Ashley's Road To Perdition
Do they do it on purpose?
This week was always going to be slightly depressing following the unnecessary and completely avoidable scenes down the road at Darlington last Friday. To make matters worse, the club has come out and stated that 'away' game tickets will now only be sold to either Season Ticket holders, or club members.
So the actions of a few drunken, young idiots has cost the majority of supporters the opportunity to watch their team away from home? Call me cynical but far from setting an example it seems like a flawed way to make a principled stand but an impressively sneaky way to make another lot of six figures. And I'm sure it has nothing to do with Llambias' ear bashing at the same occasion. Say what you want about him, but you'll be paying for the privilege it would seem these days.
Much of the frustration on show, unjustifiable though it was, is related not so much to the frugal transfer policy, but the spin that surrounds it. The transfer window is a delicate time for most supporters, not least Newcastle fans. Made worse by recent history and compounded by the fact that Pardew has appeared as a mouthpiece for the board, to quell the tide of discontent with promises, promises.
Add to that the laughable news that three of players were unable to travel to the US for our pre-season tour due to criminal records, and you begin to wonder what qualifications you might need to get on the NUFC payroll. Who exactly is making these decisions?
And on that note, and onto the main point amongst the other nonsense, comes the 'official' announcement from the club website, that the cinder track surrounding the pitch is going to be replaced by tarmac. As a believer in tradition, it's depressing enough that something so synonymous with St James' will disappear, as once again Ashley et al clean out the decks of everything we hold dear.
However, the real fun part is the bit on the club website that references the ashes of supporters which have been scattered there in recent years. It would appear the club have not overlooked the feelings of supporters and they conveniently see it as an opportunity to 'seal in' the memories of those scattered. Another tremendously crass, unnecessary and avoidable decision but also a fundamentally tasteless communication. Once again proving beyond doubt that they are bottom of the PR leagues.
Despite the obvious wishful thinking of a fairly staggeringly large number of NUFC fans, this season could be a real strain for all involved. And despite outside influences, it would seem there is no real need for it to be so. Yet the potholes are nearly all self-inflicted and if it turns out to be half as bumpy a ride as some expect, Mike Ashley will have nobody to blame but himself. Unless his plan is to take a left up ahead when we take a right of course.