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Opinion

Mike Ashley gutted with position in Top 50 Most Hated People In Football

3 years ago
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If Mike Ashley had made it to number one spot in this list, I have little doubt he would be the type to have it framed and put up on his office wall.

As it is, I bet he is a little bit gutted to have only made it to number 17 in this newly published list of  the ’50 Most Hated People In Football’.

Yes it is based purely on opinion but nevertheless the Four Four Two list does throw up lots of talking points.

As well as Mike Ashley, there are another five Newcastle people who make the Top 50, although others will also have a claim on some of them.

No surprise that it was Mike Ashley who employed four of the five other Newcastle characters to make the list.

The exception being Graeme Souness (number 22 in the list), John Hall and Freddy Shepherd responsible for that shocking appointment as Newcastle manager.

To see the full Top 50 then go to Four Four Two and see who the other 44 are, as well as the six Newcastle ones listed below.

Spoiler alert…it is the contemptible Sepp Blatter who gets in at number one ahead of Mike Ashley and the rest – which to be fair, Blatter has done his best  over the years to deserve his number one rating.

49 Alan Pardew

His public personality straddles the line between smug and sleazy – it’s probably encapsulated by the nauseating touchline dance when Crystal Palace went ahead in the 2016 FA Cup Final, which did achieve the impressive feat of getting neutrals to back Manchester United.

There’s a thin veneer of respectability, but like a dry-lipped Bruce Banner, Pardew also has a nasty streak that occasionally bursts out – from calling Manuel Pellegrini a “f…… old c…” to head-butting an opposing player on the touchline.

Despite a middling managerial career, he carries a sense of superiority that’s best evidenced by what West Ham fans call the ‘king story’.

28 Joe Kinnear

Searching for a low point of Mike Ashley’s time as Newcastle owner is a full-time job, but his dealings with Joe Kinnear sit high on the list. Ex-Wimbledon boss Kinnear was originally appointed as Magpies manager in September 2008 – and was soon letting loose an expletive-filled rant in which he swore 52 times and called the Daily Mirror’s Simon Bird a c….

When he was brought back in as director of football in 2013, there was outrage. Fans threatened a boycott as, in a bizarre radio interview, he insulted the intelligence of Newcastle fans and mispronounced the names of several players (Yohan Kebab, anyone?). He failed to make a single permanent signing during his tenure.

26 Dennis Wise

Chelsea’s horrible little Napoleon. Had it not been for inconveniences like his personality and distaste for taxi drivers, the world might remember that Dennis Wise could absolutely play. He was one of the few English players to survive the influx of foreign (better) players at Stamford Bridge and his set-piece delivery was as good as anything in the league during the 1990s.

Alas, that hardly seems the point. To most, he remains the yappy attack dog who would stud an opponent’s ankle before hiding behind one of his centre-halves, and later broke a team-mate’s jawbone on a pre-season tour after a game of cards turned sour (then called his sacking by Leicester “a disgrace”).

Bonus point: he also managed to be part of Mike Ashley’s loathed “Cockney Mafia” in Newcastle after his retirement as a player.

22 Graeme Souness

The former Liverpool player has attracted a reasonable amount of ire on these shores, partly for his punditry, but mainly for his performances as a player.

Although he played in an age of combative midfielders, Souness seemed to approach winning the “ball” like a Game of Thrones character going in for the kill: one hefty thwack, and then a pause to wipe the blood out of their facial hair.

The Scot is particularly loathed by fans of Turkish club Fenerbahce, for an incident in 1996 when – as Galatasaray manager – Souness planted his side’s flag in the middle of their rivals pitch. “If he’d done the same thing now, he’d go back to England in a wooden box,” says one fan in a recent documentary. 

17 Mike Ashley

Among other, lawyer-teasing descriptions, Ashley is the archetypal football owner to be feared. Fan bases can be intimidating, particularly when they don’t get their own way or believe that their club is being mined for used for clandestine purposes. Ashley didn’t care.

Newcastle’s owner for more than a decade now has seen protestations over the SportsDirect.com hoardings, the renaming of St James’ Park and the many dreadful transfer and recruitment decisions, and waved them all off with a dismissive smirk.

A man so brazenly uninterested in tradition that it’s almost admirable. Unless he owns your football club.

14 Joey Barton

If Barton had half the rap sheet he’s accrued, he’d still be here. As it is, his stubbing out a cigar in a youth player’s eye, beating up then-team-mate Ousmane Dabo, being jailed for assault and affray, sucker-punching Morten Gamst Pedersen, plus being banned from football for gambling on matches, stand out among his more humdrum efforts like red cards or barbed outbursts.

The Jekyll and Hyde-ish Barton is also articulate and can be very charming. Yet even in his excellent autobiography, written with Michael Calvin, a whiff of ‘I make no excuses for this episode, but… [list of excuses]’ pervades. It’s easy to understand why he’s disliked.

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