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Mike Ashley, Kinnear, Pardew and Llambias – Best Of Friends?

6 years ago
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I think the vast majority of our supporters are pretty much unified in their dislike of both Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew. Most of us can see there is little chance the club can ever move forward whilst one, or both, of them remain at SJP.

Some supporters point the finger directly at Pardew and blame him for the poor football; wrong team selection, tactics and players leaving. The recent press speculation that ‘Pardew has 2 games to save his job’ etc, has got some fans excited that maybe a change is coming, but in my opinion that is a massive red herring.

I say this because I don’t believe Pardew is under pressure at all, I don’t believe he ever would be, possibly even if we were relegated.

The club have not made any comment on this story, no quotes and not even the famous ‘club insider’ line has been used. Yet when the perfect opportunity arose to get rid of Pardew (head-butt incident) the club very quickly issued a statement saying his job was safe, this from a board who are usually mute on everything.

Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias, Joe Kinnear and Alan Pardew knew each other prior to being at NUFC, perhaps some more than others, but they were certainly no strangers.

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Some fans may feel that since Llambias was ‘forced out’ by Joe Kinnear’s arrival, Pardew may not have the strong backing on the board that he once had. Well it is my opinion that much of the negative press around that incident was manufactured by people at the club, I don’t believe for one second that Llambias was miffed at Kinnear’s arrival and so he left, I believe Llambias had another job to go to, something he was always going to leave for, the ‘negativity feeling’ element was manufactured rubbish.

I also don’t believe that Pardew did not know beforehand that Kinnear was coming in, regardless of what the press reported. I believe Ashley, Kinnear, Llambias and Pardew knew at all times who was getting appointed and when, they are after all, friends.

Kinnear’s job was to sell Cabaye and get us through the transfer window without spending a single penny, something he did perfectly.

Fans were in uproar that he didn’t do his job properly (in our eyes), so here comes saviour Ashley (in a pre-agreed move) to ‘sack’ Kinnear and then the fans are suddenly happy again! Deflecting attention away from Ashley and Pardew that we had sold our best player and not spent a penny replacing him, the perfect move by Ashley and a nice little earner for Kinnear.

That is why I don’t personally believe Pardew is, or will be, under pressure, I believe he does everything Ashley asks him too and knows about all decisions upfront. He may not even like some of the decisions, but please don’t believe he isn’t anything less than extremely happy and fortunate to be NUFC manager and will take any flak or bad decision he has to in order to keep the job.

So whilst Ashley is here, Pardew is here.

Which brings me on to the point of the article (I know it’s taken a while hasn’t it!);

Supporters seem to be in two camps, those that have stopped going to games whilst Ashley/Pardew (or both) are still here, and those that say “support the team” and continue to attend home and away games.

Both camps have every right to stick to their particular course of action. However, I think we all know that in order to replace Pardew we have to remove Ashley, and in order to remove Ashley, we have to damage the thing he holds closest to his heart, Sports Direct.

I think most supporters are clued up enough now to see that the reason Ashley wants to keep NUFC is because of the massive Global reach the Premier League has, this reach puts his Sports Direct brand name in countries all over the world, the fact that he doesn’t pay for the advertising at SJP is all the more sweeter for him!

So it is my opinion the only way to damage the brand is to have an empty home stadium, for at least 2 to 3 home games by boycotting them, as a trial. This of course means getting all fans on-board and uniting the two ‘camps’ I mentioned earlier.

This is also where it becomes difficult, as I said earlier some fans will always go to every game and want to support the team, I have the uppermost respect for any fan that does. I gave up my season ticket after 15 years due to a mixture of personal/financial changes + Big Sam in charge. However, I haven’t stopped supporting the team or the club because I have stopped attending games.

If I go to another city, or even another country, and someone asks me “Which football team do you support?” I don’t say; “I used to support Newcastle but I stopped going to watch the games”, instead I of course say “I support Newcastle”.

That is what I would say to any supporter who doesn’t want to miss a game by boycotting, that just because they aren’t physically in the stadium it doesn’t mean they are supporting the team any less.

Of course there are those that will say the team will lose points with no home fans cheering them on (I’m not suggesting away games) and I accept this is a possibility, so it has to be timed right. It has to be ONLY when we have decent points on the table and are safe.

It also has to be done in a unified way, all supporters groups agreeing on a course of action, which games to pick and with well planned meetings, no bedsheets or yobs.

The key addition to the empty SJP factor is to (where possible) have people ‘selected’ for being interviewed on TV and Radio outside an empty SJP. A pre-agreed statement used by anyone when being interviewed, not simply saying “Ashley and Pardew oot!”, but an intelligently articulated statement.

The statement should be directed at Ashley and the Sports Direct brand, something along the lines of;

‘We as Newcastle United Supporters do not like the Sports Direct brand and everything it stands for, it sells cheap, tacky merchandise and employs the majority of its poorly paid workers on zero hours contracts.

We do not wish for NUFC to be associated with this brand and we do not wish NUFC and SJP to be used as an advertising vessel for this brand. We also do not believe it is fair that the advertising of the brand at SJP for free is acceptable or commercially sensible for NUFC.

We call on Mike Ashley to actively look for a buyer for the club as he and his Sports Direct brand are not welcome here.’

Now imagine the same message being used on the TV and Radio over and over again, in every newspaper and magazine. If that same message was used then the whole world would soon know our dislike for the brand ‘Sports Direct’ (rather than solely Ashley on his own,  that it will generate enough bad publicity that Ashley may wake up. He would then have to think about selling the club in order to protect his beloved ‘Sports Direct’ brand. I also think by doing it this way, the number of games that would have to be boycotted is dramatically reduced.

This is the first time I’ve ever written an article, let alone one on NUFC, so please be gentle! 🙂

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