"I'd like to start with people in the North East because there are some great people who come to our matches who sit in the corporate areas, and wouldn’t it be great to have local backing for what we are doing? Some of them would talk to me last season and say, "Mike, is there an opportunity for us to come into the club again because we were shareholders in the plc previously?" I'd tell them we'd look at it at the end of the season as there was no rush but why wouldn't I welcome people who wanted to invest?"It might just have been salesman’s patter, but he clearly states that there have been people asking him if they can give him some of their money, and that he refused them. Or at least refused to take their money at that time.
One month later, having started the plan of selling our most valuable players (with the exit of Milner) and not replacing them, Ashley justified the set-up as follows.
“I am Mike Ashley, not Mike Ashley a multi-billionaire with unlimited resources. Newcastle United and I can't do what other clubs can. We can't afford it.”So what happened to those people who’d been asking to invest in the club?
- They didn’t exist in the first place and he's a liar.
- They did exist but Big Mike is looking to be the sole profiteer from the club. In which case he was lying about wanting others to invest.
- They did exist and Mike has since gone back to them cap in hand only to be told they’re no longer interested (who could blame them?). In which case you have to wonder about his claim that there was "no rush".
Summer 2017 Update
This summer there has been much publicity about Chinese investment. 8 or more years after the claims above I still place as little stock in the idea that Ashley wants partners. I wrote this article for true faith explaining why.