Since Amanda Staveley was spotted at St James Park there has been wild speculation about the future of Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.
The power-suited British businesswoman with the steely eyes of a Bond villainess cuts an impressive figure. Rumours of her wealth and connections to Middle-Eastern billionaires have set Geordie pulses racing.
Even by NUFC standards this story has developed rapidly and only two weeks after Amanda left her seat in the Milburn and headed to Flares for a treble vodka, Geordies are scratching their heads and hitting google to ask “what is due diligence?” and “what is a non-disclosure agreement?”.
Whilst the black and white balloon of expectation slowly starts to inflate, the ballpoint pens of journalists and sharp tongues of old pros are waiting to burst it. Lazy journalists vying for the last soggy croissant at the Sunday Supplement breakfast table and ex professionals hoping for a seat next to Jeff Stelling, are casually throwing around tired statements about a lack of gratitude and delusional expectations from Newcastle fans.
One doomsayer is Kieron Dyer, who in a recent interview talked about the inflated expectations of Newcastle fans and our belief that we are a Champions League club. Kieron seemed to regurgitate the blended tarantula he ate on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, when he claimed that Newcastle fans were spoiled by Keegan and Robson.
Next up Simon Jordan, the bleached blonde, perma-tanned mobile phone salesman who on The Debate managed to say, “unrealistic”, “big club” and “be careful for what you wish for” in one breath. He then stated that Ashley would never be accepted because he’s a southerner. Very true Simon, us northerners are holding our breath for Sting, Ant and Dec, Jimmy Nail and Spuggy from Byker Grove to pool their wealth and take us to victory in the Champions League. Only then will we be truly happy.
Whilst rumours of the club’s sale are rife, the one statement that highlights the cynicism of journalists and jealousy of other fans is…
“Be careful for what you wish for”.
Are people totally oblivious to the decade of frustration we have endured under Mike Ashley? Opposition fans highlight stories of the Venkys, Ridsdale and Becchetti with glee, desperately hoping that Fairy Godmother Staveley doesn’t turn our dreams into trophies.
So if they are right, exactly how much worse could it get for Newcastle fans?
The Steve Cram Consortium
A consortium of Mackems led by Steve Cram (celebrity fan) and Niall Quinn purchase NUFC in the hope of destroying the club from the inside.
Cram states “No amount of investment can save SAFC. The hopes and dreams of Sunderland fans don’t rest on trophies or promotion, they rest on derby games with Newcastle and making it seven in a row. Rather than buy our own club who are beyond salvation, we thought we’d relegate Newcastle to League 1 instead.”
Using a Wonga payday loan, Cram and his team raise the necessary funds and immediately install Kevin Ball and Gary Bennett as managers with Lee Cattermole signing from Sunderland as team captain. Newcastle’s first team kit is replaced with oversized shorts that can be pulled up to the chin. Within two seasons Newcastle are relegated twice. Niall Quinn reports with glee “To be sure it’s great news. We have our derby game back! Mr Ashley is a great fella and we did say back in 2017 that Newcastle fans should be careful for what they wish for.”
The Greggs Family
The pasty empire purchase Newcastle United and immediately rename all of the St James Park stands after their products. The Steak Bake End and the Sausage & Bean Melt Stand are full to the rafters as Newcastle fans enjoy the range of savoury treats on offer at every match. The season starts with back to back wins as a motivated team of superstars hit the ground running fuelled by stotties and chicken slices.
Sadly, by Christmas time the average weight of each player is 15 stone and after the club’s dietician is sacked, the club are in freefall. Relegation is secured when a strike from Harry Kane slips through the greasy fingers of Rob Elliot who was seen throwing a festive bake into the net just before Kane took his shot. In a rare interview, an under pressure Mr Greggs states, “Sales of our bake range are at a record high, it’s a shame about the relegation but Newcastle fans were warned to be careful for what they wish for.”
The Kim Jong-un Takeover
The North Korean dictator has been a long-time admirer of the Magpies and purchases the club, surrounded by a team of generals furiously scribbling team tactics into their notepads.
The Supreme Leader immediately installs his family members into the team and in his first press conference states “we will strike fear into the heart of our opposition” and promises the “total destruction of any team that stand in the way”. Statues of Shearer and Wor Jackie are replaced by Kim Il-sung and King Jong-il.
Newcastle pick up three wins out of three at the start of the season after opposition teams mysteriously disappear on matchday. Newcastle are quickly relegated to League 2 due to financial irregularities, the hacking of Arsene Wenger’s ipad and the storing of uranium warheads under the Milburn Stand. North Korea state television proclaims “St. James’ offers the capability for us to unleash our fury across Sunderland and mainland Europe, be careful for what you wish for Newcastle!”
Make a wish
So what is a realistic expectation for Newcastle fans?
I don’t think my expectations are beyond reason.
I’d like an owner who is honest with the fans.
I want an owner who surrounds themselves with football people rather than trying to rewrite the rules of football with a team of yes men who’ve never kicked a ball.
I’d like an owner that sees new players as an opportunity for success rather than profit.
I’d like an owner with a desire to win trophies rather than cling on to Premier League status to secure Sky windfalls.
I’d like an owner who views the club as a club rather than a vehicle to advertise their other businesses through stadium renamings and gaudy advertising displays at St. James’.
I want an owner who doesn’t treat the world’s most loyal football fans as mugs.
Whilst a new owner brings a new threat of financial ruin and relegation, there is also the potential for success…or more importantly, a club striving for success.
After a vacuous decade in NUFC history under Ashley, I’m willing to take the risk.
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavidMcAvelia