Inside St James Park, Newcastle fans must remain positive, whatever the situation with Mike Ashley.

Opinions are a funny old thing. I once had a 15 minute chat with Mike Ashley and I am not ashamed to say that I bottled it. I didn’t tell him what I really thought of him, because it wasn’t the right time, and especially wasn’t the right place to do so. Instead, we spoke briefly about Newcastle United, the game we had just watched, but chose to talk about other non-football related things.

The funny thing about supporting Newcastle United, is that unlike other fanbases in the UK, of which I have good knowledge of a few (Celtic, West Ham, Norwich City, Sunderland), we all hold such diverse opinions on our football club.

However, one thing we all agree on is that Mike Ashley is a proven liar, and as soon as he leaves Newcastle United, the better. No longer is this just a common held opinion, I believe it to be a fact.

At work, at school, in the pubs, on the radio, on The Mag, twitter and Facebook, we all give our opinions. We can all say what we want, because in truth, it has no effect or impact on anything. Slagging off Aleksandar Mitrovic would be very different if I was to do it to his face, it might negatively affect his performance on the pitch.

One place where attitudes do have an effect is on the terraces, as those vibes cross over directly onto the pitch. For the moment, I think it is imperative that inside SJP, fans must continue to back the team and the manager. Regardless of opinions on tactics, or player performance.

That is, at all times this season, as it was against Tottenham on the opening day, the atmosphere in the stadium has to be positive. Given the circumstances, I do not think that room can be allowed for any negative vibes on match day, even if it is just for one game.

Remember what happened the last time? Newcastle 1-2 Hull City. A protest that at the time was completely justified, a very negative atmosphere, which I don’t think there is any doubt contributed to the defeat on the day. I was one of a number of people that day who thought ‘a defeat might actually be a good thing’, at the very least I don’t think I cared too much about the score that day at all. However, by the end of the 2008/2009 season, we were relegated by 1 point, behind Hull City. That should be a stark reminder to everyone about the impact just one negative atmosphere can have upon a whole season.

I must admit, at the moment, I don’t think Rafa Benitez will or can go anywhere. This is a guy who is football mad and wants to be on a training pitch every day. It is extremely unlikely that he is going to leave England again.

This means that unless he takes a national job which requires temporary time away from home, there is nowhere in England for him to go. For the moment, I think Rafa is stuck with Mike Ashley, and Newcastle United, as he knows it’s also the best job that he can get at the moment (although given West Ham’s poor start to the season that could all change).

Granted, it is hard not be worried about our chances of survival at the moment. However, I think it is almost a certainty that if Benitez was to leave then we would go down. This is not because I think that Rafa is the greatest manager of all time, far from it, but because this squad is so poor that I don’t know who could come in and galvanise them to perform better than they would under Benitez. What’s more is, with the likes of Manquillo, Lejeune, Merino and Joselu all coming in possibly due to a Spanish connection with Rafa, how much of the squad would respond to a new manager?

As fans, all we can do is everything possible to make sure that Benitez stays. He needs to feel the love.

Jamie Carragher recently said that it was “Rafa Benitez negativity that was affecting the squad”. I think we all know that this is pure rubbish. I actually expect better from the likes of Carragher, I can only think that he said it to provoke some sort of reaction for the purposes of live TV. Everyone knows, including the players I imagine, that problems at the club are not to do with Rafa. They also know that Rafa is about as professional as they come when it comes to football side of things.

That 2008/09 goes to show that every point in this league can be a big point. Even with the poor team that we have, what Benitez does guarantee you is a squad that trains professionally, a game plan (even though I often think he is too negative), the correct attitude and high fitness levels. Regardless of how this season goes, I don’t think we could do any better without Benitez as manager. The key for the moment is making sure that he feels the love, that he doesn’t walk away from Newcastle united.

For some strange reason the past few match days I found myself humming the song from Billy Elliott, ‘solidarity solidarity solidarity’, but instead changing solidarity to positivity. Bit weird I know, but you should try it, it’s quite catchy!

I think Mike Ashley is a big fat liar and it is likely that he always will be. However, St James Park, especially this season, is not the place to start that fight again. The reason being? For the moment, Mike Ashley isn’t going anywhere. The fans, like I think Rafa is doing at the moment, need to pick our fights with the owner. I can’t see how a fight now would lead to any sort of positive outcome.

We need Rafa, and he needs us at the moment, which is why the absolute bare minimum that any fans can do is to get behind the team to make up for that lack of quality on the pitch.

So long as we are all inside SJP and the 90 minutes are running on the clock, there can only be one message; Positivity Positivity Positivity.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Paul Busby

    The wallet is the only place you can attack a man like Mike Ashley.

    • Jimblag23

      He’ll probably be shot one day and his wallet in the jacket pocket will save him.

      • Geordiegiants

        Let’s hope it’s soon.

  • goalseeker

    Sorry Paul we can not hit this man in the pocket he has one or two pennies more than the rest of us put together. The man is a gambler who lives on the edge, everything is a bet to him our relegation was just a bet he lost and his attitude was what is next. He is known to say what he has to say to get his way. We have seen so many times that he has said one thing and when push comes to shove he says another in such a way that he believes that is what he said in the first place. He will not leave the club until some one either shoots him or more like push a big wad of notes in his hand. If someone offers enough money for him to turn a good profit on his outlay he could go. I listen to every interview and try to hear what is behind the words he is using, what his body language says. The only thing that lets him down is a liar has to have a good memory and he has not got one. But what it means is that some interviewer sometime has to call him on what he has said and what he has done. The last few interviews have been PR exercises with the interviewer not asking demanding questions. Listen to the same interviewer talk to a politician and then Ashley they are a pussy cat in Ashley’s hands. With a politician they demand answers and will not let the politician off the hook interrupting him and demanding answers, that is the sort of interview Ash should be confronted with. Now which interviewer will do it?

    • Jimblag23

      He probably gives a little back hander to the interviewer.
      He should of been asked about bolting the horse to the cart and what all that schitt was about.

    • Danimal

      Given that he’s unwilling/unable to run it properly, he should be willing to sell at break-even. It is unreasonable to run it into the ground but still demand a massive premium on his investment, which presumably he has done, given the total lack of interest from potential buyers.

  • Soldier

    Plenty of clubs for Rafa to go to, that`s the least of his worries

  • Jimblag23

    😫 is there one billionaire geordie out there?
    Please buy the club…please?

    • Geordiegiants

      It doesn’t need a Geordie billionaire, although it would be nice, just someone that is big enough and brave enough, that the fans would follow, like Sir John hall all those years back. Jabba has said he wants to sell, why can’t the fans, the local businesses, the community, the city council even, do something to get the ball rolling.

      • Steve Pearce

        A lot of you are now warming to the idea of a buy out. The more of us make a noise about this the more someone will listen who has the means to make this happen. I wonder if there are any Mags in the rich Arab countries who know connected and influential locals who could make this happen. Moslems frown upon disrespectful and dishonest people who care nothing for the people they hurt and this could be a good lever to pry this disgusting person from our club.

        • Geordiegiants

          No thanks.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Not the City council thanks but yes, talk is very cheap.

      • paul mclaughlan

        The Hall’s cyphoned over £300 million from The Toon. Might’ve been fun at the start. Went downhill rather quickly.

        • Geordiegiants

          I’m well aware of that and so is everyone else, the thing is, at first he offered it to the fans, he set up a share scheme to get us to buy it. He got himself all tied up and had no choice but to buy the rest of the shares and primarily the club, he saw an opportunity to get out and jumped with his cash. He did however try to take the club forward as well as make money.

  • Alan Pardew

    I am hoping the owner is starting to get a little bit more respect. I don’t think we are ever going to win everybody over … but at least you can logically look at it and say we are in a much better position than most Premier League clubs in terms of our financial position.

    • GToon

      Yes Alan, we’ll probably be balance sheet champions again this season even if we do go down. Lets see the Chelsea’s and Man City’s of this world laugh then. I bet their league or cup success won’t taste half as good knowing that our net spend is close to zero or even better if we manage to sell our best player.

  • Steve Pearce

    The headline should have read: “I had a 15 minute conversation with Mike Ashley and bottled him”

    • GToon


    • Geordiegiants

      If I spent 15 mins with him I wouldn’t be able to help myself bottling him.

      • MadMag83

        If Ashley had been drinking there would be plenty of empty bottles around!

      • Jimblag23

        My ex girlfriends dad had premium seating at the hawthorns and I went to that game where Darlow made a clanger on his debut. I was sat a matter of feet away from Chumpley and it was so tempting to abuse/bottle/murder him.
        I only didn’t because I’d of outed myself as a toon fan in the West Brom end.

        • Geordiegiants

          Ha ha lol, it must of been very difficult that.

    • Taz

      Totally agree, but he also said if he had told mitro and slagged him off to his face this might effect his game! I think it would effect someone and it wouldn’t be mitro, but at least that outcome would be something interesting to read….,.smash,bang wallop!!!!l

  • Leicester Mag

    Thought for a minute half reading this during a TC you’d bottled him !

  • HappyToons

    I spent 15 minutes with him and got a job at Sports Direct on £7 an hour and hours are only 24/7. He laughed when he asked who I supported (“NUFC”) and said when he was a boy he couldn’t get on his school team because the games teacher said he was too fat and useless.The Games Teacher was a Geordie and wore a toon shirt; he made a vow from that day to destroy anything to do with Newcastle. Would you believe it, on my first day he had me locked up for allegedly pilfering a pair of diadora socks and an arrow sports head band. I had the last laugh, as on remand I sold the headband to another NUFC lad from Jarrow and am wearing the diadora socks!

    The above sums us up. Anyone wearing Ashley merchandise or entering Sports Direct should be shot on sight (and on site). Yet how gullible we all are to still turn up at the Park to fund the Mike Ashley empire and still think we have something going for us as loyal supporters!!

    • Jimblag23


  • TheFatController

    What’s bizarre is why he couldn’t just spin his interview totally to lift the club. Any PR person, or anyone with the bare minimum of understanding of the human condition, would have spun it out something like this :-

    – we don’t have the funds to compete this year. We will buy where we see value, take on loan signings etc
    – we have a team spirit. We are champions. Everyone said we’d struggle to go straight up. Rafa and the team did it.
    – we have a stadium full every week. It’s one of the biggest you’ll get across Europe that’s always full. Let’s make it a fortress.
    – we have a great manager. We are set up to the highest achievable standards of coaching and player development, and where it’s lacking we have plans to improve.
    – we may not be a country. But we are Newcastle. United.
    – thanks to Sky for the free broadcast. Ha’way the lads.

    But no, we get him talking about him, playing the victim. Anyone would think it was all about Mike.

  • Martin Rooney

    The squad isn’t good enough, Rafa (I am in charge of transfer) has bought 18 players. We should be honest.

    • Fleckman hoop licker

      Exactly, much as I despise Ashley the manager appears exempt from criticism. He has one tactic and that’s it. Watching his team’s play football is like watching paint dry and let’s be honest, most of his boys were so bad he didn’t even use them “to get us out the championship”, he used what he inherited.

  • Andy Mac

    Can anyone tell me the difference between Fatman and Dean Hoyle ?

  • chri

    If carrager thinks benitez isn’t the guy who can lead newcastle who does he think we should have as manager.