Llambias reveals Ashley’s ‘black hole’ and speaks of healing wounds.

Posted on November 5th, 2009 | 82 Comments |

Mr. Popular.
Mr. Popular.
In the latest salvo of the Ashley counter offensive, Newcastle United’s managing Director, Derek Llambias, has been revealing the depth of Mike Ashley’s financial black hole in an interview for Radio Newcastle. He moaned about the financial meltdown involved when a monster £70 million wages club that is supposed to be geared up for European competition get relegated and much more…

What follows is Llambias’s exchange with Radio Newcastle’s Mick Lowes.

On the financial consequences of relegation, Llambias said:

“It’s been extremely painful – it was a shock, it was unthinkable. We did have a business plan in place at the time that we just put into a cupboard, because we thought we never needed to use it.

“We’ve had to move on since then and it’s given us an opportunity to bring the wages down to an acceptable level in the Premier League, but not in the Championship.

Hailing chief, Chris Hughton, Llambias went on:

“Chris has created a tremendous team spirit that’s reflected on the pitch. Going forward, we hope to maintain that.”

On the financial ‘black hole’ of relegation, he spoke of the hugely different sums involved when an underperforming £70 million wages monster team, a team who should be geared up for euro competition and the revenue that brings gets relegated instead:

“It’s huge. We’ve dropped from £100m revenue to £50m. A good chunk of that is TV money from the Premier League – £40m. We get a parachute payment of £12.5m.

“In the Championship itself you get £2.4m income. You get a drop in your season tickets, attendance and retail – it all drops. That shortfall needs to be made up. Mike is picking the shortfall now and it’s very, very difficult, but we’re getting through it.

“We didn’t fire sale. At the time the press were saying we needed to fire sale, but we didn’t. We purposefully kept a nucleus of the team that we felt could take us up. It’s working and we’ll add to that – Chris will continue to add to the squad.”

However, for those concerned whether Mr Ashley will be bringing a galaxy of stars to Tyneside, Llambias offered little encouragement. On loans he said:

“That’s where we’d like to be – it’s affordable. But if Chris identifies a player that we feel will add value, then we just may go out and buy him.”

On the rather thorny issue of the renaming rights announcement, he understated:

“We could have worded it (the announcement) better, which is why I came out yesterday to try and explain where we are and what we’re trying to achieve. With the renaming it was always going to be whatever brand it was @ St.James’ Park.

“For the remainder of this season, we already have sportsdirect.com on the Gallowgate. We’d like to take that branding through the rest of the stadium and have on the outside where you see St.James now, ‘sportsdirect.com @ St.James’ Park’ to showcase to whoever’s out there who wishes to buy that package.”

Lowes went on to ask “So will there always be signage reminding people that this is St James’s Park?”

Llambias: “In our reign, absolutely. It’s just adding to it. If it brings in a good chunk of money to the club that goes straight to the team, it’s a revenue that we should look at.

“Newcastle United’s history is just incredible. It will go to other stadia – people have to look at maximising their revenues. That’s one part of a stadium that you can use that is under-utilised.”

Lowes: The £20m investment announced last week – how much will go on running costs?:

“In the Championship, every penny plus. It’s a very expensive club to run – we’ve got the highest wage bill in the Championship and that will increase over a period of months to make sure that we give Chris and the team 100% to get us to where we belong.

“I can’t give you a figure (on how much of that will be invested on players). If Chris comes along and says, ‘I need a right winger, I need a creative midfield player – this is the cost’ then that’s the cost and that’s what we have to put in.

“We need to get out of it (the Championship) and then once we’re out of it, we need to stay in the Premier League. We believe that we have got the foundation to get out of this league and we believe that we’ve got the foundation to stay in the Premier League. Let’s hope that we have the team that will take us there.

“It’s very important that the negative press and negativity around the city needs to stop. You need to concentrate on supporting the team. You may not like the administration but we’re here, we’re investing. We’ve made mistakes in the past but we are doing our best. If you get behind our team, your team, it’s necessary.”

Lowes: Is Mike Ashley in it for the long term?

Llambias: “His vision is that he’s going to be here to take it back up the Premier League. I think that’s his goal. Once we’re back up there it’s a review of where we again. He may want to take on a partner, i’m not sure – we’ve not had that conversation.

“Getting back to the Premier League is his total focus. It’s all our focus – let’s get back up to where we belong.”

Lowes: Do you worry about your popularity?

Llambias:“There’s always something you want to change – what would that be? too much to mention, quite honestly. We’re nearly spot on, it’s just that certain decisions took us in a certain direction and it’s very hard to recover from those decisions.

“A combination of time and results – success – will heal the wounds. We’re patient people and the fans will come around eventually. I’ve no idea of what length of time that will be – I may be a very old man, but they will see in the future that we do care.”

Returning to the subject of now permanent manager, Chris Hughton, Llambias gushed:

“Once we focused on taking the club off the market, Chris has done a very good job, the players back him 100% so he was the obvious choice going forward and I think it’s the right choice.

“He’s a really nice guy and he’s got an opinion that we like. We just like what he does.

“It’s been difficult for Chris. He’s been treading water for so long, he’s been the bridesmaid for so long and now he’s the main man and he will put his stamp on it, absolutely.

“Chris can recommend players and the board will have the final say. Mike’s got to put the money in so he’s got to agree to that sort of funding. You need to be as flexible as possible. You can’t be too stubborn about certain players.

“If the number one choice is this and the manager is insistent – but we can’t afford it, then there has to be a number two choice. So it’s a question of ‘Chris, what do you need – give us two or three options for this position and we’ll do our best to get the first one.’

“You need that flexibility and a lot of Premier League clubs will go down the line of recommendation by the manager.

“Mike inherited a very heavy wage bill – and still has some hefty players to pay, but they are good players. They are the guys who are going to get us back up and it’s worth the price if we get back up.

Concluding, Lowes asked Llambias whether the adverse reception to his first announcement of the stadium renaming masterplan. Llambias replied:

“We considered it, but then you have to consider what it brings to the club. On a financial basis it brings a good chunk of money that goes directly to the team. If you want extra players, then we need to bring extra revenue and that is one source of revenue that has been undervalued in the past.

“We’re not taking away St.James’ Park, we’re just adding to it. We will showcase sportsdirect.com until the end of the season and I’m sure we’re going to get a sponsor in for next season.”

The soap continues…

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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82 Responses

  1. that interview is so demoralising i feel like crying. What hope does he instill? Absolutely none. . !
    He lies again about not selling all the players in a fire sale. He doesnt mention that they announced every player was up for sale in the summer and it was only that no clubs came in for the them that they weren t sold. Who does he think we are? He may have the memory of a goldfish but we dont! This naming of the club is all cheap publicity for sports direct. We may as well get used to the cheap looking sports direct @ st. James Park sign on the outside of the building cos no other company will put their name to it. That was probably the whole intention all along but they couldnt come out and say it. .
    The adidas shop will soon be a sportsdirect shop at the gallowgate end and shearers will become ashleys wine bar.
    I hope their are demonstrations on saturday to express our anger and sicken the fat bastard into thinking the hassle of running the club isnt worth it. Take a big loss fatty and get out of our club!

  2. I want to know why when these so called reporters get a chance to speak to Llambias & Ashley don’t they ask the question everyone wants to know, like Is Ashley going to appoint a Chairman who knows football? Is Ashley going to give Hughton a warchest for players? Is Ashley going to leave once we’re back in the EPL? Instead of asking him if he cares what the fans think of him & Ashley, who cares if he cares or not, we want them both out so ask them the proper questions not the ones he wants you to ask!!!

  3. Well it’s a step-change that owl-heed is talking to his chums at Sky Sports and now Radio Newcastle….

    But really, shouldn’t it be the organ grinder doing the talking and not the monkey?

  4. He just doest get it! He’s still taking no notice of the fans saying we’ll be ok when we get promoted NO WE WONT!!!
    I just feel empty, we’re winning, we’re top of the league I should be happy I’m NOT!!
    Wish they’d GO and end our misery.

  5. Ann (5) You and me both. 

    You can absolutely tell, the Q&A has been carefully staged so that he can tell us  just what they want us to hear and no more.  He would not take an open Q&A session, he is too much of a coward and a liar to do that. 

    Those two turn my stomach, I despise them so much. 

  6. Forgive my ignorance on the matter but haven’t we halved our wage bill to roughly £35m? What other running costs do we have? Surely not a lot more than another £15m, or am I being naive? If the revenue is £50m, and we’re apparently debt-free, aren’t we doing OK financially for this projected year?

    So where is the £20m going?

    Even if there are other costs to cover that I’m just not considering, is it not OK to run at a bit of a loss this year and invest in the players to get ourselves up? Mike could even make some money out of it when he sells.

    I know he’s hinted at buying players but it’s all said in such a way that implies we shouldn’t be too disappointed if they don’t?

    I love the fact that they blissfully bypass the issue that we were very recently for sale and imply that it’s not their main priority. They’re either scheming or completely unaware of how deep the wounds are with some people. His vision is promotion to the Premier League, and then what? When asked, Derek didn’t seem to know because they hadn’t discussed it? 8O

  7. and there it is in the times, changing the name (yes Stuart, it IS a name change – by definition, the name is NOT the same as before so it has changed) has not earned us a red cent more, despite the point being to “maximise revenues” for the club, sure ly the whole ashley regime can’t be a publicity stunt to get sportsdirect.com up in big letters?

  8. BBM – as soon as Stardy can get his calculator warmed up – I’m sure he’ll be in here with all the numbers for you mate LOL

  9. thats and his reported drop in season tickets, attendance & retail?
    1. season tickets maybe, don’t know for sure
    2. Attendance, Hardly! 300 ppl short at the doncaster game from the attendance that man U/Liverpool got? for a financial bod his maths isn’t that good….
    3. Retail, the only impact on retail was putting out that god awful yellow thing !!

  10. and 4.

    UTD111 says:
    November 5, 2009 at 8:41 am
    Well it’s a step-change that owl-heed is talking to his chums at Sky Sports and now Radio Newcastle….
    But really, shouldn’t it be the organ grinder doing the talking and not the monkey?
    if i’m honest, I think the organ grinder is doing the talking, Ashley did a (semi) decent job when he was flanked by Mort

  11. Virtually all of his statements are rubbish, but the bit about supporting your team is outrageous. Where the hell does he think having consistently one of the highest attendances IN THE LEAGUE come from, if it’s not support for the team. In case there is anyone in doubt let me make this perfectly clear.. Mike Ashley has no love what so ever.. none .. zero.. zilch, either for the club, the supporters or the city and people of Newcastle. His only motivation with respect to the club is money, pure and simple and all his decisions are based on ‘what is best for Mike Ashley’s bank balance?’ nothing else.

  12. “We could have worded it better”.
    A start would have been to not word it at all.  These people don’t care what the supporters think.  The only protest they’ll ever listen to is that of cash staying in pockets.

  13. His talk about it being their decision to keep the nucleus of the team is bit off the mark. Did he not read Alan Smiths comments the other day, how the players had a meeting and they decided who was staying and who was going?

  14. we need the biggest mass protest football has ever seen to make him sell up on the cheap and keep doing it untill he fcks off the fat b@stard

  15. oi oi radgies!
    Woo hoo hoo hoo. Ave just rode past sd@sjp and seen fat mike and owl heed up some ladders holding the sd@sjp sign up and stardy is shouting, up, down a bit, aye that will do. Woo hoo hoo hoo! Theyre putting it up with no more nails man!
    Pure doylems like.
    Laters charva’s.
    Oi oi.

  16. I love no more nails. When you’ve finished putting your dancing santa on the roof with it you just have a couple of sniffs and your set for the day.

  17. They can moan about inheriting a high wage bill but at the end of the day they sanctioned the signings of Barton, Smith, Geremi, Enrique, Coloccini and Gutierrez, who are our highest earners apart from the likes of Nicky Butt. 

  18. worky – what’s your take on things at the minute? I sense a reluctance to defend the board as  much as you once did, or rather advocating patience to be more precise and fair. Have you lost (some?) hope in them as well?

  19. Posted this on last thread but it was already finished!! Kinda in line with BBM’s post.

    I dont understand how this 20 million simply covers running costs…maybe im wrong but did we not
    a)get upto 30 million from transfers over the summer….plus the installments on outgoing transfers from the previous 2 windows
    b)reduce our wage bill drastically in the meantime(anyone know the current figure)
    c)we also have parachute payments etc etc(we have also been live plenty of times so a decent bit of tv money has obvously been there)
    d)our crowds are still amongst the biggest in england so a huge amount of income will have been generated from this
    e)we also have a manager who is on a pittance and possibly one of the smallest backroom teams around
    ….so i cannot understand how on earth we need 20 million to cover running costs especially as we are virtually debt free…. In my eyes this must be more lies/excercise in public relation. The man infuriates me,his unwillingness to invest in the squad and littany of mistakes has gotten us relegated in the first place and now he wont even assist us getting promoted. WHO the hell worthwile could we buy for around 1million(maybe an average championship player who we will then be stuck with in the prem). They shite on about the youth but they havent invested much into them in quite some time(they do not even currently have a proper coach) He has done nothin positive for this club for such a long time so its no wonder why people have such a deep hatred for him.
    I also expect he will be giving us the 6 million they target on raising for the name change, this year(which should be a given in my eyes as Sports Direct is a company and should not be benefiting from free sponsorship)? Well that may mean investment in our first team squad so maybe not then!
    What a bunch of tossers…
    Also the amount of bones i could pick out of Llambias’ statement is unreal……utter crap!  As macas said it is their fault we currently have a terribly high wage bill,no1 elses!

  20. I know this is a stuipd question ( but its the only thing i can think of ) but if a player didnt ask for a transfer do we have to pay up any of his contact?

  21. 26 – Johno – Yes.
    Bit like groundhog day – everyone bitching – sit at home financial directors with not one ounce of credibility spouting opinions like a financial investigator – will sit on the sidelines until the mob have ran through to the next town.

  22. Howay then Dez (I prefer Dekka?), tell us how it really is? What am I missing? I just think if he’s going to talk about the financial side of things, he can tell us what the balance sheet looks like rather than just focusing on the two things which justify little or no public expenditure. This ‘very heavy wage bill’, which I thought they’d massaged. And the dint in the revenue. But there is more to it than?

    I’m not being facetious. I’m great at maths but admittedly ignorant to a lot of the financials. I’m just taking high level figures at the minute and the numbers aren’t adding up, or perhaps taking away?

    I’m away for lunch. Hopefully you’ll have time to reply, so I can read it with my ‘soup and a sarnie’.

  23. I don’t know but I reckon if you asked Ashley why he’s not paying for the SD logo he’ll probably point you in the direction of a big fat cheque for £20m that he’s just wrote.

    He knows nobody can argue that point.

    You have to be grateful for him putting that money in as hard as it is to say  that.  If he didn’t we’d probably be in administration before you could say “SportsDirect.com@St James’Park”

  24. Stu – I am grateful that we’re still afloat. I’m just genuinely interested as to why that £20m needs to be spent on running costs.

    At a high-level it doesn’t seem to make sense that we still need more money to cover costs. I’m just interested, not criticising him.

  25. Cheers Stardust , I knew I had read that a long time ago but wasnt sure ,

    Well if we had to pay a couple of players contracts up it would put a big dent in bank balance. And would we of gotten all of the transfer fee upfront? Its things like that could add up

  26. Yeah, but isn’t that what a ‘signing-on fee’ balances out? i.e. the other club pay that ultimately?

  27. BBM- Just playing devils advocate.

    I don’t suppose we’ll know what it’s been spenton until the accounts are due. Will be interesting though.

    I’m not sure what we have the wage bill down to but we also brought in £30m in player sales.  It would be interesting to see what that went on and what the extra £20m has gone on.

    Approx maths say we’ve got a turnover of £100m this year with £50m standard, £30m player sales and £20m from Ashley.  Wage bill of £35-£45m max.

    Accounts will be worth a look at.

  28. Stu – they’re the sort of figures which don’t make sense. It’s not about ‘Ashley is stealing from us’, although admittedly some people do think that, or at least lean that way. But it seems there should be money there to invest and to prevent such things as the ‘let’salllaughtatthetoon.com@St James’Park’ fiasco.

    If there are plausible reasons, I think they should be able to qualify them more. Put people at ease. It just seems like a token gesture…….'”well obviously it may be difficult to buy players because we inherited that horrendous wage bill (back in 2007) and of course we’re not getting as much money as we did last year’. Just sounds like spin. And it possibly didn’t need to.

  29. BBM ,Im just trying to come with ideas as why there seems to be a shortfall , as I do no not think the figures add,

  30. Stu – just read the two articles before, the one where that NUST fella was interviewed, had him coming across pretty well.

    It is very difficult not to find this quote very funny – “nearly spot on”.

    Howay Derek? I mean howay!!

  31. Johno – aye of course, I understand mate. I’m convinced the monies within the transfer cover that sort of thing.

    CLiNT FLiCK – but this is almost brand new information? 8O

  32. bowburnmag says:
    November 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm
    Stu – just read the two articles before, the one where that NUST fella was interviewed, had him coming across pretty well.
    It is very difficult not to find this quote very funny – “nearly spot on”.
    Howay Derek? I mean howay!!

    Funny!  I nearly died laughin when I saw that!

    What part of selling our best players, making only enough money available to replace them with worse players, lying to the fans, embarrasing two club legends and getting relegation was the ‘nearly’ part?


  33. Aye, there’s little chance of supporters coughing up that sort of money. I’m sure many would be prepared to, if they had the means but they won’t have. It could work to a degree if they reduced the price and allowed a more viable option for those that simply can’t afford it to buy one and others who can afford more to make up for it, by buying more. Of course that goes agains their one supporter-one share philosophy. Who knas? I guess they’ve gone round in circles trying it?

  34. Stu – “We’re nearly spot on, it’s just that certain decisions took us in a certain direction and it’s very hard to recover from those decisions.”

    Presumably he’s referring to their decision to follow the signpost to that slippery slope, known as ‘Sh*tcreek Hill’?

  35. I’m not hearing anything we don’t already know like.
    It’s all obvious as hell, isn’t it.
    I know they have to spell it out for some, but this is getting like the freaking news, where they have to administer it in a ‘child-like’ format.

  36. Stu – yeah, I think they pretty much have. Although I think I’m still rational. And I certainly try to be objective as much as possible. Difficult when it’s something that really matters to you though?

  37. bowburnmag says:
    November 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm
    Stu – yeah, I think they pretty much have. Although I think I’m still rational. And I certainly try to be objective as much as possible. Difficult when it’s something that really matters to you though?

    Preaching and converted comes to mind…

  38. BBM is one of the most rational and balanced posters on here.  The only time I’ve seen otherwise is when it comes to Keegan for some reason. :-)

  39. Stardust, I didn’t think you’d take the side of Scargill over Thatcher. Then I remembered that one of the first things she did when she came to power was to slap VAT on yachts. LOL :-)

  40. no stardust thatcher closed the pits that why scargill called a strike and thatcher killed the unions off  the trouble is not many of the public beleive scargill

  41. aye m8,very bad times,there was a scab a few streets up to owa house,fk did he get it,bit like stardust. :wink:

  42. Margaret Thatcher’s is indeed an evil, sociopathic old bag who caused incredible damage to society. However Scargill walked into a carefully constructed trap that Thatcher and her co-conspiritors had been laying for a long time.

  43. aye hitman hard times like i used to gan  on the rallys with me dad went notting hill carnival i ended up coming back loaded with cash loads of coloured guys kept giving me money 120 quid a kept a tenner and gave the rest to me dad

  44. Think my sympathys would lie with Scargill,thatcher destroyed industries  up and down the country,she just decided we din’t need industry anymore

  45. yes worky your right of course but  when she outlawed travelling from county to county it was bang oot of order hitler in disguise thats what she was

  46. batty, do you know much about Grunwick? It was a film processing lab that didn’t have alot to do with mining, but that’s where the ‘war’ really started.

    She was ‘bang out of order’ on alot of things!

  47. agreed,so why would lameass come out and say the money from the naming rights will go straight to CH in the jan window,when he knew fine well there wouldnt be nowt.

  48. hitman well i will be at every protest from now till the end untill he leaves m8 i feel it is my duty

  49. its every geordies duty to oust this man,i dont care if he cleared the debt (which he hasnt he just transferd it to him),this man has went about his way to insult us,first was keegan next was shearer then thers no number 9(i can see how non geordies dont understand this but it means somthing to us) and then the cude gra the name change.fkin insult afer insult.

  50. Bloody Hell – one Scargill line and the world goes mad.  BBM a decent fella – decent heart – but has got it wrong and gone off hating instead of seeing everyone’s interests are aligned.
    Worky was 100% right at 60. My dad (yes Hitman I wasnt born in a flask) was on the management at the coal board at the time, he told us AS was right – but was going about it all the wrong way.
    Billy Elliotts a great film.

  51. They deliberately prepared for, then provoked industrial disputes. In the case of the NUM by crippling the coal industry and giving huge subsidies to gas and nuclear power with taxpayers money. She also used MI5 to run a smear campaign against Scargill and the trade unions in a complete abuse of power. In hindsight, Scargill should have hit them with an army of lawyers, not a charge of the light brigade.

  52. Interesting, I’ll rummage around for that article and do some a lot of digging. I’d prefer to come to the subject some day. But again, what your describing to me feels like like easy “attention” and not immersion. however that’s the nice issue regarding science: folks get to fight regarding operationalization of terms and also the one who shouts the loudest and publishes the foremost usually gets to win.