Measuring Newcastle United success under Mike Ashley
How do you measure success at Newcastle United under Mike Ashley?
I only ask because I have seen numerous journalists in recent days claiming Newcastle fans should be apologising to Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew after recent results.
United fans being figuratively battered by the media because they had the audacity to be unhappy that their team had won only five Premier League matches between 27 December 2013 and 17 October 2014, ten months of dismal failure which followed on from the previous season when the club were only saved from relegation a week before the end of the season.
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What should be the measurement of success under Mike Ashley then.
Winning trophies is how most clubs are judged but as Newcastle fans who haven’t seen their club win a trophy for 45 years, it would be harsh to use that as the only measure of success for the current owner.
So what is fair?
Well, look at the following defining features of Newcastle United;
Third best supported club in Premier League.
The only club in the City.
One of seven biggest turnovers in Premier League every season.
City centre location.
Modern stadium with massive banqueting and conference facilities to drive income on non-match days.
A great history and tradition.
Owned by one of the richest people in the UK, who is in top handful of richest Premier League club owners.
What does all the above tell us? Well to me it says that Newcastle United have many of the elements to be one of the most successful clubs in England and potentially Europe.
How about though the minimum we should expect as fans?
All of these factors are positives for Newcastle United but the one that surely can’t be twisted and sidetracked is that despite all the free advertising and lack of drive to get commercial revenue in, United are in the top seven turnovers every season.
Put simply, more money comes into Newcastle United than all but six other clubs. How much more money could be generated with an ambitious owner is just too frustrating to think about too much, in my belief though it could and would equate to tens of millions each season.
Newcastle have this monetary advantage season after season and all things been equal, should surely equate to United being in the top seven every season, or at least most of them give or take the odd blip.
Which is actually the case for the other six of those seven clubs in the top seven turnovers – neutrals expect Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, SPurs and the two Manchester clubs to automatically be top six and at the end of the season would count it as failure for them if they were seventh or lower come May.
So why shouldn’t we judge Newcastle United by the same criteria?
Under Mike Ashley we have seen the following Premier League finishes;
2009/10 In the Championship
By my reckoning, Newcastle have achieved (relative) success once in seven years under Mike Ashley, finishing fifth in 2011/12. (Using this top seven criteria, if you then also apply it to the domestic cups – reaching the last eight of the League and FA Cup should be the norm, only this season in the League Cup has this been achieved in 15 attempts).
Even using the latest official club/Mike Ashley Top Ten measure of ‘success’ (as repeated at the latest Fans Forum), United have only managed that ‘achievement’ twice, with last season being by the skin of the teeth.
Until Newcastle are a permanent feature in at least the top seven then Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew (or who succeeds him) will be failures.
We should not ‘expect’ trophies but what we do expect is the club to be competing at the right end and do everything in their power to make it happen.
Kevin Keegan (consecutive finishes of 3rd, 6th, 2nd, 2nd) and Sir Bobby Robson (4th, 3rd and 5th) showed what Newcastle United could be and where its natural place was.
While certain factors have of course changed over the years, the advantages Newcastle United have over most other clubs still remain and should be the building blocks for growth year on year, allowing the club to gather strength and have the capacity to compete.
If fans are still ‘moaning’ then, the media of this country will then have the right to be asking Newcastle fans to apologise to the owner and manager of our great football club.
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