The faces may well change, but under Mike Ashley, the club will always remain the same.
A couple of weeks ago I sat in my local pub and watched Newcastle suffer yet another humiliating dubbing on the road. Stamford Bridge was the latest venue to play host to yet another gutless and galling defeat. A performance that was so god-awful, it was almost laughable.
Yet rather than get angry, shout at the telly and get frustrated at the plight of my team, I was fairly placid. I was expecting nothing less, so why on earth would I bother getting annoyed?!? It’s not like I haven’t come to expect this sort of display from Newcastle in recent years after all.
In an all too familiar away day showing, the Sky pundits were once again bemused and dumfounded by yet another monumental collapse by Newcastle. The sort of shambolic display that has become so shamefully commonplace in recent times.
Coloccini’s now regular apology popped up in The Chronicle a few days later – You can add it to the pile Colo.
Sadly, this is the point where I am with Newcastle United these days.
I’m cynical, I’m jaded and I expect nothing but the worst from Newcastle United. No anger, no frustration, just sat in the pub once again wondering what the point was. You see I’ve now gone past exasperation with Newcastle, I’ve gone past frustration and quite frankly I’ve almost stopped caring. Almost.
Thing is, why should I care? It’s quite clear that the club doesn’t. The club doesn’t care about anything other than staying in the Premier League.
This summer Newcastle United did their best to give off the impression that things would be different now. That they would be trying to move forward, show some ambition and that they had learnt from the mistakes of the past. Ashley himself told us on national TV that it was time to ‘bolt the horse to the cart’ – whatever the hell that meant!
They finally broke their self-imposed transfer abstinence in a big way. The club made four major signings totalling over £50 million, and had hoped to enter the new season unrecognisable from the shameful mess that just about spluttered its way over the finish line last May.
Yet whilst this spending spree and backroom overhaul was more than welcome, it has become clear this season that the faces may well have changed, but the club certainly remains the same.
We all know that Mike Ashley scrimps and saves every penny he can at the club. The only time he spends significantly is when the club is once again in danger of falling from the Premier League gravy train. For all Lee Charnley is seen to be running the club in public, anyone with half a brain cell knows he’s nothing more than a lackey for the real power at Newcastle.
Like Alan Pardew before him, we once again have a manager who is in position, primarily for non-football reasons. The spokesman and spin doctor position now falls under the responsibility of Steve McClaren. If he can do a bit of managing on the side and steer the team to mid-table safety, then Mike is happy. As it always has done under Ashley, the whole shoddy organisation continues to reek of jobs for the boys.
Peter Beardsley’s continued employment in charge of a woefully bad Under-21 side is just another example of those who are in a job on the basis of their loyalty to Mike, rather than ability.
The players are not without blame in this sorry mess either. Whilst they may be a disorganised shambles on the pitch, surely showing some fight and some heart is not too much for us fans to ask for!? It seems that it is.
Over the last year or so, new faces have been brought in to replace the ones who had previously high-tailed it, or the ones whose purchase has been a dismal failure. These players will have been well scouted and all signed with the sole intention of selling on for profit in a couple of years’ time. If there was ever any doubt of this, the club’s decision to sign 22-year-old Florian Thauvin, rather than 28-year-old Dimitri Payet, should highlight this perfectly.
The other prerequisite of any new Newcastle signing is the condition that all must be bereft of a spine, or a tongue. The last thing Newcastle United need is another dressing-room full of Bartons and Nolans, who might actually speak up against the way the club is run. It is this deliberate and premeditated lack of character in the Newcastle team which has been the crucial factor in the torrent of gutless collapses.
As has been the way in recent years, it’s quite clear that most players don’t really care about the club and are just here in the hope that Arsenal or PSG may one day come-a-knocking. Fat chance lads.
In all fairness to the players, who can really blame them for not caring? They are employed by a club whose sole ambition is mid-table, so what motivation could they possibly have to achieve anything other than a move away?!
To me it seems that many of the players now have developed the same attitude as many fans – basically questioning what the point of the club is anymore.
If by chance Wijnaldum, Mbemba or any of the others do turn out to be real gems, then they will soon be sold on for profit. Just like Carroll, Cabaye, Debuchy and Ba before them. Once that happens, then it certainly won’t be long before the next major summer overhaul is needed.
We as fans can bitch, moan and shout for McClaren to go all we want, but it really isn’t going to make a great deal of difference. It will be just another short-term solution for a long-term problem.
Like Pardew before him, if he goes, he will just be replaced by another out-of-work desperado, willing to be a flunky for Mike in return for a top Premier League job. Or even worse, John Carver.
Those who think that a decent manager, like a Frank De Boer or a Raphael Benitez, would touch us with a bargepole, are living in cloud cuckoo land.
The club is rotten to its very core. The owner, chief exec, manager and players alike have no desire to make our club great. Their motivations vary from financial reward, to keeping themselves in a job, to just getting the hell out of this mess of a club. None share the desires and the hopes of those who made that journey to Stamford Bridge.
Until the day finally comes, when the powers that be share this desire, then we as a club are doomed to carry on in this heinous and shameful fashion. Make no mistake, the faces may well change, but the club remains the same.
As long as Mike Ashley remains in charge, the Newcastle hamster wheel will of misery will roll on and on.
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