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Why Alan Pardew is right

6 years ago
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I took my decision last season to stop going to any more Toon matches until Mr Ashley leaves. This will be the first season in the last 45 years that I intend to miss all live games.

My friends think I’m mad because that won’t make any difference to our owner and of course they’re 100% right. It would only make a difference if 25,000 others followed suit, if they did then I’m convinced Ashley WOULD leave because a half empty stadium would be bad for his SD brand, his real love. Mine is a protest of principle. He won’t get another penny from me.

However, I can’t even persuade my immediate family to stop going to SJP, so I have little chance in persuading others. It’s a free world, and everyone’s opinion counts, but it dismays me when I talk to fellow Geordies on match days and they tell me that they are going to SJP primarily because they always have done and staying away “won’t make any difference to Ashley.” I disagree, but there you go.

I have to tell you that it’s not easy missing matches, and of course I follow every kick of the ball via various forms of media, but the club I have loved all my life has lost it’s heart and soul. The club is bigger than any individual and, when Ashley goes, let’s just hope we get an owner who has a sporting ambition and a set of values based on honesty and passion.

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It beggars belief how Ashley’s regime have lowered expectations and managed aspirations in the past few years. They have successfully convinced many thousands of Geordies (and millions outside the region) that we should be pleased to be competing with the likes of Hull and looking up at the likes of Southampton. To hear players and coaches backing the regime proves that the internal propaganda is working, and they are all “on message.”

I’m not one who believes that Pardew should be sacked for the benefit of the club. His results prove that he is, at best, a less than average manager and of course any better manager would get more out of the players and better results. But even taking a leap of faith and assuming our owner dipped his hand into his deep pockets to pay for a decent manager, wouldn’t that just prolong the Ashley agony?

The Ashley/Pardew love-in is sickening. They deserve each other. However, with regard to our ability to compete with clubs like Everton and Spurs, Alan Pardew is right.

Since Ashley bought the club, the increased TV money has more than paid him back for his ‘interest free’ loan, to say nothing of the vast difference in transfer fees between those players bought and sold. The owner has done very well financially and of course that is his prerogative.

But regarding the other 2 main areas of income which the regime can absolutely control, ie match day and commercial revenues, they have failed us miserably. Match day revenues are down because they have to sell cheap tickets to those who replace long time, but now disillusioned, supporters who were prepared to pay more for their seats, and there is no longer any waiting list for season tickets since Ashley’s personal financial ambition became clear.

Commercial revenues have been decimated because Ashley gives his SD brand free advertising. The result of this blatant financial mis-management is that our club can no longer compete with Everton, Spurs, and others. Pardew is right about that, but it’s entirely down to the efforts and actions of the people who run our club.

They have lowered our incomes and many peoples’ aspirations to turn us into a small club. Yes, we are a small club now, and can only complete with others in terms of numbers through the turnstiles.

So, whether we are relegated this year or we reach Ashley’s promised land of 10th again, thus ensuring all his cronies can earn their bonuses, I won’t be contributing to our owner’s bulging deep pockets.

I respect the thousands who keep going and voicing their opinions, and I respect those who stay away and do likewise. There is no right and wrong, but I just think that 50,000 people going to all home matches will simply prolong the agony. Watching Toon matches from a pub is actually great fun by the way.

I look forward to returning to SJP post-Ashley, and once again following a team that is likely to win nothing but has an ownership who at least will plough all income and our hard earned cash back into the club, and has the passion and ambition to aim for sporting success on the field.

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