Mike Ashley Misunderstood?
Football fans have opinions,we at Newcastle United are no different but With followers going into the hundreds of thousands, our opinion will vary greater than most clubs although generally we agree on most things.
However the ownership of Newcastle United is a major talking point in our lives and has stretched the emotion of the every day fan to limits not known to them before..
In traditional ToTT fashion, we'll try to analyze the scenario from a different aspect and maybe see if Mike Ashley is getting a rough ride from the fans..
The different aspect that im talking about is a bit like a host on a radio phone in, who has to be impartial and try to see both sides of the story..
Anyway, Mike Ashley came, as we know in May 2007 and the first year or so was largely positive before stories emanated in the press of Kevin Keegan's displeasure of transfer funds not matching his ambition.
What we didn't know at the time was that the club was in a bigger financial state than we thought and Ashley hadn't done due diligence. This financial strain led to the club selling James Milner with Charles N'Zogbia and Shay Given following soon after. Reasons for their departures were given but the club sold them regardless.
Players were bought and sold after this period with a strategy of buying young, fattening them up before selling them on at profit. A really good business idea in theory but in football terms, we get attached and things like team work or bonding is taken out of the equation which can cause cracks to appear in any foundation. As a result of the new found negative atmosphere of what was going on at our club,we found ourselves embroiled in a relegation battle, we didn't have the tools or know how to get out of. The consequences resulted in finances to be strained once more with a restructuring plan being enforced to save the club from serious financial dangers.
Many more players were sold which loosened the noose which the bank manager had tied and the club bounced back. Many more baffling decisions followed including giving a club legend an 8 game contract before leaving him in limbo, leaving the supporters wondering or worrying all summer long about false rumours of takeovers and no manager, employing a coach to be manager, who then did a brilliant job before replacing him with someone of equal ability with premier league points won given in proof that the replacement was no better as well as selling the club's top striker to a rival club and not signing a replacement plus contract talks breaking down with 2 of our most experienced and best players with a third more than likely going to be sold in the near future.
Now, we could provide a list as long as your arm with things that look bad from the outside (and they do look bad) but from the Mike Ashley point of view, he has bought the club plus spent a considerable amount on various things here with an apparent outlay of something like £260 million, yes he has recouped a massive amount back into the club of where that is im not sure but he has put his hand in his pocket.
He is a very private man, who has employed 2 chairman in his time here, the first was Chris Mort, who came across as a good bloke and he spoke to the media often, explaining what has and what was going to happen.
The second chairman was Derek Llambias who is the exact opposite. I can count on my hand the amount of times ive seen him speak to the media. A club this size shouldn't ignore its customers and that's what he's done since he's been here with negative events matching his dour personality. He has the persona of a window salesman with an aura of someone who would take your last quid like a bully takes a little child's sweets. If this is the feeling normal supporters get then god knows how agents or players feel when face to face.
Have we misunderstood Mike Ashley? Is he the real villain here? Is he a victim of being overworked and not paying too much attention to us? or is his life being run by other people who's decisions he trusts?
I put it to the masses that Mike Ashley is a shy man, who wants to enjoy the ownership of a successful football club but he has a problem with trust caused by an ex wife gaining a substantial sum of cash in the form of a settlement (£50 million). The everyday running of a football club involves many aspects which include stresses which a billionaire either can't be bothered to indulge in or doesn't want to.
Mike's closest allies are involved now and he 'trusts' them but he needs to look at the bigger picture of these people ruining his reputation and his chance to make money beyond his wildest dreams. This also includes the football agents and other 'hangers on' who will do anything to drain that extra revenue away from the right areas.
I propose that Ashley gets rid of Derek Llambias and installs a proper chairman or someone with very good experience here in order to maximize the potential that there is in the club. A united Newcastle with everyone singing off the same hymn sheet would be a major force in, not just British football but European also and its a chance that has to be taken before it's too late.