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Surely Newcastle fans want to gamble for the speedboat…don’t you?

5 years ago

I said after the Liverpool game that I wouldn’t be getting involved in this speculation over the alleged sale of Newcastle United…and even with recent developments I’m standing by that.

Like many Newcastle fans, I have deep reservations over anything Mike Ashley says, directly or through some conduit (St James holdings?), and you should do too by the way.

So I’ll be adopting the same approach to prospective new ownership as I do to rumours of summer signings. Basically, until I see the person stood in front of the east stand holding a scarf in celebration of a done deal, I’m not allowing myself to be drawn in. It’s the hope that gets you.

However, there’s something to spring out of the recent announcement that I couldn’t just ignore. Basically, I need to say this:

If you are one of the people using the phrase “better the devil you know” about Mike Ashley, in relation to Newcastle United, you are an absolute idiot.

The actual truth of the matter is that it’s better the devil you don’t know, better the consortium of devils, better the demons, the fiends, the savages, beasts, beelzebubs or barbarians. Better devilled eggs, devil’s claw or devil’s dumplings.

I’m not going to be the latest person to chronicle the catalogue of disaster of the past decade, you all know it. Keegan, Kinnear, the Sports Direct Arena, too much virtual ink spilled.

For some Newcastle fans, the Stockholm syndrome (hostage victims start to feel trust/affection for their captors…) has well and truly set in though, as I hear tales of some fictional multiverse where Ashley has paid off debts and rescued the club from post-relegation oblivion, as opposed to providing loans he will accrue back in his inflated valuation, creating relegations by neglecting to invest and all the while sucking a fat profit via the phantom revenue of free Sports Direct advertising.

This is not a Monty Python sketch. The answer to the question “what has Mike Ashley ever done for us?” is a short and simple one.

I realise there are massive lunatics in the world, I’ve seen the news. I also realise that clubs like Blackburn, Portsmouth and (yes) Sunderland find themselves in horrific, hopeless positions as a result of doylems of this ilk rocking up with very bad ideas. I just can’t believe that so many are conditioned to think our ownership is in some way above this kind of mismanagement.

Anyway, where is your sense of adventure?

When the big board was revolving on Bullseye back in the 80s, I can only assume these people screamed at the TV, telling the Sunday afternoon drinker and his sex register-looking pal who answered the trivia questions to ignore the prospect of gambling and stick with their trestle table, their crystal decanters and their £237. If they gambled they could win a speedboat for Christ’s sake! Alright, they might have lived in Loughborough, but who wouldn’t want a speedboat?

I have a way of assessing my own thoughts at times like this.

I imagine I’ve got a million pound casino chip that I can’t trade in, I’ve got to use to bet with on a particular outcome. On the “club for sale” announcement, I would have to put the chip on a scenario where nothing happens by Christmas and Ashley emerges in January, a few days before Newcastle disappointingly exit the FA Cup, to launch a sob story about how he tried, he tried so very hard to sell (there was an announcement remember?) but the buyer was not forthcoming.

Like Homer Simpson shouting abuse at “the guy who doesn’t live there” for being above buying the mansion in his street, he will attempt to corral blame towards a non-existent party for something they haven’t done, deflecting from the things he has done and will continue to. It seems that more and more will buy this line like a knocked down pair of Lonsdale trainers.

This is not the best we can do. Whatever your opinion on the likely outcome, you can at least expect better whenever it does happen. FFS, we might win a speedboat.

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf



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