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The Myth of Mike Ashley’s Financial Competence Part 2

In my previous post I looked at how Mike Ashley’s financial performance compares to the previous regime at Newcastle.

Since posting it some Twitterers have taken me to task for being unfair.  Ashley has had to deal with a global economic downturn they said.  Large businesses have less money to throw around on advertising, on sponsorship, on executive boxes and the like.  Matchgoers are pinching ever penny, especially the further North you go.  Another excuse offered is that we were on a downward spiral as it was, relegation, despite being Ashley’s fault must be taken into account when you look at Newcastle’s bouncebackability.

To see if that’s true i have compared the Non-TV revenues at all of the other Premier league clubs who have been in the top flight as frequently as Newcastle since Ashley arrived.  Other relegated clubs are included if they also spent just one year in the Championship.

What you can see is that Commercial Income has risen at every single club.

The big guns have obviously benefited most from the increasing global appeal of the Premier League.  Manchester City have increased commercial income 537%, largely off the back of a deal where their owner’s other company actually pays to be associated with the club, Imagine that. An owner that altruistic isn’t a pre-requisite to increasing commercial income though.  Liverpool (125%), Man U (110%), Arsenal (26%), Chelsea (20%) and Tottenham (9%) have all seen significant growth since 2007.

It’s not only the top clubs that have reaped rewards though.  Aston Villa (114%), Sunderland (81%), Everton (59%), Fulham (59%) and West Ham (21%) have all grown their own commercial operations since 2007 as well, irrespective of geography or relegation.

On average these other clubs have added £24.5m of commercial income to their businesses.

Newcaste United therefore stand alone in this group as the only club to be performing worse than they were 7 years ago.  The £10m reduction overseen by Mike Ashley equating to a 38% drop from the £27m we earned at that time.

Matchday growth is less pronounced across the league. But it does follow the same trend.  All clubs have struggled to grow this area significantly, but almost all have managed it to some extent.

Fulham adding almost 70% is the biggest increase, but even at non-London clubs without a tourist fanbase growth can be seen, Aston Villa adding 59% and Sunderland 57%.

Only one club other than Newcastle saw a drop in this period.  Everton losing £0.3m since 2007.  Newcastle’s drop off has been much more pronounced than Everton.  We have lost 17% of matchday income, even with the 7 additional games we played in the Europa league last season.

Here’s what these combined totals mean to overall Non-TV income since 2007.

Mike Ashley and his executives have sole responsibility for maximising these areas of income at Newcastle.  Profits have been trumpeted as evidence of the good work the owner is doing, but it is clear that all the good news comes from increased TV revenue which every club and owner benefits from and from the excellent work done by the scouting (and coaching?) teams that have turned a profit on player recruitment.  It’s therefore unfortunate that the chief scout has not been backed with the purchase of any other players that the owner is willing to pay for in 18 months between January 2013 and this summer.  It also adds confusion as to why the manager is being left to manage with a threadbare squad if he’s shown he can improve their value.
A Compendium of Contradictions from Mike Ashley

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