From despair to where?
Not another article trawling over the circumstance surrounding Newcastle United’s current (constant?) predicament?
No, there has been more than enough of those and I have written more than my fair share.
The details have been analysed, opinions given, stats collated and the conclusion reached (by most) is that the owner is to blame. We know this.
So what now? Where does Newcastle United go from here in the short, medium and long term? We find ourselves mired in the relegation zone and posing about as much threat to the opposition goal as Tony Blair does to winning a Nobel Peace prize. The injuries mount up, the points don’t, so what needs to change?
Aston Villa, in a similar situation to ourselves in terms of league form, have taken the step of dispatching Tim Sherwood. No doubt they are hoping for the new manager bounce effect to help provide a little momentum as players try to impress.
It might work and leave the two North East ‘giants’ adrift leading into the all-important festive period, but I doubt that it is a course of action which will be implemented by our owner. Just as with Pardew before him I can see Schteve benefitting from the long term support (well, not being sacked) of the owner, unless he decides to walk himself.
As many rightly point out, even if the manager was relieved of his duties, who in their right mind would replace him?
The job has become such a poison chalice and the perceived revolving door such a joke, that interest in the job from serious contenders to make a difference would surely be minimal.
The biggest hurdle of course for any new man would be the rotund form of the owner and his stringent policy of the club ‘wiping its own nose’, which roughly translates to zero investment followed by foolish investment. The club’s buying policy being a major contributor to current circumstance.
So a new manager is probably not on the cards, what about a new chairman?
Penfold is undoubtedly unpopular, a glorified office junior and clipboard holder promoted well beyond his abilities, solely on the basis of unwavering loyalty, seems to be the public impression. I don’t know the man but his public utterances and actions as chairman have done little to show me that public opinion is not, at least partly, based in fact.
The manner in which he ignored the fans forum (towards end of last season) shows a tremendous lack of respect for supporters and makes hollow his new dawn of communications from the club. I believe that the biggest legacy we will be left with from the reign of Charmless, as he is so aptly nicknamed, will be his troublesome efforts to control the club’s public image through attempting to manipulate the media, boy did that one back fire.
The simple fact is though that Mike Ashley values loyalty to his vision above all else, and Penfold certainly is loyal, so not much chance of change in the boardroom.
So no new manager, and no new chairman looks to be happening any time soon, what about a new owner?
Ever since the acrimonious departure of Kevin Keegan, after which the owner admitted to intentionally deceiving the staff and fans of Newcastle United, rumours have come and gone about the owner selling up.
Firstly, the opportunity was missed to make us into what Man City are now, and then local businessman Barry Moat saw his attempted buyout thwarted by ever changing price quotations, but is there anyone out there who would want to buy Newcastle United?
As always the biggest obstacle is the owner and his valuation of the club, like all Premier League clubs we are a cash cow, thanks to the huge TV contract money, commanding sums of money so large they are difficult to pass up even for a billionaire.
Then there is the worldwide television advertising afforded to the current owner’s other business interests for free, another fantastic perk which is very difficult to resist.
As has been alluded to in the past there also appears to be some confusing dealings and movement concerning club assets and images, which would more than likely complicate any future sale as Mike Ashley seeks to retain commercial control over the club’s retail contracts.
In short, thanks to the owner we are hardly an attractive purchase.
So far then, a change of manager would no difference, a change of chairman seems extremely unlikely and a new owner would have to be that rare combination of unfeasibly rich, and generous to a fault when it comes to image and commercial revenue, so what else is there?
New players? Our buying model only allows the purchase of players whose instant impact cannot be guaranteed and will probably be limited due to them being young and (mostly) foreign, so not much difference there then.
I doubt that even the most optimistic supporter would hold hope of the policy being changed and the club recruiting the players it actually needs, rather than those which Graham Carr feels could potentially be flogged for big money.
So what is left of the club after all this has been set in stone and unlikely or unable to change?
What else can drive the required change from within that could yet see Newcastle United restore a measure of pride?
It’s obvious isn’t it?
It is the only thing which has ever drawn a reaction from Mike Ashley during his time as owner, it’s what used to make our famous club the envy of many and it is what our reputation was both built and broken by, us the fans.
This is the most frustrating part of it all for me. It’s clear that Mike Ashley is the classic pantomime villain, full of his own self-importance and acting with reckless impunity for his own ends, but we do nothing.
We hide under our bed covers whilst the burglar helps himself to the crown jewels time and time again. We read bold statements around the internet that the fans are the club, and nowhere is this more true than Newcastle United.
The fans are a true reflection of the club, divided, cowardly and putting their own comfort ahead of the obvious danger ahead. This is a club on its knees and the famous Toon Army is kneeling with it rather than helping it up, despite being the only force left that could.
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