Mike Ashley’s ownership of Newcastle United is characterised by blunders, myths and downright lies. For a man who hardly communicates, it appears that every time he does he just can’t help lying. A selection.


Due dilligence

Shortly after completing the takeover of Newcastle United, chairman Chris Mort, who had been heavily involved in the deal as a lawyer for Mike Ashley, claimed (10 August 2007):

“We did the typical due diligence one would do on a public takeover. There is no sense that anyone has tried to mislead us.”

Source: The Independent


One year later, Mike Ashley suggested the deal was done so quickly as to not allow for due diligence. For this reason, we are led to believe, Mike Ashley could not invest the money into the squad that he had imagined he could. We know for a fact that the takeover process spanned nearly two months, so make of this denial of due diligence what you will (12 August 2008):

“We first heard about the potential sale on a Saturday and had done the deal by the Wednesday, so if you are asking if we did due diligence before buying then the answer has to be no.”

Source: The Chronicle


Threats made against Ashley’s family

Mike Ashley’s takeover turned sour very quickly, with protests against his ownership already emerging in his first full season, and the club being ‘put up for sale. In his statement at the time, he claimed that he had been advised that he, and his family, would no longer be safe at the games, like at the Hull game the day prior (14 September 2008):

“I am now a dad who can’t take his kids to a football game on a Saturday because I am advised that we would be assaulted”

Source: BBC




This suggestion was quickly denied in a statement by Northumbria Police regarding the Hull game (16 September 2008):

Northumbria Police have confirmed they issued no formal warnings to Ashley to stay away from the Hull game last weekend which was at the centre of fierce protests by fans against his regime.

“We gave no formal advice to Mr Ashley about not attending Saturday’s game,” a spokesman said. “It is not our place to do so.”

Source: The Telegraph


In fact, Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Paul Weir (match commander) praised the fans for their peaceful protests after said Hull game (13 September 2008):

“I was satisfied that the arrangements made by police to facilitate lawful protest were successful. A number of groups came to the ground to carry out their lawful protest and I would like to praise those fans for the way in which they behaved.”



Yearly investment of £20m in the club

Mike Ashley planned to put 20 million per year into the club expecting nothing in return (14 September 2008):

“I was always prepared to bank roll Newcastle up to the tune of £20 million per year but no more. That was my bargain. I would make the club solvent. I would make it a going concern. I would pour up to £20 million a year into the club and not expect anything back.”

Source: BBC


We didn’t really need Alan Pardew to inform us that this was quite obviously another lie, but he did nevertheless (25 February 2011):

“Mike wants to build something here but wants to build it in such a way it’s not costing him £10m or £15m a year of his own money.”

Source: The Sun


Ashley did not buy the club to make money

Mike Ashley claimed he only bought the club out of love for the game, not with the intent to make money (12 September 2008):

“Don’t get me wrong. I did not buy Newcastle to make money. I bought Newcastle because I love football.”

Source : BBC


The last couple of year’s financial results tell otherwise, with the club now being a highly profitable business and a free advertising platform for his company Sports Direct. As fans, we can only guess how much Mike Ashley, through his shares in Sports Direct, has profited personally from this deal, but he confirmed that the relationship to Newcastle United was ‘very beneficial’ to SD (10 September 2014):

Q: “Newcastle have said publicly, for example, that Sports Direct don’t pay for any stadium advertising or perimeter advertising at St James’ Park – and there’s obviously a lot of it – and I wonder what the benefit is to you and whether you could give a rough estimate of what it’s worth in financial terms please.”

A: “Those relationships are very beneficial to Sports Direct and its shareholders. And I think that nothing else needs to be said.”

Source: The Mirror


Communication with the fans

Mike Ashley was known to be a recluse when we first learned of his interest in buying the club, but nobody could have anticipated that he would virtually never address the fans directly. This was certainly not what he intended early on (28 December 2008):

“I am the first to accept there have been times this season when you would have liked to have heard more from me direct, particularly at certain points. There have been reasons why I have not have been able to do that, but in the new year we will look to communicate with you more about what we are doing at St. James’ Park, be it through the club’s official website, programme and magazine as well as the wider media.”





More than five years on, and we’re still waiting for Mike Ashley to communicate with the fans. We won’t hold our breath. However, plenty of journalists have been banned in the meantime in the interest of so-called open communication and free speech we can only assume. However Derek Llambias gave a very plausible explanation as to why the club communicate so little (10 September 2011):

“We don’t feel we’ve made empty promises. Sometimes in these situations it’s impossible to win. If we say nothing we are criticised. If we state our intentions and they are not realised, we are criticised.”

Source: Chronicle Q&A


Here’s a novel idea, how about you state your intentions and then realise them?



“The club admitted to the tribunal that it repeatedly and intentionally misled the press, public and the fans of Newcastle United.”

Source: Daily Mail



The selling of Andy Carroll in January of 2011 was one big lie, with numerous statements that Andy was not for sale, only for him to be sold on the last day of the transfer window without a replacement coming in. However, this particular aspect is a lesser known contradiction (lie) about how events unfolded that fateful day.


Derek Llambias claimed the club did not want to sell Carroll but were powerless to resist (2 February 2011):

“The fact is Mike Ashley didn’t want to sell him, it’s not like he needs the money is it? And remember we turned down bids of £30m and then £35m from Liverpool. That’s serious money for a 22-year-old with only six months’ experience in the Premier League. But finally Mike’s point of view was the player’s put in a transfer request, so what can we do?”

Source: The Telegraph


Manager Alan Pardew contradicted this statement a mere few days later confirming that the club wanted to sell Carroll as part of their policy (5 February 2011):

“The board made me aware they wanted to get the club on a financial footing which gives them a chance to build. Signing younger players and hoping they become successful in the Premier League is part of the policy of growing as a football club.

“Ideally you would like to keep someone like Andy Carroll, a young player who is from the area, but financially we could not keep him. I like to think I have that ambition, and in two or three years, if we can sustain our Premier League status, and keep investing the TV money wisely, we can hold off that next bid. At the moment we are not in that position and we have to accept that.”

Source: Daily Mail