We are so accepting of things at Newcastle United, yes the fans might talk endlessly about how crap things are, but come kick-off time at St. James’ Park there are over fifty thousand of us there.
No wonder Mike Ashley thinks he can get away with anything, plus to be honest pretty much every previous owner/Chairman who preceded him probably thought the same.
In the past it was for the most part a lack of skills and money of the owner(s) that prevented Newcastle United having the quality and depth behind the scenes, whereas now it is a calculated strategy by Ashley to leave United with a skeleton crew lacking what it needs to take the club forward.
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Pretty much every decently run club has a board of directors who meet regularly to decide overall policy and made broad decisions on how their club is run.
Then you have the employed management team who run the club on a day to day basis, working within the budgets and parameters set by the board of directors.
At Newcastle United they have a ‘board’ which consists of Mike Ashley, Managing Director Lee Charnley (AKA Penfold) and Finance Director John Irving.
The management team running United on a day to day basis are Managing Director Charnley, Finance bloke John Irving counting Mike Ashley’s takings and….errr, that’s about it.
Clubs that we are supposed to be trying to compete with, and I’m not just talking about Manchester United, Chelsea and the other obvious ones – every other Premier League club will have a team of people trying to drive their club forward with the help of a separate board of directors.
In the absence of any other people Mike Ashley can wheel out these days, we are told (by the local media amongst others) that there is no need to fear because Lee Charnley and Chief Scout Graham Carr will sort the new manager/head coach out.
Does anybody honestly believe that Carr and Charnley will have the final say on who gets the job?
Lee Charnley’s job is surely just to keep things ticking over at the club with responsibility for major decisions devolved to faceless people at Sports Direct and the likes of Ashley’s PR guru Keith Bishop.
Even if Charnley was the best in the business it is crazy to think that he can cover all the bases that properly run clubs have numerous people working on, trying to deliver commercial growth amongst other responsibilities.
At the so professionally ran Arsenal, Ivan Gazidis is Chief Executive at The Emirates and gets a reported £2m for the privilege, under him he has masses of the very best staff looking to make the club stronger and stronger.
Money doesn’t necessarily buy you everything but just as Alan Pardew was widely reported to be the worst paid Premier League manager, I’m guessing Lee Charnley will be down in the relegation zone compared to those at rival clubs when it comes to earnings.
Newcastle United’s search for a Pardew replacement is made to sound more and more like one of those old road trip movies and I have visions of Charnley and Carr throwing their suitcases in the back of the car and motoring off around Europe to interview Remi Garde, Tim Sherwood, Thomas Tuchel and whoever else crosses their path on this great quest.
Each day the newspapers come up with the latest list of contenders for the Newcastle job, chopping one or two off the bottom and adding a couple at the top.
I saw a headline earlier today saying something like ‘Ashley tells Penfold there’s no rush’ (the implication being that they are carefully trying to make sure they get the best candidate…), I would put my last pound on him having said exactly that sixteen days ago when Pardew walked.
Fifty thousand plus will be there on Saturday v Southampton, fans will be moaning about still no head coach appointed but will still be seriously talking as though there is a proper search going on to appoint a credible candidate who could take United forward. The more sensible will wonder at how we’ll get through the rest of the season without the quality striker and centre-back that should have been signed at least two years ago, two signings that Mike Ashley will have no intention of making them happen.
The new Head Coach will undoubtedly end up being somebody who is currently unemployed; Tuchel, Garde, Sherwood etc, or has a more minor role at another club, such as Carver or Glenn Hoddle who is a coach at QPR – any of which could be instantly appointed.
If Mike Ashley had any serious intention of appointing a candidate in a sensible amount of time, or of driving the club forward, then it would have been done two weeks ago and the new bloke would have his feet under the table and be helping to put together a plan on how success can be achieved in the coming years.
***For those of you who missed out on the classic ‘kids’ programme, DangerMouse is a wacky and hilarious adventure cartoon featuring a white secret agent mouse and his trusty bumbling sidekick assistant- Penfold. Penfold is lovingly daft and usually needs to be saved from one situation or another…
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