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Opinion

The media need to expose how this happens at Newcastle United unlike any other club

1 year ago
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Newcastle United operate in a way that is totally different to any other major football club.

Supporters just want to go along and enjoy their football, support the team, but under Mike Ashley that is rarely possible as fans are drawn increasingly into the politics and the manipulation of Ashley in running Newcastle United, for solely his benefit rather than the club’s.

Yes we all know it is a business but there are ways and means of doing things and it is shameful the way things are done at St James Park.

It is almost as shameful the way that the media let Mike Ashley and his minions get away with it, they should be highlighting just how wrong things are at Ashley’s NUFC.

At a normal Premier League club you have a board of directors, or sometimes two.

If a club has two boards, then you have one higher board who meet infrequently and set targets each season, as well as deciding overall budgets, It is then the job of the other (lower/football) board to then meet more frequently and give support/guidance throughout the season to those professional full-time employees running the club on a day to day basis.

If a club has just the one board, then that performs both roles, setting overall longer-term targets and putting budgets/strategies in place, then meeting throughout the year to tweak thing s and react to events.

At Newcastle United they have just the one board, with two directors, Lee Charnley and former player Bobby Moncur.

At normal PL clubs they go out and headhunt the best possible professional person to ask as Chief Executive/Managing Director, he is in charge of running the club day to day and is the key person in building a top professional team under him whose job it is to run the club as well as possible, including maximising revenues in particular.

Newcastle United have Lee Charnley as Managing Director. He is the worst paid CEO/MD in the Premier League and earns as little as 5% of what his opposite numbers are paid at top PL clubs. In the last available figures, Sunderland’s CEO was paid around £700,000 a year, compared to Lee Charnley’s £150,000. Obviously still a lot of money to most of us but if that doesn’t raise questions for you, then I don’t know what will.

The point is of course, is that just like Newcastle United’s ‘board’, believing that Lee Charnley’s role is anything remotely like those at other clubs, is a total joke.

Does anybody really think that the NUFC board (Charnley and Moncur) ever have proper board meetings?

Likewise, do you honestly really think that Lee Charnley has any kind of power or responsibility?

His job is more office manager than Managing Director, maybe he is good at that, who knows?

What he certainly doesn’t do is make big decisions or have the proper responsibility his job title should entail.

As always, Mike Ashley has people from his inner circle pulling the strings at Newcastle United. Keith Bishop has been a long established figure involved in the running of the club, despite having no official public role, whilst Justin Barnes was sent in by Ashley last year to be his main man, as has been widely reported at the time and in the following months.

One thing is common to all, none of them are allowed to communicate in public with the fans or with the media.

No other big club has a situation where nobody in authority (apart from Rafa Benitez) communicates with the media.

Even/especially when the annual accounts are released each year (April normally) it is a brief headline statement by the club (before the fuller figures can be viewed by the public at Companies House), with quotes usually attributed to Lee Charnley, but the media are not allowed to ask anybody, especially Charnley, what the figures mean for the club and what does it mean for the future etc etc.

Yet, the standard media never even point out what a joke this is, the fact they are never allowed to speak to those running Newcastle United. Whether it is Lee Charnley, Justin Barnes, Keith Bishop, or whoever.

Mike Ashley has no interest in doing things in a fit and proper way, in dealing with the supporters, the media, the general public etc etc.

It was laughable when on Sky Sports last night, in throwing his toys out of the pram and saying nothing was happening from the Amanda Staveley side of the takeover, he actually tried to legitimise his embarrassing behaviour by claiming he was doing it out of duty to the Newcastle supporters…

A source close to Ashley said: “It is only right to let the fans know that there is no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP.”

Your average fan, quite rightly, just wants to go along and watch the football/support his or her’s team, but it is important that Newcastle fans realise that this is simply a shell of a club that we have under Mike Ashley.

It has no proper board of directors, it has no proper management team, it has no proper infrastructure that is aimed at underpinning a successful football club, on and off the pitch.

It is just another cheap and tatty business to Mike Ashley, the aim is to run it as cheaply as possible with a skeleton staff paid far less than at other clubs, to survive in the Premier League with as low cost as is humanly possible, whilst giving his retail empire the maximum of exposure.

To sum up the contempt Mike Ashley and his minions hold Newcastle supporters in, you only have to look at the sham that is the official Newcastle United Fans Forum.

Ashley banned the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) because after the first meeting they dared to tell fans some of what had gone on, rather than just the KGB style official minutes that are released.

So since then the club decide what is and what isn’t put in the minutes, then the fan members ‘approve’ them. The club decided unilaterally to ban the democratically elected NUST representative, rather than have a vote on the matter.

The Fans Forum has sadly become just a PR exercise for the club, though UEFA dictate that clubs should have interaction with fans, which was the reason they were forced to put a Fans Forum originally in place.

The club then made a unilateral decision to reduce the Fans Forum from meeting four times a year to only three.

Now, they have decided to just not bother…

On Thursday 29 June 2017 the Newcastle United Fans Forum met with club officials, including Lee Charnley.

At the end of the official minutes from that meeting, it was stated:

‘Members expressed an interest in securing a page in the matchday programme to draw attention to the Fans Forum and its members.

The club will look at available space in the matchday programme and underlined its commitment to highlighting the positive work of the Forum to its wider fan base.

Next meeting – September 2017′

No meeting was held in September and indeed nothing all season, despite all of the issues and concerns that supporters have. Yet the club don’t feel they have to even mention these Fan Forum meetings aren’t happening, never mind justifying it. It doesn’t exactly help either when it is the club who selects which fans are on the forum, rather than anything inconvenient such as elections to allow fans to choose who represents them.

Even in that carefully controlled closed environment, the club aren’t willing to have Lee Charnley and others asked anything awkward about the running of the club, the summer 2017 transfer window shambles, the January 2018 transfer window shambles, the undermining of Rafa Benitez, what is Justin Barnes’ role, what is Keith Bishop up to, indeed just what is happening at Newcastle United under Mike Ashley.

The club needs gutted from top to bottom and one thing is for sure, nothing will ever change until we see the back of Mike Ashley.

Can you really believe we are now in the 11th season of life under his ownership at Newcastle United, what a time to be alive…
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