Newcastle United are in the process of losing one of their three board members, with Finance Director John Irving (seen above to the right of Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley) moving to a role at Newcastle Airport.

If as expected Irving resigns from the NUFC board as well as his day job, it will leave only Managing Director Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley himself as Directors.

Having a minimum of two directors is a simple legal requirement and the idea of the club having ‘proper’ board meetings as other clubs do to oversee the direction of Newcastle United, is a little far-fetched.

A bit like any notion that Irving had any real say in whatever happened at the club, as is the case with Lee Charnley.

The timing of the announcement is a little strange though, considering in only a few days time United are fighting for their Premier League lives.

It might sound a little melodramatic but I always have this feeling that not many people leave Mike Ashley’s employment unless he is happy for it to happen.

Just like Alan Pardew’s mid-season jumping ship, I’m guessing that Ashley won’t have been opposed to one of his only two fellow directors running for the hills.

The issue that these departures raise for me, is that of could we see the club heading off in one of two very different directions.

We have the potential scenario of rats deserting sinking ship and a club that is very soon going to be sold.

Alternatively, I have this thought of Mike Ashley maybe deciding now is the time to blatantly run Newcastle United as just another part of his retail empire and take away any pretence of local people on the ground having any power.

My thoughts keep returning to the fact that Ashley’s men, Derek Llambias (former NUFC and Rangers CEO) and Barry Leach (former Sports Direct and Rangers Finance Director), don’t appear to be gainfully employed at the minute…

The pair are reported to be still being paid by Rangers until there is some kind of conclusion to their connection/employment there, something which could potentially happen very quickly now that Dave King has passed the ‘fit and proper’ person test which will allow him to be hands-on at Ibrox.

It would be ironic if just when the club appeared to be maybe slipping from Mike Ashley’s hands, he exerts an even more vice-like grip on it by bringing in Llambias and/or Leach to haul NUFC into line with whatever his real longer term plan is for the club and the rest of his kingdom.

Of course the above is pure conjecture but then life under Mike Ashley leaves us with only that, as supporters are always left wondering just what is going on at St. James’ Park?

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