with SD employees by keeping wages low but giving out the best bonuses in the industry.”

    GS, being in Chicago, I don’t suppose you’ve paid that much attention to the finer points of that particular 10 year agreement, or noticed that you now have to purchase a £25 membership to buy a season ticket nowadays, or even just to buy one away ticket for that matter. This membership fee could be increased at any time by any amount, as it has been already. So as is the norm with Ashley, it’s a bit deceptive.

    You obviously don’t know a great deal about Sports Direct and it’s working conditions either. It’s the Kapos in charge who get the bonuses. The ordinary staff work on casual 0 hour contracts at minimum wage, are often refused toilet breaks. Their customer service is also infamously poor.

    http://www.maryportas.com/secretshopper/sports-direct/

  56. 56
    avatar workyticket says:

    Clint, GS, I really do wonder about you two sometimes.

  57. 57
    avatar GS says:

    I usually read the busness sections of The Guardian and The Telegraph so that’s where I get my information from. They were complimentary about the SD bonus program and I just repeated that.

    I don’t think Ashley is a saint but I also can’t predict the future. He did put a freeze on season ticket prices though even if it was just for PR and intends to renege through the small print/other fees.

    The reason I come on this blog is because I am in Chicago and do not get the “hands on” experience I would get being in England. I learn something and am happy to do so. Quite often my preconceptions are wrong, hell I even learn stuff from Chuck, a fellow USA resident.

    I also think that I will admit when I am wrong/spout off when I don’t know the full picture.

  58. 58
    avatar GS says:

    Worky:

    what do you want me to say, Ashley’s a c@nt and I’m coming back to organise marches against him for his cynical exploitation of NUFC through free advertising?

    I think we are going in the right direction and that Ashley is now looking after his own self interest and realising he can make NUFC successful.

    By the way, I bet the exploitation of the SD shop staff is nothing compared to the slave labour practices in China where they make the kit. I bet most on here have home shirts though. Are we all hypocrites?

  59. 59
    avatar TROJAN RECORDS 73 says:

    ashley or freddie shepherd?, it’s a bit like, “the devil, & the deep blue sea”.
    it’s like the good old u.s of a, you’re either a democrat or a republican.
    freddie was an embarrassment and a tool, at times, and he was culpable.
    i do think he has been left to carry the can, for the halls, to an extent.
    in all honesty, he had nowhere near the shares, that they had, and he was at the coal face, every day, while they sunned themselves.
    yes he took his money, but he didn’t want to sell, and it did look like he was trying to buy up shares to try and gain more control of the club.
    he was still in it for himself, and was looking to make some coin.

    as for the artist formally known as “fat c**t”, mike ashley, the jury is still out.
    we’ve had a good season, but some fans as usual get carried away.
    your all willing to forgive and forget, far too easily, “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”.
    this club was competing at this sort of level, a few years ago, so we should have some perspective on the situation.
    yes he is redeeming himself, after a myriad of mistakes in the early days of his tenure.
    yes the financial side does look better, which is fair enough.
    they do seem to be getting it right on the recruitment side also.
    if he can keep it going for the next few years, with steady progress, then he deserves credit, no doubt.
    you have to remind yourself however, that sometimes a club will surpass the expectations of how they might fair, i’ve seen it many times before.
    what i’m saying is, lets just hope this isn’t a fluke, and they continue to progress.
    i’m still very wary of mike ashley, and i still dont fully trust him, and there’s absolutely no way people should be jumping on his d**k, just yet.

  60. 60
    avatar mcgarrity says:

    In my eyes were in a great position. Financial stability and a good league position. For many other clubs its one or the other.

  61. 61
    avatar chuck says:

    GS

    sez,
    I even learn stuff from chuch , a fellow US resident..
    .
    Yeah ! it’s because i am on est in the +5 zone and you are +6, meaning i get the news an hour before you.

  62. 62
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    What’s to worry about mate (worky)?..

  63. 63
    avatar paolowoop says:

    great piece in the link
    cant believe this but itll be true
    Since 1996 the total amount by directors was £5.9m by Shepherd, £5.4m by Douglas Hall, £2.2m by Fletcher, and £860,000 by Sir John Hall.
    Am I right in saying Mr Ashley hasnt had a penny?

  64. 64
    avatar tynefan says:

    how would you contact Freddie Sheppherd

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