Dear Mr Ashley,

I thought I should write following on from a recent interview with Moussa Sissoko, in which he suggested that he would need to leave Newcastle in order to further his career.

Now I understand that you are a businessman and that money talks. I have no doubt that even as we speak the great clubs of Europe are clamouring at your door seeking Mr Sissoko’s services.

I daresay the figures being offered to you for a god-like footballing talent such as his must be astronomical.

I expect it will be difficult to refuse offers from the likes of Barcelona when they come offering a swap deal for Messi plus a truck load of cash.

But refuse them you must!

You may have noticed that over the last few years your popularity amongst supporters has been – let’s just say, limited. Why not do something to turn the tide. You have the chance now, at a stroke, to rehabilitate yourself.

I would like to put forward a couple of ideas which would see your stock soar with the St James Park public, and at the same time provide some much-needed match day entertainment.

Being something of a Johnny-come-lately at SJP you won’t have any recollection of goings on up here in the 70s and 80s. But I would like to suggest that Mr Sissoko be retained – for the full length of his contract – in order to reinstate a couple of old match-day traditions.

First of all, there used to be peanut sellers who went around the touchline selling little paper cones full of nuts (Fantastic aim, they had). Mr Sissoko could be employed, for the remainder of his contract, to sell nuts at SJP. He could be given a hi-viz vest. On the front you could print “Behold! The God-Like Talent of Moussa Sissoko”; and on the back you could print “I used to swing the lead, now I sling the nuts!” And he could be made to go round and round the touchline – selling little bags of nuts for a few pence a time.

As an alternative, one of the great bits of half-time entertainment which used to get served up on big-match days back in the day, would be a visit by the dog team at Northumbria Police. They would get their dogs to go round obstacle courses and such like.

Then, for the grand finale, they used to get some poor bloke, dressed in a convict’s stripey-shirt and with a bag marked ‘Swag’ over his shoulder. They would send him out from the Leazes corner and set him running across the pitch towards the Gallowgate. When he got to about the halfway line they would release some enormous German Shepherd dog, fed on raw-meat and steroids, which would tear across the pitch towards the miscreant – usually bringing him down in a heap somewhere about the edge of the box.

That could be Moussa Sissoko, that could. You could give him his salary in full in a bag marked ‘Swag’ and send him out onto the pitch. Either he would be caught by the dog, or if he got enough of a shift on he would be welcomed with open arms into the Gallowgate End.

Or you could just do that for a week or two to make us all happy, then flog him off for whatever you can get, to a beautiful club like West Brom or Stoke or Crystal Palace or whoever will have the waster.

Best regards

Travis Bickle

NUFC Art Prints -