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Newcastle in black hole


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Newcastle's 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa confirmed their relegation to the Championship and at a stroke wiped an estimated £90 million off the value of a club priced at twice that nine months ago. Relegation is a sporting disaster for the city of Newcastle and the north east, but for its owner the financial implications of this car-crash season run deep.

When Ashley bought the club in May 2007 he paid around £134 million to former chairmen Sir John Hall, Freddie Shepherd and other significant shareholders, before paying off £100 million of debt laid on the club by these previous regimes.

Investment in the playing squad and the need to oil the revolving doors of the boardroom and manager's office with regular pay-offs – four managers, one director of football and two chief executives have come and gone during the Ashley years – takes his total spending to more than £250 million in two years.

Relegation means the value of that investment has plummeted just as surely as the playing staff. When Ashley put the club up for sale amid growing supporter unrest last September he was seeking around £220 million, a good return given the meltdown in the global credit markets.

Three serious candidates emerged, one of them an American willing to offer £180 million. Unfortunately for Ashley that offer evaporated when fraudster Bernie Madoff was exposed, taking the potential buyer's fortune with him.

Today, according to informed City estimates, Ashley would have to settle for no more than £90 million.

The club's future is almost entirely dependent on how much Ashley is willing to gamble on an early return to the Premier League. Persuading Alan Shearer to stay on will buy Ashley time with the supporters, but the manager will want assurances that he will be able to revamp a playing squad who were paid more than £70 million last year.

With around 12 of the 33 first-team players earning more than £50,000 per week, a fire-sale to cut costs is inevitable. Michael Owen and Mark Viduka will be first out of the door, taking £180,000 per week off the wage bill.

Whether Ashley is willing to spend good money after bad remains to be seen, with his personal fortune estimated to have slumped by around half in the last year too. The Sunday Times Rich List estimates his fortune at £700 million, still enviable, but it means his Newcastle investment no longer looks like Monopoly money.

And Newcastle not one of the 'bigger' clubs - why on earth are they paying such high wages ? - or should i say 'were they'.

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This is how much they will pay for season tickets as well for the championship.

£390 Leazes corner

£494 Gallowgate/Leazes End/Milburn Level 7 wing

£583 East Stand/Milburn Paddocks/Milburn Level 7 centre

£900+ corporate sectons

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Since the end of WW2 things like that have always been funny and for some the Hitler thing will never get tiresome.

It might be original to do something like that but with Star Wars. Re-dub it perhaps.


Though this video is genius, I love the bit where he says "I'm so angry that I'm going to throw my pencil at the map".

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