Sunday, 19 February 2012

In Defence of Mike Ashley

St James Park - It always will be
Mike Ashley is percieved by man as a fat arrogant cockney git who knows nothing about about football and is the worst think to happen to Newcastle since the architectural abberations of T-Dan Smith in the 1960s. Ashley with able help from Derek Lambias certainly manages to continually shoot himself in the foot while it's still in his mouth , and look at what has happened since he came:

  • Sacking of a perfectly good manager in Sam Allardyce
  • Bringing back Keegan , and having Dennis Wise as director of football , a great player but a rubbish manager (Leeds , Millwall etc)
  • The debacle of trying find a manager after Keegan , resulting in JFK (Joe 'king Kinnear) and Alan Shearer
  • Relegation
  • The attempted sale of the club , that no one wanted to buy because of the mess Ashley had made of the place
  • Chris Hughton's appointment because no one wantted the job
  • The sales of Andy Carroll , Jose Enrique , Kevin Nolan , sacking Joey Barton who they could have sold for a decent return , if not a profit
  • The sacking of Chris Hughton and replacement by Mike Ashley's cockney casino buddy Alan Pardew
  • The attempted commercial rebranding of St James' Park - yeah the Sportsdirect Arena sounds cheap , charver and nasty

So basically with this catalogue of horrors everyone in Newcastle is wondering what the hell is coming next , after all this . I mean look at Portsmouth, Hearts  and Rangers , is Ashley any better than these owners deemed fit and proper by the English and Scottish Football Associatians?

Well really you have to look at where the club is now . Mike Ashley expressed a desire to make the club like Arsenal , to bring players through without spending a fortune and make the club a viable financial proposition. On thing Ashley can do is make money , look at Sports Direct. So where is the club now?

  • After relegation , the club won the Championship under the leadership of Chris Hughton at a canter.
  • In their first season in the Premiership things were going OK until the sacking of Hughton and appointment of Pardew
  • This coincided with an influx of French unknowns and the sale of Andy Carrol for £35 million on the final day of the transfer window last January. Pardew was promised the money but it never seemed to materialise
  • Apparently it has been invested in undersoil heating at the training ground. Have you noticed that under Ashley's stewardship Newcastle's only injuries happen on the playing field.
  • The team have taken 4 points off Manchester United , and lie a comfortable fifth in the Premiership
  • Demba Ba a free transfer replacement for Andy Carroll - well compare the scoring records
  • Papiss Demba Cisse the biggest buy under Pardew at £10 million scored the winner on his home debut
  • Hatem Ben Arfa , Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul have all progressed under Ashley's overall stewardship
  • Apparently the naming rights for the stadium would pay for Cisse , whether that's right or wrong is another question
Basically the thing is the club is in an apparently better state under Asley that I can ever remember . John Hall's stewardship with hindsight could only ever have been temporary , but if at the start of the season you'd have said Newcastle could have a good shot at European football next season , I think you would have got a few laughs.

Basically Ashley is doing more right than wrong , and expect more gaffes , but beware of getting rid because there's not that many decent club owners out there

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