I recently took a subscription out to The Athletic. I’ve also resumed my subscription to When Saturday Comes after a three year hiatus brought about by my tiring of football and in particular, Newcastle United.

For all of the justifiable concerns there are about our ownership, I’m not alone in having my love of Newcastle United and football reignited by the events of the last month. I’m excited by what happens at the football club I’ve spent far too much of my life obsessing over.

But my sub to The Athletic is mainly brought on by George Caulkin’s continued employment there and how much I’ve enjoyed reading his well-informed and researched material over the years.

So, with the necessary crawling out of the way, I’d like to focus on something George published last week that I hope he and his employers will forgive me for lifting.

The piece is entitled: Newcastle’s new owners put more than £30m into the club to fund running costs (5/Nov/21) and George details how all parts of the consortium running United have made varying investments in accordance with their shareholding. Staveley- Ghodoussi via PCP have put in an additional £3.85m as has Jamie Reuben via the Reubens share with the same amount.

A total of £30m has been put in extra and that should cover around £38.5m in total.

These monies are explicitly stated as meeting running costs. They aren’t referred to for any other purpose e.g. transfers or investments in SJP, Darsley Park etc. So, by running costs, I’d expect this to refer to player wages as well as other club business – transfer instalments and all of the associated costs of keeping the lights on at a Premier League club.

This is where I start scratching my head.

The new ownership has not had the keys for Newcastle United for a whole calendar month yet but has been required to invest a massive sum of money.

Why is this?

I may be over-thinking it and misinterpreting, so this will need clarification by the club (I may be overestimating the importance Newcastle United places on these blog posts of mine – ahem), but was this investment so early in their tenure expected?

If it was not, what changed from the day the purchase was made until 5/Nov/21, when £38:5m was reported as essential to keeping the lights on at St James’ Park?

What have Staveley Ghodoussi found at the club since they have taken over? What kind of state is the Newcastle United business in?

The other question is, if the sale had not gone through and we were not in the new folks’ hands would Mike Ashley have been required to inject that liquidity into the club?

If that was the case, I think we’d all find that highly unusual as United has been posting profits in the Ashley era after four years back in the PL.

Similarly, United has a state of accounts that are highlighted as being excellent in supporting a spending spree under Financial Fair Play Rules. Recent coverage by Swiss Ramble has highlighted the rude health of Newcastle United on a balance sheet.

That does not point to a club about to hit the financial buffers.

Every independent analysis undertaken analysing the Newcastle United finances has found them to be in rude health (though we teeter on the verge of relegation and a massive financial hit if we go down) so it appears extraordinary that £38:5m is needed to cover the basics.

I cannot believe that people as smart as those now running United would not have made an adjustment in the price they have paid Ashley were they of the mind such early investment was needed simply to keep the ‘leccy on.

But if so, there has been no reference to that – £305m appears to have been the value of Newcastle United after those negotiations of last year etc.

The question is what were the final transactions made by Ashley ahead of the button being pressed on transferring ownership of Newcastle United to the consortium and have those transfers meant that an urgent injection of money is needed to keep the business going?

In short, did Ashley move money that would have been identified as running costs for United this season – from its own income – e.g. TV, ticket, merchandise etc out of Newcastle United and into his own businesses?

I have zero knowledge if that is correct or not but as a suspiciously minded soul, my spider senses cranked into life. All will be explained in the club accounts of course – covering this year – when they are published.

Then I’ll be exposed either as a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy loon or an astute judge of Mike Ashley.

It will be very difficult to garner public sympathy for the new owners of Newcastle United given their vast wealth if they have been had off by Ashley (and that is not what I’m suggesting – checks legal department nervously).

But I’ve long been convinced there will be rotten fish left under the floor-boards by the dead-eyed, sociopathic money crazed zombie who poisoned life in NE1 for 14 years.

I remain interested in what that rotten fish will take the form of but I can’t believe it is just the generously back-loaded deals that have added to Steve Bruce’s ill-earned wealth or what will inevitably go the way of Ashley’s scrote, Lee Charnley. That would be too little.

For those who think my paranoia has got the better of me (you may be right) I’d put a flag over the £30m Ashley took out of United without notice in 2018 and which buckled Rafa Benitez’s transfer plans that summer – making his departure inevitable.

I’d also flag the £4m Ashley made from selling the lease on the land on Strawberry Place and that money going into his pocket rather than Newcastle United’s. I allege no dishonesty or impropriety on his part – I do accuse him of being a stone cold greedy bastard however.

It’s hardly new news, but Mike Ashley did not give a single fuck about Newcastle United and only ever acted in his own interests.

If Ashley has raided the till on his last day at United it would not surprise me whatsoever. But I hasten to add I have no information that is the case.

Those who followed Ashley’s involvement with Rangers will know of the tumour he became as he imposed horribly onerous terms on the Glasgow giant under the merchandise deal with the Ibrox club.

If Ashley had no compunction about fucking Rangers over, he’d have less with Newcastle United given his knowledge we are a support that wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

This large injection of cash does mean however, questions should be asked to make this apparently essential amount of money available to a business that had been previously regarded as so financially healthy.

Perhaps for us of course, the question is what this means for the January transfer window.

We know our owners have more wealth than any other football club in the world. However, I don’t think they are going to have the same attitude to money as a drunken sailor on shore leave. Behind all of the supporters’ celebrations and dreams, there are people at our club following a business plan and with strategic objectives. That may not involve leaking money out of their business.

The question remains how this apparently unplanned emergency payment impacts upon what happens next.

We’ll have to wait and see with so much of what happens at Newcastle United!

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

MICHAEL MARTIN @TFMick1892