Can all be forgiven where Mike Ashley is concerned?

I’ve said many times this season that I would be willing to forgive Mike Ashley for the ‘damage’ he has done to our club and honestly believe that the majority of fans would be willing to wipe the slate clean, particularly after such a great season, and perhaps the lack of anti-Ashley and Cockney Mafia related songs back up this claim.

The problem I have with Ashley is that whilst he is undoubtedly a clever businessman, much of the criticism that he has heaped on to himself and more importantly our great club, could have been avoided if he actually addressed the fans once in a while and most importantly, gave us some consideration before going ahead with some of his more idiotic ideas.

Splitting up the Leazes singing (and standing) section in Level 7 was a terrible idea and it has definitely affected the atmosphere at home games (this has admittedly improved as the team has continued to win games) and it is embarrassing when away fans sing, “Where’s your famous atmosphere?”. I can see some logic behind it though and expanding the family seating area can only be a positive step in helping to acquire young Mags who will hopefully ensure our fantastic 52k+ stadium (ST JAMES PARK!) continues to sell out for many decades to come in a time when it is easy for young fans to glory hunt at bigger teams. You only have to look at kids playing football in the street to see copious amounts of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester shirts and we all have a mate or two who claims to support Liverpool! Had Ashley came out and spoke to the fans about the shake up and been a bit more accommodating with fans plans to move level 7 to level 4 then the animosity at the start of the season might not have been as high.

The same can be said for other decisions he has made. Rebranding the stadium may have seemed like a good idea to bring in extra funds but as of yet this hasn’t happened and if nobody comes in next season (with European football pretty much a certainty) it may be time to admit that this was an idea that has failed and could gain himself some serious brownie points by changing our name back and removing those horrendous Sports Direct logos from the Gallowgate roof! Let’s not forget that Ashley is a man who can admit when he is wrong and getting rid of Dennis Wise proved this.. Even though my gran spotted this was a monumental mistake about six months before Ashley did!

It is crazy how things have changed though in less than a year. The pre-season trip to Leeds in July saw the fans, myself included, spend more time hammering ‘Fat Cockney Bastard’ Ashley rather than get behind the side, when we should have been cheering on a young team including Tavernier, Gosling, Vuckic and Sammy Ameobi and showing new arrival Cabaye just how great our fans are. We went on to lose the game 3-2 conceding in the 85th minute and the negativity continued when the new season began, as the £35million for Carroll wasn’t invested and we lost Enrique, Nolan and Barton. This led to many fans expecting us to become a selling club and I think we all expected Colo and Tiote to be sold off at some point.

The abuse toward Ashley continued and although we remained unbeaten, including a fantastic Ryan Taylor effort over the wall at the mackems, it wasn’t until a Demba Ba hat-trick at home to Blackburn which kick-started our season and a wave of positivity began.

Things seem a lot more optimistic now, particularly with Tiote, Colo, Krul, Ben Arfa and Cisse all tied down on long-term contracts and playing some beautiful football and we should all be looking onward and upwards.

I have also argued for the last few years that we MUST change our approach to signing players for huge wages. Look what good that did for us with Martins, Owen etc who looked pitiful in our relegation season and Ashley too seems to be aware of this need to stabilise the club’s financial position. This seems to be working and finally we have a stable team we can be proud of and if Ashley can get through the summer without selling our best players, changing our shirt colour to red & white and hopefully bring in a few reinforcements, I think most fans (not all) may be able to forgive, if not forget, and move on as one.

Keep the faith.

 

  • AnyO’Brien

    Reason he got rid of level 7 was to spite the anti ashley chants that started there. Fat (now slim) Cockney (no he’s not) bastard (possibly) get out of our (no his…) club. Maybe if we show him some love he’ll let the singing section get together again?

  • glasshalfempty

    I suppose we could sing “there’s only one Mike Ashley” although I know lots of people who will be saying Thank F*** For That!!!

    A successful campaign on the field has certainly deflected criticism from his major bollock dropping decisions.

    The time to tell how amazing Mike Ashley is will be when the chips are down again!!  With NUFC that’s always just round the corner.

    I think people can forgive (currently) but we certainly won’t forget and the nasty songs could return as quickly as they disappeared.  That is the case at most football clubs and is not unique to Mike Ashley.

    Maybe Mr Ashley’s luck is turning or maybe he’s finally got to grips with running a football club – long may that continue, just treat the fans with a bit more respect please!!!!

  • Shamo878

    Good article.

    He ahs to change the stadium name back and i’ll forgive. But never forget the way he’s treated us as fans through sacking Keegan, to hiring Kinnear, to overtaking Shearer and leaving the club in limbo for months. And all the other petty things that gets forgotton.

  • Willinthenam

    I don’t understand why the club  don’t have the “Direct” in the Sports Direct logos in the ground in Black instead of red. Seems an obvious move to me and would at least make the horrendous things a bit more easy on Geordie eyes!

  • Garageflower

    Lets go back to paying vast sums for rubbish,greedy,uninterested players so we really have something to moan about,yeah?

  • Rjgray324

    Agree all the negatives about Ashley but grudgingly have to admit there are now a lot of positives.
    With regard to him speaking to the fans – this is something I have never been bothered  about – how many other chairman/owner do you ever hear of (or even know who they are) speaking to fans. None that I know of. 

  • retardedtoon

    He is a tottenham fan who lives in Berkhamstead Hertfordshire. He also has his mansion totally renovated after the Carroll transfer. Is he totally commited to NUFC???? Is he fu*k. Just wait,he will fu*k NUFC over again soon.

  • Dangoodall1896

    Great article