Revealed: How a phone call between Mike Ashley and Jamaal Lascelles ended Newcastle’s bonus dispute

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley

Newcastle United’s bonus dispute was settled by a phone call between Mike Ashley and Jamaal Lascelles.

The club’s players had been unhappy with the Premier League bonus scheme offered by the club.

Newcastle had offered the squad a pot of £1million for finishing 17th.

United’s players, however, wanted a bonus sheet more in line with those signed off at rival clubs.

The behind-the-scenes row was threatening to impact dressing room morale at the club, and Ashley and captain Lascelles – who scored Newcastle’s winning goal against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday – spoke late last week.

And the new bonus structure, which will see the squad share a pot of £4million if the club finishes a place above the relegation zone, has now been agreed.

The bonus will rise by £1million per place.

Ashley also offered the squad a £20million bonus for winning the FA Cup.

Newcastle last won the competition in 1955 and the club has a dismal record in cups under Ashley’s ownership.

And the resolution of the league bonus scheme is of more significance to the squad.

Last season, each league position was worth £1.9million in prize money alone.

Watford earned £7.6million for finishing 17th, while champions Chelsea banked £38million in merit-based money.

Basement club Sunderland pocketed £1.9million.

Lascelles and his squad are understood to be happy that the matter has been settled, as is United manager Rafa Benitez, who returned to Tyneside this week after recovering from surgery earlier this month.

Benitez missed the game against Swansea as he recuperated at his family home on Merseyside.

The 57-year-old was back at the club yesterday, though the players were on a day off.

Newcastle’s squad returned to training today ahead of Saturday’s league home game against Stoke City.