The Case For Ashley
I understand that this article will be as welcome as a fart in a space suit but I do feel compelled to put forward a case for Mike Ashley amidst this week’s pantomime. There is a caveat and that is that he has annoyed me no end on numerous occasions and his decision to appoint Joe “Idiot” Kinnear is the far side of lunacy, but ……….
Ashley is criticised for being a cockney, he’s not, he’s from the Midlands. If we get all het up about the real definition of a Geordie then we should at least have the decency to accept that people from the Midlands are not cockneys even if they live in Surrey (which is not London but now I’m getting pedantic).
Ashley is often criticised for not speaking to us, which means that he is criticised for not popping up on Sky Sports News or in the Chronicle with the same irritating frequency that Freddie Shepherd used to. Is that really a problem? Do we need to have insincere platitudes from the owner of our club, do we honestly give a flying fig what he thinks of the fans? Personally, I would rather that Ashley stayed quiet given that he appears to have the PR Skills of a Single Cell organism.
He is, for the second time, criticised for the appointment of a Director of Football, but even here the role itself is a valid and arguably sensible one. A man with experience in the game taking a slightly removed view of the football operations and acting as a point of liaison between the playing and corporate wings of the club is a good idea, it makes sense, even if it’s not sexy. The appointment of Wise was wrong, the appointment of Kinnear insane, but the idea of a D of F is actually a reasonably astute decision. Even in appointing Kinnear, you can see that he has turned to someone that he trusts, which is fair enough, it’s his train set, he can do what he wants. It is concerning that the man he trusts is a liar and a fool but we’ve all got mates like that don’t we?
My central defence of Mike Ashley though rests on more solid foundations. Under the previous regime, the club had its financial assets raided to an obscene level and there was a genuine risk of financial implosion. Under Ashley, despite relegation (when he financed us for a season!), we are now financially sound, profitable even. I am a fan like all of you, I want to see the likes of Ferdinand and Shearer signing for the club, but equally, as I live in Hampshire I would rather not face the situation that Portsmouth fans I know do. A stable, viable Newcastle United is the most important thing, the rest is the icing!
As with all of us, Ashley is imperfect, but for all the PR gaffes and unwise appointments, we shouldn’t lose sight of a more promising long-term vision for the club that has emerged in the last few years.
BUT, Kinnear, really!?!?!
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