If Ashley returned to the Premier League, would he stick or twist?

Posted on February 3rd, 2010 | 179 Comments |

Mike Ashley: Stick or twist? (pic by Paul Hutchinson)
Mike Ashley: Stick or twist? (pic by Paul Hutchinson)
Now the transfer window is firmly shut and we know what sort of players we have to work with until the end of season, owner Mike Ashley’s plans have become much clearer… or have they? I’d like to focus on the Newcastle United part of Mike Ashley’s business empire, rather than his other companies, some of which have recently featured in a BBC documentary.

Mike Ashley’s tenure on Tyneside has been a troubled one to say the least. Seemingly riding into The Toon like a knight in shining armour, the billionaire investor the club needed to get us challenging towards the top of the Premier League. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, reports came out that Ashley never bothered to even glance at the clubs finances before signing up to buy the club. A look at the books would have revealed just exactly where the clubs finances were, and if it was feasable for him to conclude the purchase.

Not a great start then, and something that is arguably still having a knock on effect even now as the Sports Direct owner still wrestles to balance the books. Some will say fair play to him, he put his own money in to make the club more sustainable, and to correct his mistake. Others will say that it’s his mistake for not looking through the books first, a schoolboy error on his part and he, rightly, should cover the cost of his own mistake.

Several unpopular mistakes later, a lost employment tribunal against Kevin Keegan, a relegation, 2 failed attempts at selling the club, a lack of investment in the team that would, arguably, have kept us in the Premier League and a lack of communication have all not helped Ashley’s ownership of the club.

Part of Ashley’s business plan was always to make us sustainable, buy within our means and end the days of transfers that kept maxing out the credit cards of the club. Deals such as Michael Owen, financed by using the entire sponsorship money from the Northern Rock deal in one hit, were a thing of the past.

The wage bill was another target for Ashley’s budget cuts. At the time of relegation, the squad had the 4th largest wage bill of any in the Premier League. I’d imagine this would have been cut gradually had we have stayed up, but relegation and the lower incomes in The Championship forced the hand. Massive earners like Viduka and Owen were already out of contract and left the club. These were swiftly followed by more high earners like Martins and Duff being sold off. This slashed the wage bill dramatically to around £40 million a year at the start of the season – still massive compared to other teams in The Championship but nearly half of what it was just a couple of months previously.

The acquiring of some loan signings brought us through to the January window where many expected more big earners to be sold, only to be replaced with cheaper alternatives. To many people’s surprise we were relatively active this window, adding a total of 6 faces to the current sqaud and not selling any of our first team high earners (Geremi doesn’t count).

So that brings us to today. Where do we stand?

To my mind, there are 2 trains of thought on this. Inadvertently, you could argue that Mike Ashley’s cost cutting plans have been implemented, perhaps not the way any of us wanted, with relegation being a catalyst. However, through the other side of this we are now much sleeker as club. I wouldn’t say we are rolling in cash all of a sudden, revenues and attendances have still dropped, but if we were to go straight back up the club would be in a much healthier state, having lost a lot of deadwood along the way, and with a Premier League income. At a time when a lot of other clubs are struggling, Liverpool, Manchester United and, most notably, Portsmouth, this could put us in a position to capitalise and play catch up.

On the other hand, some will say that although slashing costs was needed, it will ultimately be to make the business as a whole look more attractive to prospective buyers in the summer when Ashley will put the club back up for sale. A leaner business leaves more cash to be spent in buying the club, and that would suit Ashley, pocketing more money on his investment.

So what about the reinforcements we have acquired? We know Ashley is a gambler. Did he decide that sticking with what we had before the window was too much of a gamble? Too much of a risk to his investment? The consequences of not going straight back up this season would be dire for the fans, the club and for Ashley’s bank balance. Has he signed these players to try and ensure a swift return?

Or could this be the start of an Ashley fightback? One way to get fans back on side is through success on the pitch, perhaps this is what he is aiming for? Maybe he is deciding to stick around and give it another go in the Premier League if we get there? Perhaps the £20 million a season he invests into the club could actually be used on players given our new (relatively) slimline wage line? For the first time in a long time we wouldn’t be buying on credit and financing deals over years, we’d have full houses again, sponsorship and corporate deals would soon return, we’d have Premier League money, dare I say it but we may even turn a profit!

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there is an interesting debate to be had. For me, I’ll just wait and see. I’d like to see more communication from the board room, it’s free and and easy to do! On top of that I’d like to see some long-term commitment, putting the club on the market and spitting his dummy everytime someone says a negative word about him is not professional. Im far from forgiving Ashley for all the negative stuff that has happened since he has been here, but what’s to say that if he did sell that any new owners would be any better, or worse? Sometimes it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know’.

Time will tell I guess…..

The big NUFC Blog poll.

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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179 Responses

  1. I think he will look to sell but I don’t think the club will be put up for sale like last time, if the right offer is made then he will take it.

    If we do go up then we will be in good shape financially but building a squad will still take time, Spurs were in a similar situation where they needed a big squad makeover before Jol joined and it’s taken them 5 or 6 years to get the squad they have together.

    The hardest thing is going to be bringing players in while keeping a sensible wage structure as that is the secret to making profits every year which we can use to buy players from.

  2. Great article Toonsy. Balanced and sensible unlike the nonsense spouted by the NUST supporters trust and at least I can comment on your article! I have to pay £5 fOr the privilige on their website. Talk about lining pockets… A quote from the article on there today: “It is a leaner and meaner St James’s Park these days with employees jettisoned at regular intervals, the wage bill for players slashed, first-team squad reduced, fees paid vastly cut back, etc etc. To me other than the part about employees these are all positives! They compare us to Man U, Liverpool and Portsmouth which completely misses the point that as much as we all hate some of Ashley’s decisions in the past, we are on a stable financial footing unlike any if those clubs… Agree the jury is still out but the tedious “Get out of our club” chants are not helpful. How many Premiership owners would actually be better for us? Glazers? Hicks and Gillette? Portsmouth’s owners? West Ham’s previous owners? The Hull City owner who actually was lining his pockets with the club’s money? Thaksin Shinawatra? Freddy Shepherd who would have led us into administration? We should be careful of what we wish for…

  3. Great article, i never said ashley was a good owner but at least with religation we have got rid of the rubbish that was here and it hasn’t been that bad (aslong as we do go back up) but either way i would like to hear it from ashley if he’s in it for the long term or not what we need to carry on now is stability, hughton has done very well under the circumstances, i would like to see someone other than Llambias brought in as MD though, someone that can actually manage to communicate would help and with a knowledge of PL football as ashley could really do with a proper adviser rather than today’s tip for the jump race a chester

  4. A bit like the BBC documentary, you cant separate the football side from his clothing businesses when discussing Ashley, they are intertwined and he runs all with in the same manner whichever way its dressed up or spun out.
    The man is a money making machine and a born liar, the biggest one for us being that he bought the club to have fun!
    By hook or crook he will end up with a club like his clothing empire, run on a shoestring and making a fortune.

  5. I haven’t got a clue what Mick will do with regards selling NUFC,if it is sold I hope it is done with the minimum of upset and upheaval.
    Good article!

  6. I agree we are now run like a 2nd hand clothes shop…just glad we are not playing in Lonsdale shirts next season with sports direct on the front.
    Just like to add that re branding the stadium is in my opinion wrong and disrespectful.

  7. NUST Ashley Poll looks a bit more clear cut than yours :)

    NEWCASTLE owner Mike Ashley is still public enemy No.1 on Tyneside despite the club topping the Championship.

    A survey of fans showed 96 per cent were unhappy with the way the club was being run.More than 5,000 voted in the poll organised by the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust and the results make grim reading for Ashley and chairman Derek Llambias.

    One per cent claimed they were ‘very happy’ with the way the club was run with a further three per cent ‘satisfied’.

    NUST are leading a campaign for fans to buy out Ashley.

  8. BigBadBob @ 4 – I don’t really see how anyone can make a fortune out of a football club in the current economic climate. I don’t own one, so I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine to make any money at all out of a club your club needs to be in a consistently high league placing, and winning trophies. Man U and Liverpool seem to prove that this is not always the case.

    It’s been said before on this blog and others, if Ashley has any real intentions with this club, he only has one recruitment decision to make. Get rid of Llambias and put in place a football savvy Chairman.

    Personally, I don’t think he will put the club up for sale next season regardless of which league we are in. I think it’s far more likely we will be sold quietly, a bit like the way he himself bought us and as Rangerman suggests @ 1.

  9. Great article Toonsy

    To all who sing the “get out of our Club” chant, please stop, you make us look like a bunch of morons

    Its not productive on or off the pitch

    I hope he doesn’t sell, but balanced the books and start turning a profit, after the meagre sums we have paid for players this window, imagine 20 mil to spend if Ashley did not have to use it to cover costs.

  10. The other side of the coin would be if we fail to get promoted,Mike will then make a huge profit selling senior players then could sell at a reduced cost.
    I am sure the assets already sold have not all been spent on running costs and electric bills.

  11. Lot of love for Ashley this morning…

    Good article mon amigo.

    I think he’s struck gold with Hughton in being able to manage on limited means. As a consequence, he may see some pretty effective damage-limitation on his investment. I don’t think he was in it to make money but he definitely wasn’t in it to lose the sort of money he might have done by selling at any point since it all went pear-shaped.

    I think too much ill-feeling still exists for him to really enjoy it. So if he’s true to his word, I believe once he’s in a position not to have lost out badly in terms of finance, he’ll go. But I agree with Rangerman, that it’ll happen without a ‘for sale’ sign going up. I also agree with what he said the other day, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re already turning a small profit, hence the money being spent on players.

    As for me, I don’t think I’ll ever accept Ashley now, the most I could do is accept he’s here.

  12. BBM-As for me, I don’t think I’ll ever accept Ashley now, the most I could do is accept he’s here.

    Same here…bored of hating him,wasted energy.

  13. SJT/BBM,i am with yous on ash point along with many fans.
    think this article is one of the best this season well written

  14. DONALD says:
    February 3, 2010 at 8:42 am
    Great article Toonsy

    To all who sing the “get out of our Club” chant, please stop, you make us look like a bunch of morons

  15. The 5000 who voted on the NUST site are probably mostly those in favour of the NUST whose primary aim is to take over from Ashley – so of course they want him out. That means its more like 96% of NUST supporters want him out rather than 96% of fans. The real figure will likely be significantly lower.
    Me – I’m undecided. You only have to look at Portsmouth to see it could be worse…

  16. Wow – some really good posts on here! Great point about what Ashley could do with the £20m once he’s not having to just pay off the overdraft with it every year.

    Also, I agree that we need a decent replacement for Owl-Heed Llamearse.

    We’ve just had a clear statement that learning is finally happening in the board room, as demonstrated by a really good transfer window. So – assuming that continues, what does that leave us with?

    An owner who, in many ways, is a lot better than the Glaziers and others who are just as bent but don’t seem to have the same grasp and plan of how to keep a club afloat. They also haven’t shown any improvement in their attitude, unlike Mike da Pies.

    However – Ashley has been shown up to be an incurable gambler, a compulsive liar, a bully with no respect, and generally amoral git.

    What I can’t decide is whether there is any prospect of improving on that. As far as I can tell, there are only two sorts of people working in professional football today:

    1. Convicted criminals
    2. The ones who haven’t been caught yet.

    Right now, I’m enjoying stability and going to matches expecting to win, and if we get promoted I think I’d be happy to stick with the status quo. “Better the lying, fat crook you know” and all that.

    Of course, he could be shipped off to prison any time soon, so perhaps all this is is moot?

  17. Thought i’d logged on to the dark side .com til batty chipped in with his usual cutting wit ;)

    In my opinion we could be at the start of an exciting new era. We have a well balanced squad of youth of experience, and a seemingly great sense of team spirit and determination.

    We have also proved we’re no longer prepared to be held ransom to excessive demands from players and agents.

    I’ll admit the football’s not that great but that will come in time as we add more quality to the squad and the promising youngsters we have mature as footballers.

    Having said all that, I do think that Ashley will want out of the club if we’re promoted (who could blame him) and I worry that the new owners, whoever they may be, will revert back to the old ways of trophy signing players who don’t give a rats bum about the toon just to appease the ‘anti-cockney’ mob.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want to see great football at the toon again, and I’d love to see some top talent there too. I just thought it would be great if we could do it on our own terms.

  18. I don’t join in with the ‘get out of our club’ chant. Mainly because I don’t know how the players feel about Ashley.

    Like most supporters, I don’t personally know anyone on the playing and coaching staff at the club so for all I know he may have established a great bond with the players. They may think he is the saviour of both the club and their careers. So when the players hear that chant ringing around St. James, it might be hurtful to some (or all) of them and may have a detrimental effect on the team as a whole.

    Good relations between Ashley and the team/coaching stafff may well be an unlikely situation given what is publicly known of his dealings with Keegan, but we just don’t know.

    I would like to hear from anyone on this board who does have personal knowledge of this, and not just the second-hand word of one dissafected youth player who sees his chances limited by the purchase of a new player, but the general opinion from the whole playing and coaching staff. I appreciate it’s very unlikely for anyone outside of that group to know that but the supporters as a whole might be surprised.

  19. Another plaudit coming your way Toonsy, good to read something balanced on the subject. Sick of hearing about NUST, they’re just trying to ramp up the the usual anti Ashley invective due to some positive things happening at the club last week. Have no time for them. I think he will stay on another year even if we are promoted and I agree the daft nonsense chanted at each match further reinforces our fans image as a bunch of knuckle draggers. How many other clubs fans would be happy to switch places with us at the minute?

  20. Im Pro Newcastle United and for me it doesnt matter who owns the club.

    I have said this before I think the club as a whole ( fans players owners etc…) have to move on from the whole KeeganGate saga. Mistakes were made by Ashley is an understatement but the club was built on sand before he came and it would of come down sooner or later.

    I think we are lucky he had bought the club as god knows where we would of been with Sheppard still in control. Premiership status still in tack or not.

    I dunno if he will sell , I hope he stays as the finicial model he is building the club is sustainable and with Platini looking to sort out the finicial mess most clubs are in we could be ahead of the pack in a few years ( hopefully )

  21. Could we also have a poll asking whether fans want him to stay? (I think it might be interesting to compare the results)

  22. if ashley gets a decent offer he will be off,has ashley got the ambition to spend a huge wedge to try and keep us in the prem,i dont think he has plus is CH the man,fk knows

  23. johno,we need quality players how can cut it in the prem,do we have the players who could do the job in the prem,they couldnt last season,plus the players that come in are champioship standard,i hope im proved wrong.

  24. Alreet hitman?

    Don’t you think…

    Simpson, Taylor, Collocini, Enrique
    Routledge, Guthrie, Smith, Jonas
    Ranger, Lovenkrands

    …is a prem team then?

    I reckon we’d easily stay up with that team, plus we have some decent replacements, some promising youngsters who’ll be a year older and wiser and the opportunity of more new blood in the summer window.

  25. But what is premiership standard. Portsmouth, Hull, Wolves or Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal

    Surely no one can reasonably expect us to go up and win the league, break in to the top 4 or even the top 8 as soon as we are promoted.

    Realistically, in our first few years back in the premier league we simply have to aim to stay there then start to rebuild slowly.

    Unreasonable expectations and overspending are two of the problems that put us where we are now.

    If we finished above a relegation position in the premier league for the next three seasons I would be happy. It would only be if we didn’t move on from there after that time that I would start to worry.

    We have to get there and stay there. Everything else is secondary at the moment. It may well be that, if we continue to manage our finances well, other currently more successful teams will fall from grace and we will take their place by default.

  26. I think Hitman we do have the players to stay up , our defense is premiership quailty , midfield coudl hold its own next season. Upfront I think we are lacking and could struggle and we need a goal scorer , I dunno who but we need someone to put the ball back of the net. Then a few more faces and i think we be laughing but I dont think we need a massive amount

  27. ALREET tc, that team might just keep us in the prem but a few injuries in key areas and were fked m8..i dont think ranger could do the job for us in the prem,jonas flatters to deceive,hopfully colo can do the job he struggled last season but that was his first season in england,not sure about guthrie or simpson or routledge.

  28. Obviously many know my views on Ashley – I have always viewed this from a “need to put the finances right angle” with a view to building an enduring long term successful club. In many respects thats why I have appeared more lenient than most.

    Yes he has made mistakes – but mistakes in my opinion born out of inexperience and dare I say it – honest mistakes.

    If Ashley leaves and another buys us (including a fans consortium) it would be a sad day – as short termism would have triumphed. On any given day if a Chairman spends one penny more than the club can afford – its a penny closer to the end. Footballers arent like machines in factories that will produce a guaranteed return on investment – they are gambles – hence Ashleys current strategy of buying nearly out of term promising players bodes well for the long term – buy em cheap sell em high means a sustainable club – fortunately for us – timing which has been so often against us is now with us – as if we are promoted we will be promoted solvent at a time others are struggling to find a penny. In the last transfer window we spent around 10% of the total amount spent in the window by all clubs.

    I wouldnt expect to see Ashley subsidise us next year if we are promoted – we as a club have to learn to stand on our own two feet – to ensure the long term future way after he has gone – and that will be the right time to step aside (though one more year of 20m wouldnt go amiss Mike if your reading lol).

    I like many dont expect Ashley to stay – he – by putting the club on and off the market – by the information contained in his limited press releases, by sitting in the stands looking sad as the mob sing YFCB GOOOC looks as if he is hurt by it all. If hurt isnt the right word – affected certainly is.

    The fact remains he bought the club to “have some fun” and it has been anything but – plus it has cost him a small fortune.

    The NUST are a cancer at the heart of our club – their agenda is now to drive Ashley out of the club just as the future looks bright. Their every utterance is an embarrassment to everyone. Surely NUFC’s success is the most important thing to them – they are acting more like a lynch mob – the KKK or the BNP – they can not afford to buy the club yet alone buy it, you can not post on their articles without registering and paying – their “surveys” are an embarrassment and so skewed their results hold no water.

    I appreciate many saying they cant forgive Ashley – but I simply say – hindsight hatred is destructive (especially when the mistakes were made out of inexperience) – judge him on the here and now – you need to ask yourself if youve ever had to make difficult decisions in your own lives – thereon put yourself in his shoes and consider all of the elements of a decision not just the facts that take your fancy.

    I hope he stays and we continue to build this way – its a longer road – but more honest – more tangible – more real – more sustainable and enjoyable. I feel for the first time the shackles of the Shepherd era are being removed…are we so stupid as fans we would wan to plunge ourselves headlong into financial ruin again? I guess in NUST’s case the answer is yes – my vote is I hope he stays – but I just cant see it until we cut out the cancer.

  29. Stardust says:
    February 3, 2010 at 11:53 am
    Obviously many know my views on Ashley
    <<<< i dont can u explane them plz

  30. a leopard never changes its spots,ashley has made a fortune on doing things on the cheap,it must of broke his heart when he saw newcastles books :)

  31. Hitman – in all honesty the buying players beneath their market worth is the right way to go (forever more in my opinion) – and to buy players that are itching and excited to play for us is something else I love. And to cap if off if they are young – I would be quite happy to sell them at 30 years old to anyone silly enough to pay top dollar.

    But the caveat should be not to buy players who are 70% quality. We want to pay 70% of the market worth with 100% quality.

    Though this window has probably seen an average spend of 1m per player – long term this average will rise as we take advantage of even more promising players from established PL clubs – but players who want to leave Man U and Chelsea etc to Play not to sit on benches.

    But one step at a time and all that – its the time to enjoy our footy again (knowing our future is secure) and forget about off field antics (which NUST are the biggest embarrassment at the mo – not mike Ashley!).

  32. Hi there Stardust. Nice post, and some good points in there.

    We only disagree on two points: NUST may have the PR nouse of a pebble, but the ‘cancer’ thing is daft. I’m not convinced I want them owning or running the club either – but I’d like ’em to get a chunk of it and a seat on the board to balance the cold, hard business side which is good right now but will need softening with some local club passion once things are stabilised.

    The other thing I disagree on is the word ‘honest’ in any sentence related to Ashley.

    I too think he’s made mistakes and I took it at face value when he apologised for them. But what is becoming undeniable (keegangate, OFT investigations, BBB documentaries) is that he is anything but honest. He and Llamearse seem to be the worst kind of shysters, and that is what rankles.

    Thankfully, it’s all that’s left to rankle after they have turned things around in so many ways. Great job in the transfer window, for a start.

    My question is: is the idea of honest owners of a football club just daft? Is there anyone honest owning or running a club these days, and what are our chances of someone like that turning up to take ours?

    I must admit, I’d be happy to let the thaw towards Ashley continue – especially if he got us a proper MD. I suspect our Casino Don has been most of the problem.

  33. stardust you live in a dream world, you get what you pay for,if we keep buying other clubs players who couldnt make it in the prem where does that leave us.

  34. How much would it take to turn Toon Chickens team @ 27 into a top 5 premiership team?

    Whatever figure you come up with, you have to admit that either Ashley/Hughton have got us close and we only need a small injection of cash or it can’t be done in a season unless we are bought out by a filthy rich backer who simply doesn’t care how much they lose!

    Assuming we are on some kind of even keel at the moment, and that Ashley will only spend his remaining millions on us in a trickle so that he ensures that he doesn’t lose too much of his cash, I’d rather continue in that manner than go through the Portsmouth scenario. A different owner every month.

    In the coming few years, what with the financial restrictions that footballing authorities are looking to place on clubs and the likelihood that business men owners (like Ashley) will be tempted to cut and run as soon as they get the colli-wobbles, I would rather have a sensible and sustainable business plan under Ashley than be facing administration and minus ten points just so I could say we were owned by the fans and had Shearer as manager.

    Of the top clubs in the English league, only Arsenal (Ashleys blueprint?) seem to have their finances right. Man U and Liverpool owe millions, it’s not impossible that the owners of both Chelsea and Man C could walk away and do Spurs, Everton and Villa really have the finances to step up and take the place of one of the current top four?

    Over the next five season or so, money will talk, as someone said on an earlier thread, but it could be that we are better off than we currently appear.

  35. Great post, good balanced differences of opinion and then somebody just has to elbow his way in to be heard above everyone and shout the rest down, get a life will you.

  36. Stardust: Agree with you on the transfer policy… almost. If you have a 30-year-old player who cost £1m at 23 and is worth £10m, you should only be happy to sell him if he’s not doing the job and you can get better for less than that £10m. Player continuity is as much a key to success as management continuity. (Giggs, Scholes, etc. – all good examples). They are NOT “stock”.

    As for “NUST are the biggest embarrassment at the mo – not mike Ashley”… I get what you’re saying, but there are awkward questions:

    1. Which one (Ashley or NUST) is getting chants against him every game?
    2. Which one is hiring top lawyers because the OFT are after him for fraud?
    3. Which one was the subject of an expose about sweat shops?

    Basically, your statement is only true in the same way as “Stalin was nastier than Hitler”…

  37. Ashley only gave the go ahead to bring those 6 lads in to deflect from the TV Doc, to buy us off on the cheap.

    say it LOUD say it PROUD:


    (the bunker is now destroyd)

  38. Hitman – its obvious from this transfer window with 150 mn spent last year and only 30 this – that “cash is king” is true once more. Especially that we pay up front for players.

    We can expect us to play hardball but fairball in the markets for the next few years – cash is a scare resource once more – and if promoted – we will have it at a time when others havent. Thats a great position to be in.

  39. Whumpie – maybe because in point 1 its NUST members singing it lol.

    Re the rest – I am a little easier on it. Its the way of the world – “gentlemens agreements” exist all over re pricing / contract bidding etc – re the sweatshops – they are abhorrent in our society and would rightly be put down here – but they are seen as employment in others. Just to be controversial – is that exploitation or is it investing in local economies?

  40. just on the point of NUST they say they want to run the club like a Barcelona,Real Madrid,yes they run elections for club Presidents/Chairman,but dont those who stand ie,the likes of Lamporta at Barca & Perez at Madrid dont they have to garantee a large investment with them example a 100mill or so to be put in to the club coffers,

  41. Jill says:
    February 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

    “Good article Toonsy and nice art work by Excelsior.”

    It wasn’t by Excelsior, Jill, though I can see the similarity.

  42. Stardust says:
    February 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    “Just to be controversial – is that exploitation or is it investing in local economies?”

    It’s complete and utter exploitation Stardust, just in case you were in any doubt.

  43. Im not in doubt – but the answer is subjective Worky according to location – society in that location – position in life – and the worker.

    For example would a worker in the sweatshop want the sweatshop to close and have to earn a living picking plastic from a dump?

    I dont agree with them but I can see why in local economies they work.

    Societies standards evolve over time – just as we were swilling sewerage from our streets – and had work houses – not too long ago – sweatshops will disappear in time too (in those countries but start up in other less developed ones).

    Its just the natural way things progress though I do accept with more education and global affluence the disappearance of them accelerates which can only be a good thing – however the gap between haves and have nots remains.

  44. What a great blog. Shame the press can’t see that there actually are NUFC fans who are intelligent and capable of reasonable debate! Stardust – you often make some good points bur then kill your credibility by overdoing it. Calling Mike Ashley honest and questioning whether sweatshops are economic investment are pushing it too far… On the topic of fan ownership, do the advocates not realise that you still have a Chairman and Board who make the decisions? It’s not like 400,000 fans are going to be polled every time there is a transfer decision…. What if the Chairman ends up being an influential local businessman “fan” like Freddy Shepherd?

  45. Ketsbaia – just helping stimulate a little debate! Isnt that what blogs are about?! ;)

    On the FFS line – he is conspicuous by his absence from the parade and this is how the club was floated many years ago – its history attempting to be repeated – but timing is poor this time.

  46. @Stardust – mostly agree
    The days of trying to compete with the top four are long gone and we need to cut our cloth accordingly, almost all clubs are skint – I can see most clubs putting in some kind of wage control and imagine that the days of 125k a week for a player are coming to an end

    A couple of seasons with no chmpions league will see Liverpool goto the wall, sure they could get 30 mill each for Gerrard and Torres but not much for the rest of em – given that the annual interest on thier loans is about 70-80 million they’ll have to sell most of thier highly paid players

  47. Stardust says:
    February 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    “For example would a worker in the sweatshop want the sweatshop to close and have to earn a living picking plastic from a dump?”

    If their whole economies weren’t crushed by a hegemonic grip on trade, military and political influence by western governments, and now of course, China, they wouldn’t have to pick plastic from a dump just to survive in the first place. It is a fait accompli which has them locked in a cycle of poverty from all sides, which is systematic and intentional. There is no question to answer, and there is no justification for it at all.

  48. Agree wholeheartedly with Whumps and Ketsbaia. Dusty making some good points and then undoing his good work by vilifying in a manner which he claims ‘club-hating fans’ would do.

    Kets – I think it’s a great point you’ve made and we’ve had it out on here before. I believe the general concensus being that fans would at least feel like they’d done their bit and could live and die by the sword. Whereas now, we’re at the mercy of the likes of Ashley who will come in and appoint who they like, Llambias being an awful case in point.

    Stardust – it’s not subjective at all. It’s exploitation however you look at it. You’re exploiting a situation rather than helping it. You either do it or you don’t. Mike does it.

    Whumps – Couldn’t agree more on your ‘stock’ comments to Dusty. I sometimes think all he sees are the pound signs when he goes off on one. Your example was spot-on, re Man Utd and their continuity. Everton have a similar policy, albeit relatively speaking. West Ham were and perhaps still are the opposite. Feed and weed, don’t just keep getting it re-lawned, eh?

    All in my most humble opinion of course…

  49. bowburnmag says:
    February 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    “You’re exploiting a situation rather than helping it. You either do it or you don’t. Mike does it.”

    Nearly all of us are complicit in it Bowburn, so I wouldn’t get on too much of a high horse about Ashley.

  50. I didn’t say I was. I ain’t on no high horse pardner.

    Just pointing out the flaw in Dusty’s unquestionable defence of his Lord and Master.

  51. Or rather I didn’t say I wasn’t.

    I feel largely powerless most of the time though and wouldn’t directly exploit someone given the opportunity. I certainly wouldn’t go looking for it either.

  52. geordie deb says:
    February 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

    “Sick of hearing about NUST”

    Here’s some more about the NUST Deb :-)

    They now have the venerable John Gibson spreading more falsehoods for them.

    “No one sees the books, of course, but a shrewd stab by those a little in the know suggests gate receipts have brought in an estimated £35m, advertising still more than £11m, replica shirt sales roughly £10m, TV income at least £5m, the parachute payment another £11.25m. It goes on.”

    The first bit is completely false, the audited accounts must be published annually by law, and the public can see them if they really want to. The rest is just a wildly exaggerated guesstimate. Projected revenues are much lower than the figures Gibson is suggesting.

  53. Worky – again I appreciate your comments and agree somewhat – but the points I threw up were for debate an based on the person on the ground taking the opportunity.

    Do they see themselves as exploited? (many are too young to even know what that is I appreciate – and thereon its ingrained within).

    I often find it patronising that other societies and cultures form views on other societies and cultures and tell them how they should live. Why should an Aborigine or a Maasai enrol their children into class to educate them so they can get on the treadmill of earnings and ultimately produce returns for large corporations? Why cant they be happy living off the land etc? Why is it wrong to educate their children in accordance with their culture not ours?

    Often we impose our views onto others without thinking if those views are welcome or not? Its this mechanism that actually erodes diversity in society and cultures.

    So my questions to you are

    “Ultimately are the sweatshops internationally objected to because they can not be used for gain by global corporations, their returns (from a corporate standpoint) are non existent and remove opportunities for international corporate growth because they exist and can not be exploited on the manufacturing side?

    Do they serve and are they welcomed by the local culture or are they objected to by the local people as exploitation.

    And where and when did we in the West ever assume the patronising right to tell different cultures that education so you can get a “job with prospects” is better than embracing their culture? – again I go back to the Maasi and Aborigine – some will describe them as living in poverty – they have no money – who cares – are they healthy and happy – do they enjoy their lives – well thats for them to answer – not you or I”

  54. Hitman – re my point at 50 – it is for local cultures, politicians and society to decide whether they are right or wrong and thereon make sure they are stamped out (at this point they can ask for international help – but it should be requested not forced upon them) – It is not for others from other cultures to enforce this view upon them.

  55. Using sweatshops to supply to a UK business is illegal for a reason.

    The excuses Stardust has given are just that, from the same book as “if he didn’t do it someone else would”, and “you can’t stand in the way of progress”.

    But it is good boredom-bashing debate, eh.

    Haven’t had a chance to watch the BBC prog anyway yet. Hasn’t been much said in the press or blogs, so I assume it wasn’t that explosive? These days these exposes start with the conclusion then just set out to justify it, so I’m not expecting much to be honest.

  56. Blimey, I find myself empathising with Stardust today….. well, let’s qualify that by saying in this thread so far!

    The article’s one of the best I’ve seen on this site and it has stimulated sensible, unemotional and constructive discussion.

    My take on Ashley is much akin to Stardust’s in that I beieve he’s come in with the best of intentions, realised he’s bought some serious liabilities (thnaks Freddy)by not undertaking due diligence and tried to get the club into some sort of order.

    His people management has been lets just say lacking in early days but that’s history. I also think he’s realised he’s bought a football club with high expectations from very commited fans.

    So, now he’s gone a long way to sorting the finances out it’s just (just?) a case of ensuring that he, his staff and all of the fans, keep eyes firmly on the short-term aim….. promotion.

    Then….. and this is where fans really must be patience, consolidate in the prem by getting a squad that’s capable of progressing slowly but surely up!

    Mistakes or not, disliked or not, we should regard this club as a business that we want to succeed rather than fold and trust Ashely to do the job in a period of stability.

    In summary, I think he’d be inclined to stay provided the lynch mob that was remains subdued.

    Let’s support him to help the club and we may all be very happy bunnies in five or so years time – surviving in the Prem in whatever shape it will be and surveying the ashes of the clubs that have disappeared, gone, bust, finito, kaput or whatever.

  57. re lesh @ 64 and ‘Blimey, I find myself empathising with Stardust today….. well, let’s qualify that by saying in this thread so far!…. ‘

    May I qualify the above… so far relates only to matters Newcastle United and not exploitation or otherwise. I aint read so I can’t agree or disagree.

  58. “lesh says:
    February 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm
    Blimey, I find myself empathising with Stardust today….. well, let’s qualify that by saying in this thread so far!”

    Bet youre glad you wrote so far when youve scanned further down the thread lol. ;)

  59. Do people in the north of britain want companies to move south & take their jobs with them cos they cos they get paid worse for the same output than down south, i doubt it?

    Stardust points are rhetorical & to be thought about, not just dismissed as wrong cos you don’t get him.
    Not saying worky ain’t right too, but he knows what stardust is on about & it’s fair enough for him to ‘balance’ the debate.

  60. Well thought out & presented blog toonsy,
    I don’t see Ashley as desperate to sell as some think.
    He’s a hard nosed business man, is there any other kind, & ain’t ‘pushed off the ball’ so easily. The guy is a virtual ‘recluse’, he knows how to keep himself to himself.

  61. Whumpie “Using sweatshops to supply to a UK business is illegal for a reason.”

    An answer one could give is that if all UK businesses used them – or other forms of cheap labour without heavy restraints of import duties and taxes – National Economies in the Western World would see a fall in GDP and reduced corporate profits which could produce deflation of the Western Economies.

    As I say – though I would disagree with them here in the UK – BUT it is for local people to decide what works for their own cultures.

    For example could you imagine what an Aboriginal Man think of the health and saftey madness and political correctness.

  62. Stardust,
    mate, for all you’re seen as the ‘bete noir’ on here & you are accused of being controversial, i see you as trying to be logical & consistent. Not everyone gets nor appreciates what you say, but if people take the time they’ll see that you care about this club & the way it’s run.
    Hey! None of us are always right & we have our own agendas etc but most of us try & get a point across, & we all ‘major’ in different aspects of opinion & have different ways of putting it across.
    Vive la difference!

  63. Stardust says:
    February 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    “Ultimately are the sweatshops internationally objected to because they can not be used for gain by global corporations”

    I don’t understand, Stardust. They ARE used for gain by global corporations. Most high street clothing brands have used sweatshop labour extensively. And clothing is just the tip of the iceberg.

    “Do they serve and are they welcomed by the local culture or are they objected to by the local people as exploitation.”

    Yes and no, they may welcome them, like the slave welcomes just been beaten instead of killed by his or her master. However this doesn’t mean they welcome being beaten, or being a slave in the first place. They are under no illusions that they are being exploited and that they are the victims of a fait accompli, but they have no choice. Have you ever travelled around third world and developing countries before?

  64. CLiNT – OK then, I just didn’t get it. Enlighten me as to what I didn’t get though? Because I’m not getting it… ;)

  65. bowburn,
    let me direct you to post 67, if you still don’t get me, giz another buzz & i’ll elaborate.

    Ok, do us lot up north feel exploited cos we get paid less by co’s moving north to pay less wages?
    Do we want those co.s to take their jobs elsewhere & leave us in the financial poo, without work?
    Doubt it?

  66. lol Clint- the Dark Beast – I like it – maybe I should change my name to fit the suit that many have me wearing ;)

  67. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

    I guess we coulld ALL move south get better wages for the same work & pay a higher cost of living.

    Not saying it’s right, & i very much doubt Stardust is, just saying what happens, agreed?

  68. But anyway,
    if we don’t actually get round to talking about this stuff, we become unclear about what goes on. The subject becomes/stays taboo, & it carries on unopposed.

  69. Stardust – you seem to think the sweatshop thing is still subjective, and it isn’t. They have been assessed by our government (and at European level) and there are metrics which suppliers must be measured by (e.g. age of workers, hours, conditions, education, etc.) before they can be used legally by UK companies.

    I’ve not seen the programme, but I’m guessing Ashley’s suppliers don’t meet the requirements, therefore they are illegal. If that’s the case and you add it to the other stuff we know about Ashley… it does not warrant your use of the word “honest”.

    On the other side, he does occasionally do something which makes you laugh. Calling all the city boys crybabies after making his £900m at their expense a couple of years back was a wonderful thing to read about.

  70. I understood what he was saying and I also understand what you were saying. What I don’t understand, is why we can’t say it’s wrong?

    Clearly workers in the North are exploited to an extent, and the relative ‘living costs’ are used as a justification. Workers in the north aren’t all going to move south if they’re happy with their families and their homes. They’d like to work close to home.

    But to suggest that you use that to you’re advantage is surely a pretty good argument against exploitation?

  71. Sorry I forgot to add, using the ‘you should be happy to have a job’ thing is exactly the point being made, is it not?

  72. Whumpie,
    he didn’t say Ashley was honest.
    Just that he’d made SOME honest mistakes.
    Which, if you get into a business you know nowt or v little about, is pretty much to be expected first up.
    But, surely, everyone can see that the mistakes have become less, if not none existent, in recent times.

  73. I’ve thought for a while that if not for Mike Ashley, right now we’d be a higher scale version of Portsmouth…

    Also, in regards to him “packing up his toys and leaving”, I do think that was forced on him.

    When Chris Mort was here, there was no problems. Llambias replaces him and, well, the communication lines drop and the fans get angry. When Keegan left (which I think was just what Ashley needed to happen to learn his lesson in regards to team management – as seems to be the case with trusting Hughton without any higher help), Ashley intended to stick it out and see whether our players and team would play well enough that the pressure on him for Keegan leaving would drop a bit.

    Of course our players let us down in that respect, and we found ourselves relegated. I don’t think relegation was Ashley’s fault, though I’m critical of Joe Kinnear’s appointment, but at the end of the day, Ashley doesn’t go out onto the pitch and play with the lack of passion our team seemed to. I think Ashley had no choice but to put the club up for sale, though I always thought that whoever he sold it to would end up being another Shepherd. And if people think Mike Ashley is a crook, I have family who work for Shepherd and to say they think HE’s a crook would be a huge understatement.

    As of now, though, relegation looks like the best thing that could have happened to us. Can we stop buying players who come here for money, now? Can we buy players who have something to prove at a big club (like us) or in a big league (like the Premiership, where we’ll hopefully be next year).

    We have these Championship proven players (Williamson, Best, Routledge, etc) that need to prove they can make the step up. We have Premiership proven players (Smith, Nolan, Taylor) who need to prove that they can lead this team back up there and fix what they were a part in breaking last year. We have players who need to prove they deserve first team football (Simpson, Routledge again). We have players who’ll fight for this team now, a gritty determined squad.

    I think we’re in a much better position now than we have been for years.

  74. Ashley will be gone IF and it’s a big IF he can find a buyer – I still think he’ll struggle.

    We have been buying players this window which could indicate were actually making money – We know he only budgeted for crowds of 25k and we’ve averaged many more which in itself is nothing short of incredible given the trials and tribulations over the past 12 months.

    It’s been reported that there is a delay in the publishing of the accounts which obviously people will ask questions – Rightly or wrongly.

    On the whole Ashley bought it for fun and not to make money debate – He bought it to have fun yes, but he also made a long term investment – He had planned to make money in the end.

    I heard Keith Harris yesterday saying that these people buy clubs to make money – They see it as a 10 year project – Like buying a house, you see the value of your investment rise over a ten year period.

    Billionaires DON’T throw money away without getting anything back – Unless you’re a philanthropist and Ashley certainly isn’t one of them.

    Although NUFC is a fairly worthwhile cause…

  75. It’s strange, but I made a comment about child exploitation in third world countries yesterday that elicited no response yet it seems to be item of the day today. I can’t be ars*d repeating it but if anyone is interested its on the Geremi thread comment 71. I seem to be the only one who has said good luck to Geremi. True he wasn’t our best ever player but he wasn’t our worst either by a long way.

    What I do want to warn about is the clandestine subversion techniques being used by The Illuminati/New World Order clique, to mind control the average fan and turn them against decent hard working people such as Mike Ashley. I suspect that their dastardly plans are working. It seems that David Ickes warnings and prophecies are not being heeded.
    To safeguard yourself against the mind rays that are being projected I urge fans to use tin foil in their hats. Take no chances “The Truth is out There”

  76. I’ve just had a look at the NUST survey results, interesting that 52% say the club has been handled incompetently since we’ve been relegated considering we’re top of the league and slashed the huge wage bill which has been dragging us down.

  77. Whumpie

    “Stardust – you seem to think the sweatshop thing is still subjective, and it isn’t. They have been assessed by our government (and at European level) and there are metrics which suppliers must be measured by (e.g. age of workers, hours, conditions, education, etc.) before they can be used legally by UK companies.”

    My point being it is NOT for our governments to say how other cultures live, how they choose to generate revenue. that is the real fait accompli – when other societies live to our standards when they are already poor means they cant develop and the status quo prevails – so they start with their advantage on our society to develop – COST. You can apply the same analogy to football clubs – and contrary to popular belief there is more than 1 way to run a club or any business or anyones life for that matter.

    The corporates and lobbyists tell us otherwise – that “they” are wrong – but I like to challenge my own views objectively as the answers can often not be answered simply and are best left to the people on the ground who see, feel, live and breathe the way these things work.

    I am fundamentally against telling others how to live (well apart from NUST like lol) – that is a real free society not this forever controlled one that forms and shapes most of the western views.

  78. bowburn.
    i think you’re missing my point mate.
    We are exploited in the north, to all extents & purposes.
    But would we rather it was stopped & have nowt?
    Course it ain’t right.
    But it’s all relative & it all relates to what Stardust was saying. It depends who you ask, the question you ask, where & when.
    We’d still rather have work/cash than not feel/be exploited one jot, wouldn’t we?
    & that’s where they’ve got us.
    Stuff has got better over the last 1-200 years with the advent of unions-tolpuddle martyrs etc.
    But it’s gone full circle now, cos the media want us to dis the unions & not join. Also the unions made themselves a laughing stock & took too many liberties.
    But it’s us, the people that suffer in the end, always do, always will.

  79. As for the Ashley documentary, I didn’t see it but was he doing anything different to the majority of big sportswear companies or clothes brands out there?

    While I don’t agree with it and acknowledging that just because everyone else does it doesn’t make it right I’m hardly going to stop buying clothes to make a stand.

  80. I did watch the programme and I don’t recall ever hearing the word ‘illegal’ used when speaking about the factories used by SportsDirect. However it was late at night!

    Yes, much was made about the difference in the production costs and the sale price. Yes there were many images of huge numbers of machinists putting together SportsDirect clothing in conditions that, while may not fit the traditional image of back street sweat shops, certainly didn’t inspire you to send off a CV.

    Was the term illegal ever used?

    It’s certainly immoral and the law is not always just, particularly in the types of countries where the factories were located.

  81. The huge flaw in Stardust’s argument is simple: evolution, progress and market forces NEVER stamp our poor and unjust conditions. LAWS do. We didn’t get rid of the workhouses and mills here because they somehow evolved towards improvement over time – we got rid of them through activism and a recognition of their injustice which led to employment laws which made them illegal.

    The same will happen in those countries where we’re now indirectly exploiting workers (not bosses, note – just the workers). But it won’t happen while the likes of Ashley keep using the sweat-shops. THAT’S WHY IT’S ILLEGAL!!

  82. i dont think you can lay all the blame at mike,s door when it comes to the whole sweat shop scandal.
    can we really hold ashley responsible for the conditions in some of these factories?or is it not the fault of the people who own these firms?my understanding was ashley contracts the work out to many different companies.
    these companies could be economical with the truth,when it comes to their working conditions,and ashley probably hasn,t got time to check out every factory in reality.
    in the light of this i would expect ashley to stop dealing with the factory in question.
    to be honest though,i am sick and tired of talking about MR MICHAEL JAMES WALLACE ASHlEY.
    the whole ashley debate has been done to death,it,s like groundhog day,this football club is newcastle united,and not mike ashley united.
    lets get back to the football,and stop being defined by ashley,as far as i can see he has shown some kind of interest albeit on the cheap,but you cannot expect much else in this league.
    if we louse up our promotion campaign now,it wont be through ashley,hughton carries the can from now.

  83. I read your post big willy, i just didn’t have the time to respond then mate, sorry.
    I’ve got me tin foil on right now. :)

  84. If everyone feels so bad about the wages these poor people are being paid why does everyone buy the clothes?

    MONEY! There cheap and the reason they are cheap is because they cost 22p to make. If people feel strongly don’t buy em.

    As for the workers – It’s a job to them and £1 will go a fair way in these places otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

    I prefer Hugo Boss – Yes he designed Hitlers clothes ect but he makes good quality clothes so I couldn’t give two hoots!

  85. Clint Flick @85: yep, you’re correct. And I agree on both counts. Huge improvement in my eyes.

    So we have a crook who’s learning. Believe it or not, I see that as a big step up from last season, and better than a lot of clubs have.

    I think we’ll see at least 3 more prem clubs go under in the next 2 seasons. I also think we’ll see the whole league re-shuffled when sensible fiscal policy is finally enforced by the powers-that-be. We can be in a very good place to capitalise if we kee this up.

  86. Worky –

    “I don’t understand, Stardust. They ARE used for gain by global corporations. Most high street clothing brands have used sweatshop labour extensively. And clothing is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    But governments and large corporations need control of the manufacturing and retail sides. New controls on the manufacturing will increase GDP as it is currently too small in terms of revenue for international business to exploit – therefore the local economies benefit.

    When the manufacturing is also dictated to our standards -retail prices rise AND manufacturing profits rise, hence my reasoning to leave it to the local people to decide whats right and wrong for them. Its simply not our business to interfere in their culture and growth – and I find it rather disturbing that we think we are “all superior” and have a right to influence to do it.

  87. Whumpie man,
    no one’s saying it’s right mate.
    Save y’indignation for someone that thinks it is.
    We agree, we’re just talking about a complicated subject.

  88. Sorry whumpie,
    didn’t mean anything by my telling you to save y’indignation mate.
    I know you’re an intelligent person, just got a bit frustrated.

  89. Whumpie “The huge flaw in Stardust’s argument is simple: evolution, progress and market forces NEVER stamp our poor and unjust conditions. LAWS do”

    Just a question. Is it for another society and culture to put laws in place in another land or is it for the local culture to govern themselves?

  90. Big Willy says:
    February 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    “What I do want to warn about is the clandestine subversion techniques being used by The Illuminati/New World Order clique, to mind control the average fan and turn them against decent hard working people such as Mike Ashley. I suspect that their dastardly plans are working. It seems that David Ickes warnings and prophecies are not being heeded.”

    Big Willy, did you know that many of the NWO / Illuminati stories are just the continuation of Russian antisemitic fairytales which were used extensively by people like Josef Goebbels and Adolf Hitler to demonise Jewish people? I’m sorry, Big Willy but we don’t have any time for that rubbish on here.

    I have met David Icke a couple of times, he’s quite a few bricks short of a hod, unfortunately.

  91. Re the illegality – two things:
    1. The sweatshops aren’t necessarily illegal, and probably aren’t – that’s down to the governments in those countries.
    2. While ‘developed’ countries can’t force laws or standards upon others, there are laws which are used to exert influence. These are based on minimum standards pitched at a level which may be unacceptable here, but represent the level below which we cannot morally sanction supporting it. For example, if our maximum working week is (laughably) 45 hours in the UK, the one we set for foreign suppliers may be, say, 70 hours. Our minimum working age for factories may be 15; abroad we may insist on 11, and so on.

    If these factories meet those minimum criteria, then I don’t think there’s owt wrong with Ashley – indirectly or directly – using them.

    But the excuse about his suppliers is a lame one, used all over the place to shirk responsibility. It’s why sweatshops have been with us for decades.


    We really get some heavy debate on here, don’t we? :)

  92. Cheers for the compliments guys, it’s appreciated.

    As far as the club goes, if these proposed financial sanctions ever do make an appearance then we will be in a position to benefit.

    If we do go up then I don’t hold out much hope for a Keeganesque return to the top flight. Realistically, anything above 18th place would be a success for next season. Small steps and all that.

    Aboutthe sweatshops, I question how much Ashley has to do with fulfilling the orders. In my experience, a lot of the work is contracted out. Those that are vying for the contracts probably wont be dealing with Mike Ashley directly and are probably being economical with the truth. I’m not saying whoever supplies the contract is bare-faced lying, more the fact that when vying for a contract it has been known to with-hold a bit of info, sort of like ‘I won’t tell if you don’t ask’ kind of thing.

  93. “I am fundamentally against telling others how to live”

    That’s going into my pile of Stardustisms…

    Divn’t tell me you didn’t have your tongue firmly in your cheek when you said that?

  94. BBM – touche – lol. ;)

    Should of put the caveat – “as long as you agree with me”

  95. Whumpie says:
    February 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “2. While ‘developed’ countries can’t force laws or standards upon others,”

    I think you’ll find that they can, Whumpie, through trade regulations, bribes and military support to corrupt governments, assaninations of leaders who are ‘off message’ and all kinds of devious methods of blackmail and usury.

  96. bowburnmag says:
    February 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm
    “I am fundamentally against telling others how to live”

    That’s going into my pile of Stardustisms…

    Divn’t tell me you didn’t have your tongue firmly in your cheek when you said that?

    I think you’ll find his tongue is firmly in Mike’s cheeks…

  97. Worky, sorry mate I won’t try humour anymore if theres no time for it on this blog. I forgot that many bloggers have the IQ rating of an amoeba.

    Actually I too have met David Icke and if you are prepared to sift through the extraneous rubbish he is saying, there are many threads of common sense.
    As for anti semitism many of the makers and shakers purported to be NWO etc are Jewish.
    And I claim my right to spout as much rubbish as I want, it isn’t out of place on here.

  98. Big Willy – divn’t be gan anywhere with your humour, more than welcome here.

    Though I’m a bit thrown with all the ‘Illuminati/New World Order’ crack kicking off before 8pm. I’ve normally got an alcoholic beverage in my hand trying to stay on the level.

    And it’s all a bit deep for a Wednesday afternoon. In a good way like…

  99. Aye,
    Stardust, we all know how to turn a blind eye when it suits us.
    But so long as we are challenged & we challenge ourselves, we have a chance to change.
    Talking is better than pretending nowt’s wrong, isn’t it?
    We do tend to not like change, the older we get.
    Sad state of play that.

  100. CLint FLick, thanks mate, my ameoba comment is not aimed at you.
    Just to prove that I am not rating myself as a mensa class person.
    My son was having his usual WOW session on a computer next to me and he looked across at your name and laughed, saying thats funny. Why I asked, can’t you see it he replied. After some brow furrowing the penny dropped, nice one. :)

  101. Big willy,
    & they can’t touch you for it mate.
    Ah! the youth can always spot a thinly disguised profanity.

  102. Stardust (this is fun, by the way: The key here is in your phrase, “leave it to the local people to decide whats right and wrong for them.”

    Define “the local people”. You will find that policy is NOT made by the local people any more than it was here in the early 19th century. It’s made by the tiny minority of businessmen and the politicians who depend on their donations. Therefore, no decision is made in the interests of the majority – the workers at the machines.

    So – it is not our place to demand change; that doesn’t work. It is our place to set our standards and do what we can to encourage others to reach them. So we set what we think are reasonable standards for ANY country to reach, and impose our economic strength to help bring it about by making it illegal for OUR companies to support the sweatshops.

    The theory is that the lure of the British Pound (combined with all the other ‘developed’ countries) will eventually give them the business case to up their standards to ours. So yes, these countries do evolve – but only if we all play by the rules. If Ashley and others don’t we are all responsible for prolonging the problem.

    The tinfoil doesn’t work, by the way. In the words of the great philosopher Steven Tyler: Does the noise in my head bother you?

  103. I changed my mind here is the comment from the other day, it seems more appropriate for this thread.

    Child labour isn’t nice, but on the other hand it’s sometimes the only way some familys can exist in third world countries. The real fault is with the political system that turns a blind eye to this abuse.
    If 10% of every countries war budget worldwide was spent on relieving poverty then there would be no need for this sort of exploitation.
    Ordinary people such as ourselves are as much to blame as Ashley for wanting cheap goods, be carefull where you throw stones, we are all guilty!!

    Oh and good bye and good luck Mr Geremi you weren’t the worst player we have ever had.

  104. Whumpie “It is our place to set our standards and do what we can to encourage others to reach them. So we set what we think are reasonable standards for ANY country to reach, and impose our economic strength to help bring it about by making it illegal for OUR companies to support the sweatshops.”

    Sorry fella but I find that whole paragraph deeply disturbing. What right have you to decry some other cultures way of living as beneath your own? They have the right to live as they do.

    As for “Define “the local people”. You will find that policy is NOT made by the local people any more than it was here in the early 19th century. It’s made by the tiny minority of businessmen and the politicians who depend on their donations. Therefore, no decision is made in the interests of the majority – the workers at the machines”

    One of the fundamentals of western governments is democracy (though that in itself is another mechanism to be easily manipulated) – so you can not cry for democratic society AND say the “people on the ground in these regions dont know what they want for their own culture” i.e. we the west know best – hardly democratic is it.

  105. Whumpie – to be honest that’s pretty much bang-on my own views, though thankfully I’m able to selfishly piggyback your posts cos I’m flat out. Not that I’d have put it quite as well…

    Big Willy – took me a few times on Ed’s blog before I saw it too. Though CLiNT has move into uppercase since his days on .com.

  106. Stardust – give ower. He’s talking about oppression from amoral governments. Not ‘the west’!

  107. The difference between a consumer and someone like Ashley is that we’re largely at the mercy of the corporate monsters. Unless we spent our waking hours demonstrating and lobbying. Someone like Ashley is directly and willfully taking advantage of a situation.

    I just think there is a big difference.

    Though it doesn’t make me feel any better sitting home in my sweatpants (pardon the pun), knowing some poor little fcuker was getting badly treated and poorly paid to make them and that I bought them without too much fuss.

  108. bowburnmag says:
    February 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    “Stardust – give ower. He’s talking about oppression from amoral governments. Not ‘the west’!”

    Bowburn, if you knew more about it, you would realise that the two are actually the same thing.

  109. Actually, I believe I read somewhere that if only 1% of the worlds war budget was spent on relieving poverty, it would be enough to do the job.

  110. “The NUST are a cancer at the heart of our club – their agenda is now to drive Ashley out of the club just as the future looks bright. Their every utterance is an embarrassment to everyone.”

    Well said Stardust. Cant we come up with a “NUST OUT” song?

  111. There really are some condescending people on this blog!

    On another topic I see Chris Hughton has the enviable title of –

    ‘Longest serving manager under the Mike Ashley regime.’

    A MASSIVE 32 games has been enough to win the coveted prize.

    His prize is his wages at the end of the month.

  112. If we came up with a NUST out song, I’d probably sack it off.

    worky – I may not be as learned as your good self but I do appreciate the close links. Either way, my point being, people like Ashley ride on the back of it. Is that wrong?

  113. bowburnmag says:
    February 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    “Either way, my point being, people like Ashley ride on the back of it.”

    So do we. We point the finger at others, but most of us are complicit ourselves too when we buy goods that made in the most appalling conditions. If we say we have no choice, Ashley could also say exactly the same thing.

  114. So long as we’ve got capitalism, we’ll have exploitation & wage slavery.
    It’s what a market economy is based on.

  115. Stuart79 says:
    February 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    “‘Longest serving manager under the Mike Ashley regime.’

    A MASSIVE 32 games has been enough to win the coveted prize.”

    Hmmm, that’s interesting, Stuart, now you’ve brought it up. I may write something about that later on.

  116. For people who were only too willing to conform to the ‘media’s masses’ initially, i’m glad to see that people are now starting to accept Ashley’s forward thinking, sensible and viable plan for the club. It’s taken a long and painful journey, but finally we could be turning it around.

  117. I didn’t actually see the Ashley hatchet job, but as the majority on here would like to see the sweat shop guys better off let’s pay them £7 an hour, seem fair? o.k add to that production costs, admin fees, shipping costs, importation fees, duty, haulage and then actually buying and running/staffing a shop. O.k so after all that little Jonny needs some new trainers and a football strip. It’s off to sports direct and £500 later little Johnny has his trainers and new strip. As you are sitting reading this what are you wearing? (no batty please) where were the clothes manufactured and who made them, unless you are wearing an 18th century hessian sack the most likely answer is some Asian country, most likely China. Ashley isn’t the only guy into this, pretty much every shop in the U.K sell Asian made products but with a maybe trendy European or American name tag. Most folk I know like a bargain, but unfortunately we can’t have it all ways…..

  118. worky – we seem to have gotten away from the salient facts…

    It’s wrong.

    I thought we were in agreement until you seemed to suggest I’m not informed enough.

    I wouldn’t try to defend my actions, I merely pointed out that Stardust was wrong to suggest it was acceptable for Ashley to do it and implicitly for all of us to do that.

  119. worky,the communists you speak of are running COMMON PURPOSE,DEMOS THINK TANK.all these things are run by fiona middleton and the rest of the cultural marxists,who have sold this nations sovreignty down the river.
    i used to think conspiracy theories were for so called nuts,but there is too much going on,to ignore it completley.

  120. Not again, do you people enjoy raking over stuff thats been done a hundred or more times.
    Done it my self at least fifty and been accused of repeating myself, quite true actually.
    It should be obvious to all there will be no rapprochment between owner and possibly a majority of fans, in which case we can assume the club is for sale , has been for sale and will be for sale, to anyone who meets the sellers price.
    One does`nt have to be Sherlock holmes to figure this stuff out.
    The rush of blood to the head and subsiquent spending spree, is about not gambling on promotion which will bring both a better price and probably a better opportunity to unload the club.
    Yeah it was an adventure for Ashley, gained a certain noteriety, however cant be much fun anymore, ergo come up with enogh dosh and it`s yours.
    Now on saying that, have to add Mike Ashley original Ignorance may in fact have saved this club from bankrupcy and on a personal level I feel no animosity to-wards the guy.
    On the other hand he has`nt exactly been the most knowledgeable about the game and both he and Llambias are not going anywhere as an upper management pair.
    So it`s promotion and sell , the best solution hopefully for both ashley and the fans.

  121. At Big Willy #128: it is true. You can only comment on the NUST site if you sign up as a member which costs a fiver. So much for representing all NUFC fans…

  122. TROJAN 69 says:
    February 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    “worky,the communists you speak of”

    I haven’t spoken or written of any “Communists” today, Trojan. I think you must have me confused with someone else.

  123. Well, if any other footie fans read the extent of this debate, and the tangents it has gone too, I think it will dispell the myth of us just being ‘thick geordie barstewards’ :D

  124. Trojan 69, cheers mate, I must admit Iv’e never considered myself a nut.

    David Icke rules OK. ;)

  125. Just out of curiosity Has the 100 million pound ‘Loan’ that MA gave Newcastle United been wiped out??

    It was my understanding that this ‘Loan’ was still outstanding and if thats the case although we aren’t in as much trouble as Liverpool and Man Utd we still have a sizable chunk of Debt!!

  126. Maverick – Director Loans dont work like a loan owed to a bank. Thats why they are allowed in law and a Director undertakes to support the venture (as if the club was insolvent it would need to go into administration)

    The most likely course of action is that the loan remains on the books to be either 1 – repaid with zero capital gains on sale of the club or if he retains the club 2 – he may well convert the loan to equity (shares) thereby writing the debt off but increasing the share value of the club.

    But it isnt anything to worry about – we are in the same boat as Chelsea – Not Liverpool or Man U.

  127. I see that the youth team are playing west ham away and as i was reading the match report i read an alarming fact . They are playing in a 4-5-1 formation .Wonder if Hughton is telling all the coaches at every level of the club that they should be playing in that formation .

  128. Big Dave says:
    February 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm
    Batty @ 158 lol now you mention it Hows the big Lad doing bud
    <<<< thanks for asking dave he,s doing fine ta winning abit of cash at poker lol

  129. Oh well, down to a 3 point gap, but now we have a game in hand on both West Brom and Forest.

  130. Great article i say too……
    Don`t know if i feel he should sell or not.
    If he hadn`t taken over it is sure that NUFC would be looking like Pompey or even worse,such was the mess left by the Loonies before him.
    I hate what he did to the Toon last year but think we will be a better club if and when we go up again.
    Would love it if we(the Fans)could buy the club and do a BARCA thang but it is to be seen if that will ever happen.
    Hope we can add some quality when we go up.
    Would be a disaster to be sittin where pompey are.

  131. TGS,
    i guess ‘bob matthews’ has learned ’em well.
    Contrary to popular belief, they played much nicer football under Mowbray, with a lot less whining, rolling & twisting.

  132. Just seen the how the poll is going, 64-36. So relatively split then.

    Reet, need to get some work done! :(

  133. just hope on friday we we start with a attacking mind,not a defensive one CH,tatics are a real worry to me

  134. icedog says:
    February 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    “just hope on friday we we start with a attacking mind,not a defensive one CH,tatics are a real worry to me”

    It will probably be a 4-4-2 for a home game, icedog.

    On the 4-4-1-1 / 4-5-1 thing and being “defensive”, it isn’t as simple as that. Many great teams, especially on the mainland of Europe use this formation to play some very attacking football, and often, teams will alternate between a 4-5-1 and a much more attacking 4-3-3 throughout the game, depending on who has possession of the ball. Only a few days ago, I was watching Mancini’s Man City employing exactly the same tactics as Hughton, and they aren’t called boring and defensive.

    The problem is that to turn this system quickly into attack, you need some fast midfielders with very good technical abilty, and the likes of Nolan, Butt and Smith, though they have their merits, don’t really fit entirely into that mould.

  135. I know Barton is not the most popular man on Tynside (second to Mike Ashley) but he would be better suited to the formation Chris Hughton tends to use. He can get around the pitch better and has the ability to pick a pass in the final third. It all depends on him though. If gets his head down he could be a very important player throughout the run in. Guthrie is probably capable of that aswell. I would like to see one of Nolan or Smith dropped to see how it works out.

  136. When we play 451 in the run in we need both guthrie and a fully fit Barton in cm with smith as the dm and jonas , routlidge out wide . Otherwise , as we have already seen our midfield will continue to chase shadows against any side with a bit of pace . imo routlidge , jonas and a fit barton will be the deciding factor in winning promotion or missing out . If we play those 3 then i think we will start to out play all the teams in this division . If we dont then its long ball tactics untill the last day of the season and teams have us already worked out before a ball has been kicked .

  137. Worky,

    You’ve just explained why the formation is defensive when we play it.

    Our midfielders are just far too slow – Jimmy Cranky could run past these lot.

    We need to play 4-4-2 now as we have two wingers and they won’t keep coming inside and narrowing the whole pitch like Guthrie does or Barton does when he plays there.

    I would play Nolan and Guthrie in the middle at home and possibly bring in Smith for some away games for one of them.

    When Barton comes back Hughton is going to have some big decisions to make. Hope he doesn’t stick him out wide again.

  138. stuart79, i think nolan and smith arent as affective anymore as nolan just doesnt have enough pace to compliment the defensive work of smith and take advantage by making the runs forward. better to pair guthrie and nolan and barton with smith, mixing experience with a bit more pace and drive.