Is Mike Ashley Using Dark Arts To Manage Newcastle United & Rangers?


Mike Ashley has sent five young players up to Glasgow from Newcastle. It’s hardly surprising given that he owns Newcastle United and has a stake in Rangers.

But that 8% stake in Gers shouldn’t really allow Ashley to exert so much influence in the Govan sides boardroom. The fact he has two old pals like Derek Llambias and Barry Leach on the board show that he has a strong grip around the Ibrox clubs business affairs. Let’s not forget his commercial contracts involving Rangers and Sports Direct either.

The Sports Direct owner has also made three loans to the club, in this season alone, just to keep the company up and running, also shows he’s taking his stake in Rangers very seriously.

Those financial loans, more than the player loan deals, will worry Newcastle United fans.

This month the ‘Magpies’ have effectively sold manager Alan Pardew for a fee thought to be between £2m – £4m to Crystal Palace. In return they have decided to keep current employee John Carver on as there caretaker boss.

Newcastle Utd have also let Davide Santon leave St James Park on loan to Inter Milan and the Toon Army have seen at least £5.2m come in through the sale of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to Roma.

These deals have seen money taken off the wage bill and cash put into the transfer coffers, yet Newcastle haven’t forayed into the transfer market or made any serious moves for a new manager.

That sees the fans question Ashley’s motives and people asking whether or not Newcastle’s transfer dealings this window have only gone to Rangers in the form of Mike’s £10m loan.

When you look at that loan, £3m of it goes straight to Ashley as it pays back his previous loan. The rest of that £7m could have been covered by the Toon’s transfer business this January, just in terms of the numbers adding up.


Newcastle United fans are continually unhappy with Ashley and how he runs their club. They don’t want mid-table mediocracy, they want to see the club challenge for trophies and they need new faces in the squad to do that. While Ashley seems happy to sit back and see the TV and sponsorship money come in every August without real reinvestment in the club.

The moves that see Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Remie Streete, Haris Vuckic and Kevin Mbabu arrive at Ibrox will actually make sense for all involved.

Although Rangers fans might not like the idea of being a feeder club for anyone, the cup semi-final performance the team produced against Celtic proved that the Gers squad needs fresh faces and in most departments too. I don’t know much about Streete or Mbabu but I have seen Ferguson, Bigirimana and Vuckic in person and they look talented. Hopefully the current Rangers management team don’t misuse these players and give them game time and play them in their best positions.

For Newcastle its good if they can get these players experience playing for a big club even if it’s in the Scottish Championship. It will allow the club to have another look at them and decide if they can really make it in the EPL.

Obviously it will be a positive move for the players if they can get more minutes on a football pitch and get confidence from playing at regularly.

Others in Scotland will be unhappy that the Glasgow side and Ashley have been extremely cute with this partnership. I’ve heard that at least one club has already made a complaint to the SFA about these dealings. But its hard to see what Scotland’s governing body can do. By allowing Ashley to have a stake (even if it’s small) allows the teams to have an understandable link-up. The fact it’s moves involving crossing the boarder the SFA can’t block the loans as it’s within FIFA rules. Plus didn’t Hearts and Kaunas have a similar tie-up only a few seasons ago?

The loan deals are just a big two finger salute from Mike Ashley to Rangers fans, Newcastle supporters, boardroom opponents and the SFA.

Basically he’ll run things his way and if that means not really spending cash or loaning players between the clubs that he has an interest in, then so be it.

It’s just a shame that these two well supported and loved clubs are now linked by a ruthless business man whose only ambition is too make money from football and not to entertain or to embrace both clubs communities.

6 Responses to “Is Mike Ashley Using Dark Arts To Manage Newcastle United & Rangers?”

  1. Rangers drew Ashley’s attention not money away from Newcastle this window. Last January we lost our best player without signing a replacement, the year before we lost our most effective player and only brought forward deals for Debuchy, Haidara, Gouffran and Yanga M’Biwa because of the risk of going down.

    What will Rangers get from Ashley? Zero communication for starters. What you do hear will come through Llambias. On the other hand, he only gets money and exposure for Sports Direct from the club once they’re back in the Champions League. There’ll be enough investment for that, which is an improvement on what they have now.

    If football were really only a business, Ashley’s model would genuinely be something to aspire to.

  2. as a Newcastle fan who attends every away match it kills me not to attend home games but I will not give Cashley any of my money.

    this man is purely and simply looking after his investments
    and the aim is probably for rangers to be promoted via the play offs and then players who would have left Newcastle for low fees in bigi, vukij and fegussons case will be bought by rangers, with Ashley lending himself the money to do it,

    It will give him a chance to increase his stake by in rangers by increasing the amount that’s owed to him, followed by a shares issue with debt transferred into shares and lo and behold guess who the biggest shareholder will be at the end of it.

    Beware of this man he hates football and fans and cares only about money, he will not speak to you nor care a jot about what you think,

    our only hope is that he is preparing us for a sale with a low wage bill, small squad not tied into large contracts and no manager and that he takes Rangers over

    its a bit like passing a loanshark debt on to someone else you need them off your back but its scant reward to know they will be continuing their trade elsewhere

    this man should not pass the fit and proper test, he will be quite happy for you to be behind celtic every year as long as the money keeps coming in

    Ashley out

  3. Loaned Rangers £10M, that’s a laugh. He took his first £3M back.
    Then when the shops were mismanaged to a tune of £1.61M, Rangers with 51% of Rangers Retail Ltd lost £800k but as part of the loan Ashley got HIS £800k AND SO IT BECAME £1.2M.

    Before the next £5M becomes available, Rangers with Lambias and Leech already on the board, have to perform due diligence to get it. Also as part of the deal the “floating charge” gives Ashley the keys to three properties and the right to appoint HIS administrator.

    So, come the EGM if he board go, Ashley will still have another 2 on the board using the threat of demanding the full loan back, with penalties and can dictate terms using the threat of administration where he can walk away with the club.
    OR, he could refuse the second £5M and apply for a winding up order.

    It’s worth pointing out that due to Ashley’s lucrative retail deal, Rangers have lost millions. £10M perhaps plus a fan boycott.

    Does this all sound familiar to the Newcastle fans ?

    What can we we do, continue the boycott of Rangers Sports Direct. Win the EGM and sack the board and fight Ashley in court over the contracts.

    What can Newcastle fans do. Well look for a buyer to buy the club. To pay the debt. They will also have to fund the club for five years as Ashley will tie up the finances with a Sports Direct retail and sponsorship deal.

    Good luck with that.

  4. fingers crossed William,

    nothing for our two clubs until this leech leaves us,

    I did mean loaned in the literal way in the same way our club accounts still show a 110 million loan from mike Ashley long since paid back with transfer fees and profits and revenues such as that little bit of sky money

    likewise all our retail goes through him, the grounds a hoarding for him,

    so when is a 10 million loan not a loan , when its a mike Ashley loan

    everything he does is to strengthen his position as a retailer, the football clubs are just shops and adverts for him,

    we’ve both along road ahead of us im afraid and celtic and 5under1and must be laughing their heads off, as for most other clubs fans they feel sorry for us,

    laughed at or feel sorry for what a pitiful state for Newcastle and rangers to be in eh

    all the best in William, keep protesting for what it will do !

  5. Good article but has Ashley not recently sold a stake-hold in Sports direct freeing up £117 million or so.

    This would mean any monies coming into NUFC are not going elsewhere like Rangers as the guy has enough spare change about to play with two footballs.

    It also has to be said that it’s not other clubs making complaints to the SFA it’s the so called Rangers fan groups . Which is bewildering considering how much Rangers fans hate the SFA .

  6. Just a quick question I very much like yourself an against Ashley anywhere near my club

    So my question is do you NUFC fans also have idiots like Alan Parker in the comment above that can’t see past their hatred for a fans group to worry about the love of their club

    Just to sum this guy up he backs Ashley to the hilt and thinks Big Mike is in it for the love of football

    So do you have these same idiots ?

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