It was an unlikely set of events that led to the moment when Mike Ashley knew for sure that Newcastle United were the right club to suit his plans.

Sir John Hall had already made public why Mike Ashley had bought the club, having personally banked £90m from his involvement with the club, Hall said that Ashley had made clear to him that his central reason for buying Newcastle United was to use the club to promote Sports Direct and the rest of his brands, especially overseas development and expansion.

mike ashleyWith the Premier League having become the ‘World’ league, the TV deals agreed all around the globe, meant pretty much every country in the world had English football beamed into their TV sets, giving them all the opportunity to watch Premier League football and the advertising around the pitch/stadium.

When Newcastle fans heard what Hall had to say about Ashley’s intentions, we all pretty much thought the same thing – surely it is a win/win situation for new club owner and the supporters because surely the more successful the team is on the pitch, then the more successful the advertising will be around the ground.

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The fact no money was going into the club from the advertising for Sports Direct and all Ashley’s other brands was surely irrelevant, as it was a no-brainer that the new owner would make sure there was proper investment in  the squad to make sure it was as high in the league as possible and try and compete in other competitions such as the FA and League Cup.

If only we’d known then what we know now…

If you remember, Mike Ashley did back his manager with money initially, unfortunately it was the already incumbent Sam Allardyce who he backed. A fair amount was spent on buying Smith, Enrique, Barton and others as well as over the top wages, while the massive contracts handed to the free agents Viduka and Geremi were eye-wateringly obscene.

Big money was also spent the next summer despite fat Sam badly burning Ashley’s fingers, Kevin Keegan may have had no say in who came in but over £20m alone was spent on Coloccini, Jonas and Xisco, though to help ensure Keegan would leave after he’d made his feelings known, Ashley then vindictively sold James Milner for £12m after KK had said how important the player was to Newcastle.

The rest as they say is history and the Mike Ashley inspired chaos ended up with everything falling apart and relegation followed.

At that point I do think Mike Ashley thought he’d made a massive mistake in buying Newcastle and was actively looking to sell the club, though in reality the mistakes were all about who he was placing his trust in; people such as Vetere, Wise, Jiminez and others, rather than those who knew what they were doing such as Kevin Keegan.

Then a marvellous thing happened, especially for Mike Ashley.

Chris Hughton was given the job just because he was cheap and available, with he and his players strolling back to the Premier League despite wholesale selling of the players who could be shifted.

This (promotion) was great news for the fans and Mike Ashley, but it wasn’t the real moment of enlightenment that proved to Ashley what an inspired move he’d made when he bought Newcastle.

Instead it was what happened off the pitch, or more to the point, on the terraces.

After doing everything he could to upset and drive away the fans; relegation, undermining legends Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan, appointing Dennis Wise and Joe Kinnear, constant conflict with the fans….

To Mike Ashley’s amazement, the fans didn’t revolt and stay away, instead they continued to queue up and give him money and give the perfect backdrop to his overwhelming advertising around the stadium.

That Championship season saw Newcastle post an average home attendance of 43,384. Only Manchester United and Arsenal had more people turn up to watch them. Manchester City just beat Newcastle’s average with 45,513 but with four extra home matches in the second tier, United’s total number of fans over the season was higher.

mike ashleyWho needs Champions League football when you can have Champions League (Top four) crowds guaranteed, even when you get relegated!

Big Mike couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t have done more to turn the fans away if he’d tried, yet still they refused to stop going to the match.

The reach of Championship TV was limited but now the Newcastle United owner knew he had his golden goose, so long as the club stayed in the Premier League he couldn’t fail.

Nearly five years later we all are a lot more clued up. If Mike Ashley had bought Aston Villa he wouldn’t still own that club, they would be getting crowds of twenty thousand in a half filled ground and the pictures beamed out to the worldwide audience would make his advertising look as shabby as the inside of his Sports Direct stores. Banks of empty seats relaying the message that SD and his other brands were rubbish by association.

No fan should be saying to somebody else that they are stupid for going to watch their team, it isn’t any of our faults that we were landed with this cynical manipulator as an owner.

You can decide to stay away from matches yourself and not give Ashley your money and more importantly your body (as a supporting figure to his advertising) as a protest but how can you demand others do it, when for all we know we might never get rid of Mike Ashley, though I do think he could well be preparing to leave once he gets the price offered which could see his investment potentially double in value on what he has spent in total. Not even counting everything he has gained in the meantime, such as the free advertising for his empire.

Personally, I’m not going to give him my money or my body at St. James’ Park, I won’t return until he leaves.

newcastle unitedWe now know exactly why survival in the Premier League is his only aim, spending money to compete just looks like stupidity to him. If he spent money helping Newcastle into the top six or seven every season which would be almost guaranteed (in my opinion) with sensible investment, Ashley would only see it as a trap whereby he would have to keep spending money to maintain that position. Rather than what he has done and will continue to do until he leaves, just provide enough money to stay up, sell off any signings that really prove successful, then bank that surplus and the extra TV riches. While the worldwide advertising continue to support his ever growing empire.

If you accept what I have outlined above then it becomes very obvious as well, why Mike Ashley sees the Cups as something to get out of as quickly as possible.

It isn’t the fact that the actual matches don’t generate that much cash by getting to the later stages, it is the oh so obvious fact that the FA Cup gives you only a fraction of the worldwide exposure/advertising that he gets week in week out in the Premier League.

I dream of the day that we are released from these Mike Ashley shackles. Newcastle United can be great again and with a certain level of ambition it would be almost guaranteed.

We are indeed our own worst enemies, we love the club far too much and meeting up with our friends and families to have a laugh and worship at St. James’ Park.

Sadly, we had a very very sly predator who saw way beyond what others could and he had a business plan where Newcastle United were truly the only club that fitted his evil designs.

We were swallowed whole and like Jonas inside the whale, it has taken many of us far longer than it should have to realise exactly what has happened.

Hopefully when our multi-billionaire burps us out, we will still be in a fit state to enjoy what happens after he leaves the club and fans to our own devices.

  • Geordie1

    If you have a Conscience or Regret Ashley just go now, you are not wanted.

  • Shaker_Shakrah

    I am not in UK 
    But i think 1 person can’t order 50,000 to stop attending SJP haha looool 
    They won’t do it
    for me as a Newcastle fan , , , watching the team in this era is not worthy & it’s a disgrace 
    but can you blame the fans for going to watch their team at SJP ? NO . . .

  • nosha1954

    Ashley would have sold up by now if supporters had stopped going to sjp,he dislikes everything about us except our money.

  • ToonBano

    Very good. All on deaf ears im afraid but good read

  • wor monga

    Look it’s a free country Dale, and you’re not being forced
    to support the club or pay anything into Ashley’s pocket…believe it or not…everybody
    is aware what he wants the club for, even Hall knew it back then because Ashley
    ‘made no bones about it’…but he was the only one showing him the money, and he ‘took
    his hand off’. Stay away or keep faith in the B&W’s…the choice is yours
    alone to make!!

  • GeorgiaPeter

    POrciestreet;
    He is cancerous…Cashley Out. ASAP.

  • sausages75

    Totally agree with this article, also if we were to win a cup then that would mean Europe and then that would mean a bigger squad needed, he would have to spend more on transfer fees and more on wages and he simply won’t do it. I’m not going back as long as Ashley is there as there is zero ambition at the club. Look I’m not demanding us to be winning the league etc but at least try and build a team to challenge the top 6 and Newcastle United are more than capable of being a top 6 club.
    Ashley has no plans to make us a good team and is over the moon with mid table.
    It’s scandalous what he’s doing with a great football club and he doesn’t care that Newcastle fans don’t want him. He’s making profit and that’s all he’s here for.

  • mrkgw

    The sooner he ships out the better, on that most if not all, are agreed. The man is despised and to continue as he does, is absolute arrogance in spade loads. Near enough as bad, is the highly uninspiring Charnley. The bloke isnt fit to be at St James – awful. I certainly dont think that Sir John Hall should be absolved of any blame in this either. Yes, I will be eternally grateful to have lived through the unforgettable Keegan roller coaster but to sell to Ashley is near unforgivable. And for that, when Ashley goes, so should the name ‘Sir John Hall’ stand.

  • mrkgw

    Agreed 100% but though we keep saying it, action is needed and quickly. Quite how he can be ousted, I’m not sure. Supporters will never stay away at St James so an alternative move is needed. Protests are fragmented, media speak out and they are banned. Difficult one but I would have liked to have seen NUST take more of an active front against the parasites running things. Charnley and Ashley – absolutely despicable beings.

  • Groovejackson

    Here’s the thing, Mike Ashely has exposed and capitalized on the profitability of continued mid table existence. When Mike eventually moves on does anyone honestly think that another businessman with an equally ruthless brand won’t slip into the vacancy and continue with the same model? MA has set a precedent. Great for business. Terrible for fans. The sustaining of mediocrity.

  • Conman

    The question I have and would like others views is , Why will he sell up ?
    He’s making money, filling the ground and getting free advertising all around the world. I just can’t see him selling up and going to Rangers. I just don’t get although would love it to happen. (Sorry Rangers).
    Why would he sell his cashcow ?

  • geordyjim

    So the fans should go and enjoy the game, only that doesnt happen very often. Instead of staying away why not go (to a televised game) with a bag full of gobstoppers , and cooperation of away fans??and give the fat lad the silent treatment, the media would love that but fat lad wont.

  • stevennufc

    cant agree more….fatty arbuckle made his billions selling tat……buy it cheap and sell it cheap,why change the habit of a lifetime!….no intention of challenging for anything,survival at all costs, sad really that sensible people cant see it….maybe one day the penny will drop!….till then just put up with the tat.

  • Conman

    I think we can see it Steven. We just don’t like it. Some though are happy to put up with it and that makes getting rid of him all the harder.

  • Conman

    It’s one of those Better the Devil you know moments. I agree.
    But I’d rather take my chances with a new owner and cross my fingers. Let’s face it, could it be worse ?

  • Conman

    He needs to be made to feel uncomfortable and that his brand could suffer as a result. At the minute every single person who has voted with his feet has been replaced by a sheep.
    The crowds need to drop. We need to shat on his brand. We need to protest against Stoke. We have got rid of everyone he has put in place. We just need to topple the king. Cheque mate !

  • MikeAshleyLies

    If only not going had any impact whatsoever.  Unfortunately supporters have never been less of a concern for the club. Tickets could be given away without much of an adverse impact.

  • tyneside tommo

    The only club that fitted his evil designs … if he had a cat he could try for a part in James Bond

  • Maximus Moose

    tyneside tommo He`d make a good Goldfinger

  • tyneside tommo

    Maximus Moose tyneside tommo lol

  • beardsleys cat

    Good article and very true.

  • Phildene

    It’s the sheep who are still going who are spoiling things and why do they still go? to sit in morbid silence watching dross. Now if anyone thinks thats going and enjoying your football, they must be out of their little heads-but thats exactly what 50+k do-totally inexcusable! 

    We think we’ve heard just about every conceivable stupid pathetic excuse from these so called supporters, who simply can not, in all reality, justify going and what;s happening is fans are turning against each other and I’m sure it could only happen at this club.

    You bet your sweet life Ashley would’t like it at all -a half empty stadium being shown on tv-just think of all the negative media/press it would get, it would’t do his SD empire any good at all, BUT to get this is unquestionably hard, nigh on impossible.

    We were season ticket holders until a couple of seasons ago, but won’t be going back until Ashley goes and  yes, we are true supporters

  • Fozzyworld

    Football is a sport, teams should do all they can to win every game, even if it can’t always happen. Any cynical deviation from this philosophy should be stamped out by the FA. Then rich people like Cashley couldn’t buy something he knows nothing about and cares even less and exploit it for his own gratification. Come on FA make him have some humility.
    Foz.

  • beardsleys cat

    Phildene baaa baaa from the east stand……I can’t help but go.Its a day with my mates before and after the game.After 27 years its hard to walk away must of been hard for you.