Like many supporters who have followed the magpies long-term, I can remember the good times as well as the bad.
It is as they say a life sentence that we all are subjected to, who follow this great club. Whether or not we are resident on Tyneside, or have had to go further afield due to work or other reasons.
I have however seldom been through a period where on the surface to the outsider the club is fine, but on the inside there is turmoil and a cancerous attitude.
Many moons ago when I started as an apprentice in the north east, like many I was young and impressionable. We had a dispute at the engineering firm where I worked, one of the old guys whilst talking about it said to me, “A fish rots from the heed doon.” Thinking this statement a bit bizarre and mulling it over for a couple of days, I asked him to explain. His explanation was in essence simple, the person at the top sets the agenda, and the tone of how the company runs, and how the people and customers within its scope are treated.
The second analogy I learned is while working for myself in the last 20 years and dealing with managers, accountants and engineers, all coming for a different position of what they want and require.
With accountants in general they spend next to nothing if they can help it, why use a full bandage if you can get away with an Elastoplast? Rarely if ever do they go onto the factory floor to see what is happening and the state of the equipment. They can see all they want in the balance sheet. Eventually the lack of investment and the lack of spares cause the company to fail as they fail to supply the customer with the goods they require.
On the other hand the engineer will spend freely on all spares, just in case the plant breaks down. So there are plenty spare but the balance sheet is somewhat shaky as the cash flow is limited. However, the plant rarely breaks down and does produce the goods for the customers when required. The problem is the company fails due to the overspend and the cash flow is poor.
The poor manager in the middle of this only wants his plant to work without breaking down, and have new equipment when it is needed, to fill the void when old equipment is beyond repair or that there needs to be new equipment to push for new business and expansion.
As we can see, if both the accountant and the engineer are left to their own devices then failure for one reason or another will surely happen, I have seen it far too many times in the last 30 years. The problem is compounded when the accountant actually owns the company. Here profit is king and it is the yardstick by which the company is run. When this happens most engineers worth their salt will resign from the company, as the constraints on them to successfully do their job are insurmountable.
Most of you will by now have seen where this is going, unfortunately unless there is a seismic shift in policy at NUFC there will certainly be blood on the carpet.
Firstly, a cursory glance around SJP will tell us all that NUFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Direct Ltd, who are owned by a certain Mike Ashley – known in NUFC circles by various names, all of which are uncomplimentary.
This means that he sets the tone for not only SD but NUFC, all major decisions will be taken by him with a view to maximising the profit of SD and its shareholders. To this end NUFC is used as a marketing tool to promote SD on the worldwide stage via television advertising. Why pay for extra TV advertising when all the TV companies will do it FOC every weekend under the guise of televised sports worldwide, such is the power of the premiership.
The only thing that will make this change in any significant way is the threat of relegation, the Championship, or old second division in my childhood, does not have the advertising clout worldwide. The money spent in January 2013 was investment to stave off relegation, as this not only affects the direct money into NUFC to help with running costs. It affects the worldwide advertising for SD and therefore directly into Ashley’s pocket as major shareholder. Anyone watching MOTD on Sunday night will have observed that in just about every shot there was an SD avert, the roof of the stadium is still used this way, it is 1 large advertising hording , nothing else.
The management style at NUFC from senior management, those above first team level, is dictatorial. Anyone who even slightly criticises their decisions have been banned. This is regardless of what the industry norm is, or for that matter, common sense.
They have shown a blatant disregard for their customers, as in their original statement when they took over NUFC, they said that the figures for running the club are based on a figure of 40,000 fans per game – at present even with the rubbish being served up, an average of 50,000 fans turn up each week. So the drop would have to go a long way before they would get concerned, if ever. Next, this is subsidised by the TV deals so it will be used to run the club rather than invest in new players. This will prolong the agony of a slow painful death of a great club.
With regard to the Club shop and online sales this is operated as far as I know by SD so the money goes directly to Ashley’s main company and then what happens after that we do not know. The various franchises for food and drink around the stadium are a different case. By not spending there doesn’t directly hurt SD or Ashley, however sustained refrainment from purchasing goods from them make them look at renewing their franchise, if and when this happens it does directly affect SD and Ashley as well as the club. Again this will not affect anything overnight.
Ashley has stated that he doesn’t care about what people say, however in the failed attempts to sell the club early on, he was affected by the criticism directed towards him. In my humble opinion he will make the fans of NUFC suffer a slow and agonising death, before he sells up.
There is almost no chance of him sacking Pardew, I’m not for one minute saying he actually wouldn’t, or that he doesn’t deserve it, as you can see by the sacking of JFK, if it affects his (Ashley’s) perceived profit margin he will be sacked. Pardew takes the flak and deflects it or tries to from Ashley, so as long as NUFC are not relegated or he criticises Ashley, then nothing will happen.
One last thing before I depart, a comment by our not long departed DOF, the one and only Mr JFK. In which he stated that he was far more intelligent than any of the fans of NUFC.
Well to counteract that could you please envisage the UK as a person with our friends in the North (Scots) being the head and the neck is the wall and river Tyne, This leaves our Cornish friends as the Feet and toes, warming them in the Atlantic. This leaves the South East and you can see where I’m going with that.
So it’s good bye from me, and in anticipation of a goodbye from him.