This quote proves why Newcastle United-linked billionaire 'gets it' – plus GACP Sports owner talks philosophy, finances of owning a club & appointing the 'right' people

Balance sheets, numbers and profit margins – all too often football clubs are run by owners with two eyes, not one, on making money.

Saturday, 12th October 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Saturday, 12th October 2019, 11:56 am
US businessman, president of the GACP investment fund and new owner of the Girondins de Bordeaux French L1 football club, Joseph DaGrosa (R) poses at the club's headquarters on November 7, 2018 in Le Haillan, southwestern France. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Mike Ashley is a man who runs Newcastle United frugally – he’s the epitome of footballing austerity in a world awash with TV riches.

The Sport Direct tycoon and self-proclaimed ‘saviour of the high street’ is no benefactor, preferring only to dip into his own (if diminishing) personal wealth when the people he trusts to run the football club – more often than not with little to no football logic – have run it into the ground.

Emotion, the love of a club, the family ties, the need, the want, the anticipation. The history, the beating heart of the city, the cathedral on the hill. The roots, the pride, the hope. This is not something which Ashley has ever bought into. He doesn’t get it – never has, never will.

And that’s what hurts Newcastle United fans so much.

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They have a businessman running their football club like a business – a self-serving, lifeless, shell of a business. Football is, of course, a business, but it is not like any other.

This is where Ashley’s approach has been at odds with those who truly have the football club’s future – not just the finances – at heart.

Could there be a glimmer of hope on the horizon? I think we’ve been bitten too many times in the last few years to quite call it that.

But the words of a man keen to invest in Newcastle United, if they can get more money men on board, should offer some sort of faint hope.

Speaking in a recent interview with Get French Football News, billionaire Joe DaGrosa has revealed his feelings towards the ownership of a football club. DaGrosa is chairman of Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux.

"There is an emotion in this business that does not exist in any other,” he said.

"I've been in insurance which is all about the numbers, the burger business (Burger King) and believe it or not, that's also all about the numbers.

"Then you get into sport and it's emotional. Everyone has a view and everyone likes to share their views. It's a real balancing act."

One of Ashley’s biggest errors in his early days at United – when any hope the club had of him buying into it (when he stood on the terraces and bought rounds for fans in Blu Bambu) – was employing the wrong people to the wrong roles.

Dennis Wise, Derek Llambias, Joe Kinnear – the list goes on.

This is something DaGrosa, of GACP Sports, does not take lightly.

“Getting the coaching position and head of football right has been important and also the person running the academy - our secret weapon,” he said of his running of Bordeaux.

“They are three key positions.

“We are trying to create value.

“We will accept losses over the first few years. We want to create franchise value - the way to do that is by having a good team, and a good academy system.

“Not wanting to pick on PSG, but they have a lot of money and throw it around. They have different values, different aims.

“In our case we want to build the club from the ground up, produce home-grown players and eventually keep a lot of that talent in Bordeaux.

“We have got to develop young talent, like a fine wine and wait for the right vintage. This is with a view to having a very strong squad in two, three, four years time.”

As he highlighted, he’s in a division where one club in particular – PSG – throw Emerati riches at it. It’s not too dissimilar to the Premier League really.

He may be a billionaire from the States but he very much deals in investments.

“We are caretakers of the club - it has been around a lot longer than us and will outlast us,” said DaGrosa.

“We want to deliver it to the next caretaker better than we took over.

“Our salaries have gone up considerably (at Bordeaux). It's a trade off. You can get someone free and pay them double or triple what you'd pay a £10million transfer.

“We have young talent, they will have a prominent role.

“We did not want to spend a lot of money and then have that role filled by a young player in the near future. We have to be mindful of our medium to long-term future.

“We plan to be at the club at least four years, ideally five to 10 years.”

GACP Sports Limited and Peter Kenyon formed two new companies in the USA last week.

The two new companies are called ‘GACP Newcastle Management LLP’ and ‘GACP Newcastle Partners LLP’. The former was launched on September 27, 2019 with the latter set-up on October 1, 2019.

Both companies are owned 100% by GACP Sports Partners LLC and have been registered in Delaware.

And while the formation of these two new companies does not guarantee a takeover - or even that a deal is close - it does at least prove that GACP and Peter Kenyon are taking concrete steps forward as they pursue a deal.