Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has slammed Mike Ashley after Newcastle United released their 2019/20 accounts.
Newcastle were the final Premier League club to publish their figures for the first pandemic-hit season. Maguire has crunched the numbers, and they show a total spend of £216m on the 2019/20 squad. That’s lower than Watford and Bournemouth, who were both relegated.
Newcastle went on to spend £35.1m ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, with Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis the headline arrivals. They have yet to make a signing this summer, although they may be close to ending that famine after a fee was agreed for Joe Willock.
Maguire told The Athletic that it was ‘ridiculous’ that two relegated teams had spent more on their squad than the Magpies.
He opined: “For Newcastle to have a lower spend than Watford and Bournemouth is ridiculous. As a neutral, I’d expect Newcastle to spend a similar amount to West Ham, Everton and Leicester. But they’re nowhere near them.
“It is just indicative of what Ashley does. He really only spends a significant amount one in every three years and, unfortunately, this is not one of those years.”
Maguire continued: “It is frustrating for supporters. But Ashley looks at it this way: ‘If you were selling your house, would you do up the kitchen first?”
The figures underline the difficult position in which successive Newcastle managers have been placed. It’s easy to understand why a coach of Rafael Benitez’s calibre might have become frustrated, with a financial handbrake effectively put in place.
The squad that the Magpies have is good enough to stay in the Premier League, so Steve Bruce did deserve criticism for his side’s flirtation with the bottom three. However, he can’t really be expected to achieve much more than lower mid-table under this frugal model.
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