Mike Ashley has done his best.
He “stepped back” and let his rapidly scraped together “board” get on with it.
Now the coffers are spent. The board has failed.
Some believe this is Ashley washing his hands of his failed underlings.
But it isn’t. Pilate-like he is washing his hands of the club while condemning it.
“Don’t come crying to me.” That is the message to everyone with an emotional bond with this club.
Watching his TV interview with Sky I was struck by how little pain he appears to be feeling. There was an air of relish about his comment that we are stuck with him. That was before the Caulkin interview appeared.
I think anyone with any sense at all could deduce Ashley’s mindset from these interviews.
But even for me it is shocking to see how “hard to house train” he really is. He has had no Road to Damascus conversion.
He is a man with very basic views about how things should work. He has the money, so he gives the orders. He takes none from anyone. The world (and its children) exist to serve him.
It was always plain to see. It’s why I have despaired at fairly decent sports writers like Simon Bird lazily trotting out lines about money Ashley has put into the club.
I’m surprised anyone is shocked
We’ve heard this before.
When Ashley tried to sell a few years ago and gave what was until recently his only interview he said plainly that he’d made a mistake buying the club. He’d done his money and he wouldn’t get it back, he said.
He went on to claim his family had been threatened, and ended ominously by saying he would never put another penny into Newcastle.
And he has been as good as his word. He’s been trying to get his money back ever since.
Fans won’t believe what they don’t want to believe. Every inexplicable decision that seemed to fly in the face of all football logic has been about getting his money back.
I believed he would replace the manager with eight games to go and if we go down he will claim he only gave the fans what they were screaming for. “Blame them, not me.”
Everything this club does is about scoring points off the fans, like they were the real opposition and not the other nineteen clubs.
Much store is laid on the world-wide exposure he gets for Sports Direct. But that is not his bottom line.
His bottom line is getting his own back, in every sense of the words.
So I expect “no more Mr Nice Guy” noises emanating from Ashley if we go down. That is the mood music now.
He is preparing us for “we are down now, and the club has to wipe its own nose.”
Players who can get us by in the Championship have been retained. Put into cold storage for if they are needed. They have been thinking ahead.
There will be no mea culpa from Ashley. We are stuck with it.
I think we could be in for a huge splash of cold water soon.
Revenge, served cold.