The list grows ever longer of the people who feel qualified to talk about Newcastle United, with John Barnes now adding his name.
It is now almost 20 years since a 73 year old John Barnes arrived at St James Park to top up his pension, as his big mate Kenny Dalglish destroyed Kevin Keegan’s team and made it a case of jobs for the (old) boys with Stuart Pearce and Ian Rush also signing up.
It never seems to occur to the likes of John Barnes that when they are asked about Newcastle United they could just say ‘sorry, I haven’t got a clue about what happens up there’, all I know is what I read in the papers…
Asked about United’s latest disastrous season, the former Liverpool and (one season and a bit) Newcastle player says that he finds it ‘a little bit bizarre’ why Newcastle United supporters have a problem with Mike Ashley.
Barnes continues his waffle by bringing up the ‘Geordie/Cockney’ card as a potential reason – yes that would be right, we’re all gutted about where the owner was born rather than it being the misery he has inflicted on us for almost all nine years of his occupation.
Imagine what John Barnes would have to say if Liverpool’s owners had presided over eight Premier League seasons that included two relegations (2008/09 and 2015/16), plus two other seasons where safety was only assured with the second last game (2012/13) and the very final match (2014/15)?
Barnes’ main supporting evidence is Mike Ashley ‘putting his money where his mouth is..’, that is the money generated by the football club that wasn’t spent in previous seasons and which weakened the squad to a disastrous level.
John Barnes instead points the finger at people such as Lee Charnley, Steve McClaren and Graham Carr and of course they have been key factors in the shambles BUT they were chosen by Mike Ashley!
Whilst when Barnes says that Mike Ashley hasn’t ‘told them who to sign’ that isn’t strictly true.
When you have an owner insisting on a crazy transfer strategy that insists on massive gambles being taken on 20 year olds (Mbemba and Mitrovic) and a 22 year old (Thauvin) from weak foreign leagues in the hope of future profit, then the blame lies very much at the owner’s door.
John Barnes talking to Omnisport:
“The thing about it is that Mike Ashley has been very supportive in terms of the money he’s given them. The whole idea of them (Newcastle fans) being against Mike Ashley is a little bit bizarre.
“I know that maybe he’s not a Geordie and in terms of the relationship he has with them it may not be a harmonious relationship but in terms of putting his money where his mouth is…
“They have signed players and I think that is all you can ask for a chairman to do. He also sees the potential that Newcastle have if you can get it right and is willing to put money in.
“Obviously from the fans’ point of view there is this animosity towards him, which they will know better than me because I’m not up there – but in terms of you wanting an owner of a football club to support you and give you money to spend and not have a hands-on approach in terms of picking the team, which he doesn’t do.
“I don’t know whether it’s necessarily Mike Ashley or the people he’s actually put in charge, but I’m sure from Ashley’s point of view, if you are just looking at Ashley and not the people he has put in charge, he has given them money and he’s not picked the team and he’s not told them who to sign, so, obviously they will know better than me, but that seems to be a strange situation.
“Can Newcastle come straight back up? Absolutely.
“You can see now with Burnley coming back up and you look at Hull – they’ve won 3-0 away (at Derby in first leg of play-off semi-final) so they look like they’ve got a chance of coming back up
“The teams who go down now have a very big advantage over those already in the Championship, so therefore Newcastle would be overwhelming favourites for me to come back up and I have no doubt they will.”