Mike Ashley under fire for Newcastle United move

Simon Jordan has attacked Mike Ashley after Newcastle United furloughed staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 12:48 pm

The club, along with Tottenham Hotspur, has taken advantage of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Rentention Scheme by placing a number of employees on furlough with the Premier League suspended.

Managing director Lee Charnley informed staff – who will have 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500 paid by the Government – of the move in an email this week.

However, former Crystal Palace owner Jordan has criticised owner Ashley for United’s move on Talksport.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley, Newcastle United's managing director.

“If we can print money to furlough Newcastle United employees that Mike Ashley doesn’t want to pay, then I’m pretty sure the government can reward these people who are working in these conditions (in the NHS) by giving them more money,” said Jordan.

“Never mind gongs and never mind claps, how about give them some recognition and reward?

“I believe there is a moral issue around an industry like football that has been awash with money. I think there is a situation here where football has to look at itself and say ‘do I really, just because the government is offering its teat, have to nuzzle on that?’.

“’Do I really have to take that money, that £2,500 per employee or 80% of it, to support myself?’. I don’t think they should do it.

“I think it’s an awful look for football, and I think it’s awful Premier League footballers are being paid £250,000 to £500,000-a-week, and the government’s having to support Premier League clubs.

“There’s a balancing act between being commercially sensible about what you are doing, and not disadvantaging yourself as a business, and looking at yourself and thinking ‘am I the sport that’s eating myself?’.

“Are we suggesting football is never going to get this revenue back? If football suddenly gets these games back and we get through this dreadful crisis, how did these businesses need that money?

“I’m sat here saying ‘come on football, you can’t sit there and seriously say ‘let’s not cut the players’ wages first before we go to the government to fund our own staff’.

“Come on! There is a moral obligation here – there has to be.”