At any point where you think Mike Ashley can’t be more shameless in his ownership of Newcastle United, he will always prove you wrong.
Thursday bringing confirmation that the HMRC investigation into Newcastle United has ended, an investigation that spectacularly made headlines on 26 April 2017 when Lee Charnley was arrested and the offices at St James Park and the training ground raided.
A club statement on Thursday reading: “HMRC has today given formal confirmation that it is discontinuing the four year long criminal investigation into the tax treatment of agents/players payments involving Newcastle United Football Club.”
Mike Ashley then quoted:
“After four years of the club being subjected to this investigation, I am pleased that the criminal investigation has now been discontinued.
“It is now time for the dark forces that are preventing this football club from becoming the power house that the fans deserve, to step aside.”
He actually makes me laugh when he does stuff like this, Mike Ashley and his PR people have no absolute lowest level they will sink to when it comes to distorting the truth and claiming to be the good guys.
Of course, what you always have to remember with ridiculous statements like this, is that it isn’t aimed at, or for the benefit of, Newcastle fans. These outrageous claims are aimed at neutrals, enemies (of the Newcastle fans) and the media, to be repeated time after time by journalists and never challenged as to the integrity of them.
So after 14 years of perfectly playing Voldemort, Mike Ashley looks in the mirror and suddenly claims to be Harry Potter, our hero fighting the ‘dark forces’ that have conspired against our football club. It would need Ashley / Potter to put some powerful forgetting spell on all Newcastle supporters, for us to forget all the ‘dark forces’ Mike Ashley has lined up against us since taking over in 2007.
From a total lack of ambition when it comes to anything other than survival, the club used as simply a massive free / next to free advert for his retail empire, renaming St James Park as the SD Arena (and nothing paid to NUFC for the privilege), treatment of Kevin Keegan, treatment of Alan Shearer, treatment of cancer sufferer Jonas Gutierrez…and so on.
In fighting the ‘Dark Forces’ on our behalf now, I can see Lee Charnley with a ginger wig in the Ron Weasley role assisting our wizarding hero Mike Ashley / Harry Potter. However, my stomach suddenly feels a little queasy at the thought of Steve Bruce in a schoolgirl outfit playing Hermione Granger.
The truth of course is, that Mike Ashley only ever does anything to benefit himself.
So anything he did that ended up bringing a cheer from Newcastle fans would be purely coincidental, such as Mike Ashley selling NUFC and walking away with £300m+ jammed in his back pocket, meaning the supporters would at last have new owners and new hope.
As we await with interest to see what marvellous things Mike Ashley can achieve next on our behalf against the ‘dark forces’, an interesting addition to the story from Sky Sports News.
They report that they’ve been told that the HMRC criminal investigation into West Ham has also been brought to an end.
However, Sky Sports News also said, they asked HMRC if they could confirm their inquiries into West Ham and Newcastle were at an end, only for an HMRC spokesman to tell them:
“We do not comment on specific individuals or businesses, but in general terms it would be wrong to assume that the end of a criminal investigation means the end of our work.
“We have a raft of civil powers that we can deploy, including penalties of up to 200 per cent of the tax due, along with interest and payment of the disputed tax in full.
“We take all reports of suspected tax evasion extremely seriously and we thoroughly analyse and investigate them.
“We’re clear that everyone must pay what they owe under the law – regardless of their wealth or status.
“The department’s work in the football industry is a demonstration of this ongoing effort and we look forward to continued co-operation with clubs and players throughout 2021.”
As they say, HMRC can’t comment on individual cases, but the possibility remains of fines that could still potentially come the way of Newcastle United, despite the threat of a criminal case coming to an end.