Waiting For The Mike Ashley Full Moon
The match against Manchester City told us a lot of things we already knew, while it turns out there was a rather big thing we didn’t know.
Cabella looks useful, Colback may well keep Tiote out of the team and was perhaps bought with that in mind, Anita may well prove enduringly inadequate, and we lack quality in the final third (though Perez lifted the spirits).
Meanwhile Pardew, who becomes harder to defend now he has a lot of players he has apparently chosen and likes, prefers Dummett to Haidara and Obertan to Aarons or Abeid. And he prefers everyone to Ben Arfa.
The news that Mike Ashley is being asked to help Rangers out with their debts, though, and is prepared to do so, investing millions in the Glasgow club, gives recent player recruitment a new dimension.
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Newcastle’s new players are not going to get us into Europe any time soon. Indeed, Pardew is already saying the true strength of the team will not be apparent before November. Riviere is not a good enough centre forward and the presence of de Jong will not transform him into one.
This is what happens, of course, when player recruitment is dependent on income from player sales. Pardew has to rebuild the team every two years with cheapish players. There is consequently never any progress because the new boys must learn Pardew’s methods while, at the same time, getting used to the Premiership, which they don’t always do.
But Ashley hasn’t agreed to this investment to improve the team’s performance. He has agreed to it for the only reason he does anything – fear (when it’s not greed).
I believe, without the benefit of any evidence at all beyond my own instincts and Ashley’s pattern of behaviour, that we are in the end game with Mike Ashley and his appalling, cynical, disgusting regime.
Eight new players bought (mostly) on the cheap to keep the show on the road. The squad is reassured the owner wants the team to do well.
Fans are (mostly) reassured, even though there are gaps in the stands for an opening fixture against the champions. More importantly, the City is reassured that Ashley is engaged enough to take action that should preserve Newcastle’s Premiership status.
That protects – for now – Ashley’s investment in Newcastle.
But Ashley’s beady eyes are elsewhere. He is in his blue heaven, making plans to cash in big style with Glasgow Rangers, in the Championship this season, and back in the top flight next year. Any footballing ambition Ashley has is now firmly north of the border.
He may have been at Newcastle’s opening fixture, grinning with his nervous and lick-spittle mates, but only to check that the ship had been steadied. He wanted to see if the players were performing for his beleaguered management team, whose friends and relatives may well have been absent, and thereby contributing to the gaps in the stands.
Meanwhile he can see that in a couple of years Rangers will surely be back in the Champions’ League, and pulling in the big ackers without the need for a lot of investment. That will be the moment when he loses any pretence of interest in the Toon.
But we don’t need to worry about any lack of focus. Because Mike Ashley has only one intention for Newcastle United. And that is to get the hell out of Gallowgate and to get the hell out of the Premier League.
Will he wait until there is any kind of prospect of Rangers and Newcastle being in the same competition? He won’t even wait for the risk to arise. Because if the risk arises, down goes the price of Newcastle United.
It may be this year, it may be next, but it won’t be long. We are not yet seeing the back of the Oaf. He is not yet baring his backside for the final time.
But he’s loosening his belt. It will be the best full moon I have seen in my life.
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