Where did it all go wrong at Newcastle United and how can we recover this situation?
If you’re reading Mr Ashley, sit down strap in and take note; because I am going to tell you…
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As with any healthy relationship between two people, each partner must feel they are equally valued and respected. When the perception of these is anything but equal, resentment grows.
In a healthy relationship for example, if you were to stay out at the pub until 4am after telling your significant other you were just out for a quick pint; it might cost you a box of chocolates.
In an unhealthy relationship however, it could cost you diamonds.
I think all parties concerned with Newcastle United (including Mike himself) would agree we don’t have a healthy relationship between the fans and the club. So if/when Lee Charnley proudly presents the fans with a box of chocolates in the form of Steve McClaren for example, it will unsurprisingly be met with disdain.
Unfortunately, only a diamond like Jürgen Klopp, or a rough diamond like Patrick Vieira, would ease the resentment slightly.
Why have the fans and Newcastle United got a terrible relationship in the first place?
Communication and ambition are the main reasons.
Again, I will use the analogy of a couple. If one partner is shouting at the other – the one guaranteed way of infuriating them even further, is to ignore them.
Combine this with the partner shouting about wanting to go on holiday in Europe (the money is in the bank to pay for it!), and the silent partner is happy to stay at home and sit in front of the TV to save money. This dysfunctional relationship would probably begin with annoyance and go through the stages of anger, hatred, indifference and ultimately divorce.
Sadly most Newcastle fans are towards the back end of this spectrum, and far too many at the very end – like a jilted lover refusing to see their ex in person, but still stalking them on Facebook.
The reality of the situation at Newcastle brings me to my final point – would Jürgen Klopp fix the long-term problems at Newcastle. No is the answer.
Why, you may ask? As with all highly successful businesses, you must have the correct people in the correct positions with the correct tools and support around them to do their job to the best of their ability.
We could argue about the correct people in the correct positions all day, but to begin with, the tools and support must be there.
Newcastle in their cost cutting exercise have been slashing staff numbers to the bone since Mike Ashley took over. The result of this is just to spread the unchanging workload onto the remaining staff. This is the way of modern business, but this is something you absolutely can’t do in any business with highly paid and (arguably) highly skilled individuals.
You inevitably end up having staff on massive salaries unable to do the job they are trained to do because they are struggling to do a minimum wage job which they aren’t trained to do!
At Newcastle I could easily imagine a world class manager worrying “what temperature to wash the players’ kit… oh, and what time does the post office close, those contracts should really be posted today?”
The tools and support must be fixed before all else.
I could go on all day but I have some Facebook stalking to do.
Mike, if you’re looking for a new chairman, feel free to send me a message. Unfortunately, I may be more than you are willing to pay.