Thanks to this amazing Twitter account, data has revealed to what extent some Premier League owners have pacified their clubs. It’s obviously topical at present given the fallout from the recently deceased European Super League, raucous protests at stadiums and swarms of digitalised angst and fume on social media. But let’s focus on Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.
To summarise the figures, from 2010-2020 Newcastle ranked lowest on capital expenditure in the league – that’s investment into the training ground, stadium, and whatnot – spending a measly £7million. For context, Brighton spent £175million in that period despite being in the Premier League for three of those seasons compared to Newcastle’s nine.
The stadium is falling apart, those infamous pictures of paddling pools haunt Google archives, and the changing rooms are in dire need of refurbishment – this is about the neglect of a club, without taking into consideration Ashley’s lukewarm transfer expenditure.
Meanwhile, the total amount Ashley has put into the club out of his own pocket over the course of the last decade is zero, again making Newcastle bottom on that front as well. It makes you wonder why Ashley is given so much backing by broadcast pundits and former players for putting his hand in his pocket during the transfer window, when in fact, he has provided the club with no money during this period.
No doubt the club will not spend much money on new players in the summer… once again. Players bursting with talent, such as Matty Longstaff, will be either be kept fenced in on the bench red-faced or sold to other clubs where they will thrive, similar to the stories of Adam Armstrong at Blackburn Rovers or Ivan Toney at Brentford, both of whom are doing extremely well in the Championship. Clubs like Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton and Leeds United will continue to thrive at the behest of their owners, while Newcastle will remain stagnant.
The fans’ biggest gripe is that the ride is becoming monotonous and turgid – and even in victory the extent of ecstasy is contained owing to the fact survival is the absolute highest calibre of achievement each season. There’s such a preoccupation with it that cup runs are largely ignored or played terribly.
The rumblings of a takeover will roll on in the background as it’s done for the past year or so, agonisingly hanging over the club at an unattainable length. This is the Newcastle way for now, under Bruce and under Ashley – and even in the supposed good times, it’s really not that fun a ride for supporters.
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