For millions of people in the UK and certain other parts of Europe, there is only really one choice for sports equipment, and like it or not that is Sports Direct.

The reason for this is simple, it’s cheap.

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The aggressive pricing, huge range and almost total market domination has seen competitors driven out of business, others facing much reduced profits, all of them utterly defeated by the ‘stack em high, sell em cheap’ ethos of Mike Ashley’s retail empire.

The problem for Newcastle United is that this is the same way in which the club is being run, and it is the absolute antithesis of what is required to be successful in football.

Now, to quantify something which is obvious, there is a huge difference between footballing success and financial success.

Mike Ashley is being extremely successful in his running of the club if his aim, as was suggested by Sir John Hall, is to use the club solely as an advertising vehicle for Sports Direct, and every single fan, even those like me who do not give him a penny, are guilty of helping him by association.

There are degrees of complicity, and whilst I may not be actively involved in the handing over of my money, I am certainly guilty of making a noise (along with many others) and drawing attention to the plight of the club So if the old saying of ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’ holds true, then even we dissenters are working for the Sports Direct advertising machine.

What other choice do we have though?

Back to the running of the football club and it is plain to see that there was never any serious intention to bring in any genuine, proven quality to the squad. Players fitting this description cost serious money, in excess of £10m, and the club shows absolutely no intention of spending that sort of money and spending it the number of times required to make any meaningful improvement to the squad.

Even if the club signed a player such as the much linked Charlie Austin or Bas Dost today, it would not be enough, they would have to go and spend similar amounts another three or four times to make the improvement required to the first team which many feel was hinted at by the owner, and blatantly stated by the former temporary head coach. It won’t happen.

I have stated before that cost does not always equal value, but that is if you’re in a position to gamble on potential, which NUFC clearly are not.

We have gambled for years now on loans, cheap imports, youngsters, other clubs reserves and lower league players, where has that taken us?

newcastle united

Any time we have unearthed a good player they have been sold for profit, or left for pastures new, for a genuine chance of success and a pay packet more befitting of the industry.

Sure we can call them mercenaries if it makes us feel better, but the reality is that they are just looking for their worth in an inflated field of employment, wouldn’t we all do the same?

The sad truth is that words do not matter, potential is not realised and years of this insane policy has left a squad bloated with players who simply are not good enough. Riviere, Willo, Obertan, Gouffran and the list goes on and on.

Thanks to this policy we have squad places taken up by bodies who will never be Premier League footballers, and like Einstein’s theoretical definition of insanity, it looks as though the policy will continue unabated in the vain hope of uncovering another Cabaye, Debuchy or Carroll.

Unfortunately the market is now wise to this, and coupled with the poor name which the club now has in football, it seems that these ‘buy low, sell high’ bargains are a thing of the past.

The time has arrived when only serious and real investment will see the club’s fortunes improve, but seemingly the club has no intention of doing this, and instead those who found hope in the owner’s scripted interview will find scant comfort in his hollow words, as the chickens come home to roost for this once great institution.

Personally speaking, I will not shed a tear for either Mike Ashley or Newcastle United if next season goes the same as the last, or worse. I keep mentioning and remembering the statement made, containing the cryptic statement about the owner not selling until “at least Summer 2016”, a statement which I believe did not receive the attention it deserved.

I think that here we saw the true intentions for the club, to have one last suck on the Premier League teat before being discarded like an empty bottle.

What should stick in the throat of every single Newcastle United supporter is that we have allowed this to happen and will now and forever be seen as mug punters ripe for conquest.

We are as easily swayed by cheap and long-term season ticket deals as the customers of a pound shop reaching for a value four pack of baked beans.

City Hall Gifts - shop.themag.co.uk


  • Demented_Man

    Spot on.  I’ve thought for some time now that foreign clubs, particularly French ones, have become wise to Newcastle’s tactics of buying cheap and selling on for a profit.  Hence why Graham Carr, once seen as an ideal scout for good, moderately priced players, is now attracting criticism.
    Newcastle now need to cough up for quality.  They won’t, of course.
    You can’t fool all the people all the time, although Ashley is having a good try.

  • Ali Gilhome

    The Mag basher strikes again!

  • TonnekToon

    Demented_Man That’s right , they’re not daft , they can see us coming . You’ll start to see it in Spain , Holland and Germany . Chickens roosting springs to mind . Tightwad [email protected] !

  • ncncnc

    how many times are you going to write the same article in slightly different ways?

  • kuromori

    Worth remembering a  few years back, the club cited the Arsenal model of buying low and selling high. Funny how as soon as Arsenal started shelling out big bucks for top players, the model shifted.
    It’s all smoke and mirrors with this lot, just like the five year plan which, erm, ended last year. D’oh!

  • Demented_Man

    ncncnc What do you want him to say exactly?  Cheer everyone up with music hall jokes while his club is being taken to the dogs?

    Idiot.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    kuromori Yes indeed . Arsenal, rapidly downgraded to the Villa model – which has clearly been as successful as Ashley’s!

    Bottom line remains that as long as we have an owner who is not prepared to spend any more of his own money (rather than just club generated surplus) – we’ll never see anything different.

    More Sky money simply means domestic and foreign clubs will want more of it too. ‘Not rocket science, but a dagger to the heart of the country’s tightest multi Billionaire.