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The Emperor’s new Donnay Tracksuit

7 years ago

Now let’s be honest, there’s no denying it, Mike Ashley is a very clever man. A very, very rich clever man. Hooray!!

But as the old Beatles song goes, money can’t buy you love. Does Mike Ashley care? Probably not, but it’s got to sting a bit when he’s ‘giving it large’ with his Cockerney geeza mates, lavishing them in his private box at St James’ with beer (in a glass glass), free food (hotdogs and crisps) and then walking them out to their padded Sports Direct seats…

“Behold, my kingdom. Behold my peasant minions who pay me their taxes. Behold my….!!”


“Get out of our club, get out of our cluuurbbbbb, you FAT Cockney Bast***…..” (you know the rest) 50 odd thousand people jeering and taunting the Emperor in his new clothes (Donnay Tracksuit).

Does he care? Like I say, probably not, but I can’t help feeling that even by his very ‘clever’ standards he has missed a trick… BIG TIME!! He could have had the best of both worlds.

He could have made a lot of money from the club like he already has done, but he could have made a hell of a lot more if he wasn’t so vain, greedy and pompous like the emperor in Hans Christian Anderson’s (no relation to Andreas Andersson) fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes.  If he had found, or at least attempted to find the balance between making money and giving the villagers (fans) what they deserved, then he could have been (dare I say it), a hero.

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Anyone who knows anything about football, knows Premier League clubs need to make money to exist. Owners and investors, buyers and shareholders are all just interested in making money. We know that. We know that Mike Ashley bought the club to make some money. Fair enough, nobody begrudged him that. But one thing that is unacceptable to me is the way that he is making vast amounts of money from Newcastle United with a total lack of respect for us fans, the people who pay him their hard earned money each week. His arrogance and utter contempt for the fans is unbelievable and in my opinion should be challenged by the footballing authorities. But who will dare to challenge the emperor? Nobody, he knows that. He is the emperor.

He has stripped the club of its integrity and its identity, using it as a tool to pedal his tat to the four corners of the earth and as long as we stay in the premiership and get beamed to 200 countries every weekend then he’s happy.  That’s all he needs and wants from our club, advertising. Job done.

Screw my dad, screw your dad, my son or your little nephew who get let down repeatedly every week, watching us getting comprehensively outplayed and outclassed by the mighty Cardiff or Leicester. As long as he can sell Bags for Life in Bolivia he’s happy.

The club is (and it pains me to say) one big joke. Mike Ashley is having a joke at our expense. He openly admits to not wanting to win ANYTHING. Not even a cup. No intention of doing anything other than trying to stay in the Premier League. Trying? TRYING!!!?? Should we not be trying to beat every team we play? Trying to get as high as we can in the league. Trying and win a cup? Is this not what football teams, or teams of any sport for that matter, try to achieve? Is that not the point in their exsistence? Seemingly not in the magical world of Emperor Ashley.

This coupled with the fact that he pulls the strings when it comes to transfers, effectively ensures we can’t ever win anything even if we want to. Therefore, we can only attract players who want to use us as a stepping stones to a bigger club (Ba, Remy, Cabaye, etc) and players that let’s face it, aren’t actually really premier league calibre (Anita, Williamson, Flipping Ferreyra!!). Buy them cheap, if they are any good, flog them for a profit, buy some more Kangol Onesies. Bish bash bosh!

We still get 52,000 at the games because we support Newcastle United, always have done, always will, and although it is maybe a bit clichéd nowadays, it is still a religion to some. It’s just a shame so many are losing their faith. So many devout followers have turned their backs and are now non-believers. The demographic is changing at the ground, it’s just not the same anymore. People have season tickets and are so dejected and depressed by this regime that they don’t even go to St James’ Park to watch their (Ashley’s) team,  they would rather sit in the pub and watch it. Fair enough, each to their own, but the sad thing is they can’t even give their tickets away because everyone else feels the same.

Anyway, we’ve heard all of this before, 1000 times before. Its depressing, I’m sorry, but what can we do? Protests, boycotts, banners and bed sheets? Not a lot I fear. Whilst the emperor is in power and surrounded by his yes men (Sir Charnley, Lord Carver et al) telling him how great he is and his Kappa trainers look mint, he is never going to loosen his grip on the club and let it breath again.

I don’t know what he is doing to poor old Rangers but it’s not good and horribly all too familiar.

I know many a Newcastle fan is hoping that Mike Ashley’s focus and Empire is moving north of Emperor Hadrian’s Wall but sadly I think not. I don’t think if he had to choose between the two, he would choose Rangers in a million years. No offence to Rangers as they are a proud and massive club (in Scotland), but unfortunately the Scottish Football doesn’t get beamed to 200+ countries every weekend and therefore he can’t spread the word of The Sports Crusades as far and as fast as he can with us. He might pedal a few more Rangers tops in his shops but he’ll be lucky if his Glasgow shops don’t get burnt down at this rate.

But this thing at Rangers just highlights what I’m on about. Why does he have to do it? Why does he have to crush people’s dreams and expectations just to make money? Is £4BILLION and counting not enough for one person? That’s £4,000,000,000 (count the zeroes). And that’s just a conservative estimate. Like I say, why couldn’t he have found the balance and everyone’s a winner?

Imagine, just imagine, that we got taken over by a BILLIONAIRE sports magnate, one of the richest men in the country…. Ah hold on…

Aye, we did. Nightmare as it turns out, not a dream. No fairytale romance for us. But imagine if he had invested? Invested in a quality manager (not just a yes man), invested in quality coaching staff (not just ‘local lads’ & more yes men), and invested in quality players (ones that we didn’t sell if they were any good).  Imagine if he hired top advisors who communicated with the fans, who told the emperor that renaming the stadium was a bad idea, who were able to negotiate better sponsorship deals then Wonga. Just imagine.

It’s not too much to ask for is it? Other clubs seem able to do it, why can’t we? That’s not fairytale stuff surely? Just to remind everyone, (in a Dr Evil voice)

‘We are owned by a multi-billionaire sports magnate!!! Mwuhahahaha!!!’

So why not find the balance? Surely if the club was successful then it would make more money. Speculate to accumulate (Like that one Mike? I also got a BTEC in Business). No, but seriously, if you own a football club, then surely you would want it to do well?

You get more games on Sky you get – more money.

You finish higher up the league – more money.

You get more people buying merchandise both at home and abroad as you increase your fan base – more money.

You have a couple of cup runs (god forbid maybe even winning one) which in turn raises the profile of your club and therefore raises the profile of Sports Direct, thus… yup you got it – more money.

Like I say though, he’s the billionaire businessman, I’m not. He’s probably got a master plan to make him even more money. I haven’t, I’m just fed up with it all.

The saddest thing of all for me is though, is when people think of Newcastle United nowadays, they don’t think of Jackie Milburn, they don’t think of Gazza or Alan Shearer. No, they think of Mike Flipping Ashley and that incessant Sports advert. But I suppose that’s the point…

Well done Mr Ashley, I’m sure that’s a great achievement for you but unfortunately you will go down in the annals of time as being synonymous with a cheap sportswear firm and the personification of greed. Thing is though, there have been much richer people before you, and there will be richer people after you. Your money doesn’t impress us.

Newcastle United was here long before you invaded and will be here long after you have gone.

So you just enjoy whatever it is you do. Mincing around your castle in your big Diadora XXL nappy  singing “Who wants to be a Millionaire” perhaps? You just enjoy that big fella, I’m sure you’ve done your family proud. You really are a great man, a great role model, an emperor of emperors.

But just remember these words from the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caeser 42BC – AD37,

“It is the duty of a great emperor to shear his sheep, not skin them”

(or fleece them as the case may be)

You can follow the author on Twitter @MartinPayne17


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