We aren’t relegated yet.

But as we teeter on the brink, hoping someone else will muff their lines, it’s reported that Mike Ashley is about turn to PR guru Keith Bishop (pictured to the left of Ashley above) to plot the way forward.

Why would this be?

Is it because this former middling BBC suit has a bookful of managerial contacts world-wide?

Is it because he is an expert on the transfer market and a top scout?

Is it because he is a skilled coach and tactician?


It would be because he is a self-styled “reputation management consultant” and as long as he can cook up a plausible cock and bull story to placate the fans the club will think it’s winning.

Do you know what a reputation management consultant does, at the most basic level?

Say, for instance, someone leaves an online review saying the service at your cafe was awful and they found mouse poo in their ice-cream.

It keeps happening because, frankly, your business itself is a turd, and you have no intention on spending money trying to put it right.

So you employ a reputation management consultant. Nothing perhaps as lofty as Keith.

His shills will post another review, saying your cafe was paradise on earth when they visited, and the reviewer above was probably drunk or is a jealous rival trying to do you down.

It’s all about muddying the waters, so people don’t know who or what to believe.

Keith Bishop was the man behind “we want to win something.” The man behind “the buck stops at my door”. The man behind the absurd mirage that is the so-called “football board.”

He is the power behind the throne at Newcastle. The man Ashley listens to.

He was the man McClaren pleaded to for his job after the Bournemouth fiasco.

That’s the club, you see. The other 19 clubs aren’t the enemy to be out-performed and humbled. The fans are.

It appears clear now that despite what was said on Sky Sports a year ago, the Ashley Doctrine was persisted with.

They waited for a manager who would not throw obstacles in their way and would trust them when they sold a top player to replace him with something cheaper, later, and in a different position.

They waited while he blew his own club’s promotion advantage and got the sack.

They still bought young foreign players with a sell-on value. These players might have been worthy addendum to a squad that was basically sound.

But they were harnessed to a woefully understrength rag-bag of those who weren’t good enough, those who wanted away, and many who were both.

Why would Ashley want to sack Carr or Charnley?

As long as they keep punching us, and we keep handing over our sweeties, why should anything change?