So Mike Ashley is the least popular man on Tyneside since Gordon Lee in the 1970s.
Indeed Marco Gabbiadini, Roger Tames, Eric Cantona and Paulo Di Canio could probably walk down Northumberland unnoticed if our heralded owner was to be spotted within 20 miles of St James’ Park. But is big Mike really all that bad…?
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Let’s look at the positives.
NUFC run absolutely no risk of infringing financial fair play thanks to Mike’s Sports Direct brand of club Management. United fans can sleep with ease every night knowing that the UEFA bigwigs won’t be flying to Newcastle Airport to go through the books and slap us with an almighty fine. No, no, not when Mike has the purse strings shut tighter than the screen door on a battleship.
Also, Mike has made the club the place to be for up and coming young talent. Agents are banging down the Barrack Road doors to get their young starlets onto Newcastle’s books. And why is that…? Because if they have so much as one good season big Mike will flog them on for a tasty profit. And where does that profit go…? Into keeping the UEFA financial fair play wolves from the doors. Well played Mike, well played.
What else has our misunderstood figurehead achieved?
Well, he’s a cockney chap and he knows just how pricey those London hotels are. To avoid making us poor working class Geordies have to fork out £200 per night for a Travelodge, or worse still having to run the risk of bumping into Lenny Henry in a Covent Garden Premier Inn, big Mike has made trips to Wembley almost impossible.
Also, the big man knows how hard it is getting time off work and how quick your holidays can be used with a family holiday, or a summer break with your mates. He doesn’t want us having to compromise those things dragging ourselves all over Europe for midweek matches and missing work. So he’s pretty much guaranteed that Tyneside industry and productivity isn’t compromised by keeping the team as far from the top 7 of the Premier League as he possibly can.
For years now United’s fickle fans have bemoaned season after season being over and done with by January. ‘We want something to play for until the end of the season’ we cried!
Well, big Mike has delivered. No more mid-table mediocrity for this club anymore. Nope, this season will go all the way to the wire where even the last kick of the last match could have massive implications. Buckle yourselves in lads and lasses for a final day relegation thrill ride!
And don’t underestimate how hard poor Mike has had to work to make this happen for us. His understanding of the game is there for all to see.
Sell the club’s Manager to a team beneath us in the league to help get one more side above us; don’t replace him with anyone so that the team is bereft of any real tactics and ensure you instigate a run of form good enough to secure a place in that final day relegation shoot out.
Guiding a team from mid-table security with 26 points by the turn of the year and steering them to 4th bottom with just 36 points come the final day, is no easy achievement.
Taking that a stage further, Mike has ensured the side are so lacking in quality on the pitch and in the dug-out that they’ve ‘earned’ just 1 point from 10 games. It’s that sort of strategic thinking that has secured us ungrateful supporters a Super-exciting Sunday live on Sky with all to play for.
No boring end of season games for us anymore, folks!
Despite all of his best efforts Mike still goes unloved and unappreciated. We claim he doesn’t understand the club, its history and tradition. But is that really fair…?
I remember standing on The Gallowgate in May 1989 and watching Newcastle play West Ham with my beloved black & whites needing a win to avoid relegation from the top flight. Thanks to Mike we get to relive that magical moment this weekend! We lost 2-1 and went down without a fight, by the way.
And as recently as 2009 we faced a team in claret and blue on the final day; Sunderland faced Chelsea and Hull City faced Man United in a 3-way relegation shoot out.
This Sunday we face a side in claret and blue, Sunderland face Chelsea and Hull City face Man United in a 3-way relegation shoot out, just like the good old days.
Without big Mike at the helm, steering our ship into such troubled and perilous waters, we wouldn’t have that to look forward to. Yet do we show him any gratitude…? We should be ashamed!
And if Mike does mastermind a return to The Championship will we be grateful? Of course not.
We’ll overlook the value for money we get from having an extra 4 home games for the price of our season ticket; we’ll ignore the fact we will be playing easier opposition and should win more games, and we’ll be thankless that Mike managed to get us away from those nasty people from Sunderland, who keep upsetting us by beating us every time we meet.
Whatever happens on nostalgia Sunday I’d just like to say thanks, Mike; thanks for everything. The credit really does belong to you, you fat greedy b*sta*rd.