I read an excerpt from a book written around 1958-1961, it talks about Newcastle United having a great ground in a great city centre location, its wonderful support drawing in crowds of 60,000 despite fighting relegation or playing in the second tier. Even when the region was experiencing mass unemployment NUFC still had 60,000 crowds.

It goes on to talk about the Geordie supporters’ loyalty and passion for football and about the Club being unique, in that it is a one Club city and the Club being very much part of local life.

The most poignant part of the piece is:

‘This club has a wonderful opportunity now, to reach out and grasp the greatness which escaped it so often and narrowly in the past. What is needed is for one man, with clear ideas, high principles and the strength of character to put them into practise, to be given the necessary authority. Then Newcastle United could really be a great club.’

That was written in reference to Charlie Mitten’s time in charge of team affairs nigh on 60 years ago, the recognised potential of the Club remains relatively untapped. Rafa has a lot of the traits listed in the piece, he just needs to be given the authority.

It sounds so straightforward doesn’t? I’m tired of hearing about the circus that is Newcastle United, a joke of a football club. When do we NUFC fans get the chance to talk about our Club in simple straightforward terms? Look at the teams around us in the league, do they have the same circus surrounding them?

I generally write for these pages once a month, I haven’t contributed an article since the takeover talk began. One reason is it would be difficult to write something that hadn’t already been written. There’s barely a day gone by that there hasn’t been something written about the takeover, there’s so much unknown about it the same conjecture has been repeated over and over again.

I realise that it is difficult not to fall into talking about the takeover and Ashley’s general running of the Club when talking about NUFC. The frustrations build up before the nostalgia kicks in and you find yourself getting all misty eyed talking about the good old days, it’s amazing how rose-tinted everything is in comparison with these days.

Sky Sports have their own agenda when it comes to NUFC too, which doesn’t help. I don’t think there’s enough ‘news’ to warrant a 24 hour news channel, some of the stuff I’ve seen on there looks like it’s been pulled together by school kids for a school project. Presenters feigning their excitement about sports they’re absolutely clueless about, its cringeworthy but for some it’s their chosen source for news.

I stopped believing anything written in the press and broadcast on Sky at face value a long time ago, as I found the truth often doesn’t fit their agendas. I get by, by not allowing myself to get carried away with stories released in the press, for every story about the takeover happening there’s another refutes it. Rafa’s leaving, Rafa’s staying etc etc. it’s a lot of hot air generated by people that are either guessing or have something to sell.

Every new article brings hysteria, deal off means losing Rafa and relegation down the leagues. Deal on, Rafa stays and we have a Man City like surge up the league in a trophy laden period for the Club.

I must admit some articles have more credibility than others, journalists such as George Caulkin are worth reading and I find NUFC dot com tend to comment on actual stories rather than speculation.

The speculation never seems to rest, like many others I’m tired of the merry-go-round of drivel spouted by the cronies on the telly, same message different mouthpiece. If you see quotes from Ashley and quotes from Staveley in the press, it’s worth remembering that one of those people have been taken to court and has been proven to be a liar.

I would love to see the anger on #NUFC twitter converted into some concerted action for change. We do ourselves no favours in embroiling ourselves in online spats amongst ourselves and other baiting twitter accounts, it’s the very fuel used against us.

We have an owner that quite clearly couldn’t care less about our football club, it is simply a vehicle for his own self-gain and gained he has, don’t let him fool you into thinking otherwise.

What do we do?

Boycott the games?

March on the ground?

Protest?

What can we do to be heard?

These are serious questions, do all NUFC fans agree that Ashley isn’t the right person to take the Club forward?

You’d be pretty hard pushed to say it’s been a success, unless you work for Sky that is.

Sky actually have footage of Ashley making promises about transfers etc. but they never take him to task when these promises aren’t seen through. Sky just run the stories they are told to by PR men, agents and the like. There’s no journalistic approach to anything that they spin out.

We find ourselves in a precarious position in the league, the lads on the pitch need our support.

I’m finding it more and more difficult to keep going to the ground and support the team with the negative backdrop presiding it. Would I jack it in if I thought it contributed to positive change? Yes, definitely. It’s getting to the point where it has become tiresome supporting the Club I have done since I was a boy.

It’s a far cry from when I start going in 1992, the Club has changed, football has changed, the utopian vision of the Premier League promised was a lie, it’s all about money and the vultures from outside football have been circling ever since. The TV companies run football now, do they care how a football club is run? How about the governing bodies? Maybe but they’re powerless and too set in their ways to do anything.

I take my nephew along to games, he’s 10 years old and has an opinion of the running of the Club. At that age my biggest concern about NUFC who in the first team were wearing Puma Kings, whether I going to get to sit on the concrete barriers in the Gallowgate End.

Sir John Hall? Kevin Keegan was the main man! He was allowed to do his job the 1st time round and I believe it was only when the Club became a PLC and he wasn’t able to do so anymore we lost our way.

I’ve tried to instil in my nephew that we’ll never turn our back on our team no matter what but my resolve is wearing thin. If I stop going to the match my nephew misses out, who am I to deny him supporting his team? Something I have actively encouraged since the day he was born. He has known nothing but Ashley’s running of the Club and taking young Kippa is one of the lessening number of reasons I keep going.

I could go on about how it could be if the Club was being steered in the right direction, I think we all have our own hopes and dreams about that. Having Rafa in charge keeps those hopes and dreams alive, but no one would blame him for walking away, I wouldn’t blame him (Rafa) if we do eventually get relegated this season, the buck stops at Ashley’s door.

Amanda Staveley and PCP offer a change, a way out of the shadows, but who are PCP? They could be the saviour we hope for, they could be worse than Ashley! But what’s the alternative? Carry on going along with asset-stripping, joyless existence our Club currently is? Rafa is totally hamstrung by the current ownership, he’s doing the best job he can with what he’s got but its showing now that’s there’s a ceiling to what can do under Ashley.

As fans why do we bother? Why should we bother if we’re just being taken the p… of? I’m increasingly disillusioned by it all, I find it harder and harder to even involve myself in conversations about NUFC, it’s depressing. There’s more questions than answers at the moment but sadly that’s been the case for over 10 years now. We are exhausted, frustrated, and running out of patience.

The ship for Ashley to make amends sailed long ago, but whether he sees his long-term future at NUFC or not, he needs to pull his finger out and make sure the team is at least OK in the short-term, otherwise any chance of him getting his desired £350m will go a begging, anyone can see that!

There’s been great highs watching NUFC over the years and plenty of lows, some difficult to swallow, which is part and parcel of following a football team but the prospect of Ashley casting his shadow over NUFC for another 10 years doesn’t bear thinking about.

Howay Mr Ashley, you’ve had your turn, you’ve got plenty out of it, time to move on, time for change. Give us the opportunity now, to reach out and grasp the greatness which escaped our Club so often and narrowly in the past.

Howay me bonny lads!!!

You can follow the author on Twitter @lyon1892

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  • Mitros gotta start

    Turn up every week and say nowt….just like we have done for the last 11 years….seems to be working great so far

  • Guest 2

    I was nearly 11 and crammed into a ground supposedly holding 60,000 when the lads came back from the FA Cup final defeat to LFC. It sure felt like it, but as was common back then we got passed down to the pitch side and sat with our feet on the cinder path.
    Supposedly 250,000 in the toon centre too.
    They can call us deluded all they wish but there are few clubs that can match such outpourings of support from a City or its public.
    Ashley will never understand what this club is. He doesn’t understand much other than making money for himself and making other people miserable.
    I don’t have any answers. I do have visions of his arteries exploding but that’s wishful thinking.
    I think we’ll just have to keep faith with KK’s words that this is our club and it’ll be here long after this odious parasite has gone. The sooner the better.

    • Guest 2

      A reply in my inbox, the post which he seems to have deleted:-
      Clarko –
      “I mean, the club will most likely be here after Ashley has gone, but will you? You may never see it.”

      I’ll be around long enough to knock the daylights out of you – or otherwise take a big steaming dump on whatever sad grave you have. Oh hang on, that would mean you had people who cared enough to bury you and I find that too hard to believe.

      Do Mackems get buried, or just recycled…?

      • Clarko

        Hook, line and sinker.

    • Clarko

      I mean, the club will most likely be here after Ashley has gone, but will you? You may never see it.

  • Leazes.

    I was just watching the news and at the end some dreadful female perked up with a screech of feigned excitement, and I thought that’s a bit odd …. women getting excited by some sporting event that is dull as dishwater and of little interest to those outside of television centre…. cricket….thats what its called….

    Well It’s neither here nor there… nice article Paul.

    I found the answer to the clubs problems years ago, but nobody likes my answer, and certainly won’t accept it…… so I’d say to anyone who wants United to succeed they should look for the problems themselves….

    Make a list.

    Do you really want the club to be driven in the right direction?

  • John

    Look at Sunderland and think ourselves lucky.

    • Jezza

      That will be us in a year’s time inder Fat Ashley’s masterplan.

  • mentalman

    If anything does get organised lets hope its better than the unorganised walk out we had last time, that was just embarrassing.

    Anything we do will be ridiculed by the media and used to stereotype geordies

    • Mitros gotta start

      Boycout bedsheets oot

    • Clarko

      Yeah, the “stereotype”.

      • Guest 2

        Stereotype [email protected] You fit the bill perfectly

        • Jezza

          Ignore him. He is just a wind up merchant. He is one of two brothers who have been trolling this site under multiple ID’s for years. They also post as ooh Bobbi Fleckman, ghostbuster and Monkseaton Magies and used to post under ID’s such as alan pardews black and white army and vodka magpie. They are not Newcastle fans and they are not from Monkseaton. They are just tryiing to provoke a reaction to brighten up their empty lives. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

  • toonterrier

    Its not easy as I found out walking away after thirty plus years watching my team but there comes a time when you realise that you’re spending big money for nothing. The atmosphere had gone both in the ground and the pub before and after the match. I will be back but not until the fat rat moves on and we get an owner with ambition and not someone who just wants to bleed the system and to hell with the supporters. Its in your hands. Hard work not going on match days but you’ll get used to it.

    • Blackburn1066

      As soon as they put every one in seats the atmosphere went, we did get a good part of the atmosphere back when Kev was boss but then you had goals going in from all over the place. the ground comes alive for the first 10 mins of each game then just fizzels out to nothing. I would love to see one end of the ground just for the people who like to make some noise. Ps and for the little fat man to F-CK O-FF.

      • Mitros gotta start

        There is already….level 7

        • anyobrien

          Gallowgate corner.

          • Jezza

            Those were the days.

          • anyobrien

            Indeed

          • Blackburn1066

            Yes Jazza, like you I miss those times.

          • Blackburn1066

            Just think what it would be like with the whole of the Gallowgate

    • anyobrien

      Aye I’m at the cross roads now after years and years, it doing my head in stay or go.

      • Big Al 1967

        You and me both kidda Got to be honest January 31st is looming large as decision day and to be honest if as expected Rafa is backed in this window I think that be my fill

      • Davey drape

        i stopped going regularly to the home games & only go now when it suits me (take kids etc) but I still go to approx half a down aways per season. I decided that i had to take some kind of stand & do my bit these last 5-6 seasons against our scumbag of an owner & instead had many cheap flights to watch football in places in europe including trips to Tblishi, Belgrade, Chisinau etc. Thanks Mike.

    • Badmag

      Ashley has driven expectation so low the happy clappers are content with a couple of shots on target, not long ago fans would never put up with such dross from their team. This new breed of fan simply takes it all in and shrugs their shoulders in total apathy.
      The only reason anybody would buy our club is the 52,000 supporters week in week out. and one of the main reasons we will never be sold is the same said supporters who endorse his product week in week out with their attendance.

      • Jezza

        Good point. One of the two happy clapper brothers who post on here under multiple ID’s said yesterday that the two relegations under Fat Ashley were a good thing because we got to see a winning Newcastle team in the Championship. Dear God, 20 years ago we were beating Barcelona in the Champions League and now we’re supposed to get excited by beating Burton and Rotherham in the second division. That is how much Fat Ashley has lowered standards at this club.

        • Lhc

          Mate am 27 and am past caring shouldn’t be at that age, started going ar 6 caught back end of kk era n then fell in love with nufc, started going to away games at 10 n been going ever since, but the new generations/ bandwagon fans (since Rafa arrived) are brainwashed into believing going to the championship and being big fish in a small pond is something to get excited about, they don’t help the situation certain sections (happy clappers) the match day experience is changing every year like I’ve always said there’s 10/15k hardcore fans in st James the rest are just customers to make up the numbers. I will always go to the match cause it’s just a way of life to me, but I agree with what you say there’s to many happy clappers knocking about now which are playing into Ashley’s hands.

          • Jezza

            Great comment It’s a damning indictment of the wilful damage Fat Ashley has done to this club that fans can be past caring at such a young age. You are right about the type of spectators as opposed to supporters at St James’s Park these days. What gets me is when you see all these people who are old enough to have gone in the bad old days but never did. They are really the worst for sitting down in silence and acting as if they’re at church and giving you funny looks if you dare to stand up or shout. These are the people who will never say a bad word about Fat Ashley because it’s just not in their nature. They don’t feel the passion for the club the way those of us who were there home and away in the old days as well as younger hardcore fans like yourself do. I’m just sorry you missed out on the fantastic atmosphere at St James’s Park back in the 70’s and 80’s, you would have loved it.

          • Lhc

            I’ve always said I was born in the wrong era!
            But I will never give it up it’s in your dna.

        • Badmag

          The one and only reason a club the size of NUFC cant compete with the likes of Everton etc in the top half of the prem is our owner

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            This season and maybe next will be ffp

  • GToon

    A lot easier for me as it’s a 400 mile round trip. That generally swings it these days. Ironic isn’t it that the one thing we are renowned for – our support is proving to be our undoing as it continues to provide Ashley with support and money….so he stays.

    • Leazes.

      From Australia?

  • GlasgowMag

    I think the tipping point may be soon if Ashley stays I cannot see Rafa staying wether we stay up or not. Probably this will be the last straw for most and direct action will happen fans stop buying tickets etc to force this leach out. Still buy Puma Kings for 5’s also still got my pair of Patrick boots Keegan’s got a lot to answer for lol!!!

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I got some Puma Kings yesterday from Sports Direct, £40

      • Mitros gotta start

        🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Shop soiled

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    What everyone has to do is stop attending the matches en masse !
    If 52,000 keep turning up we will never get rid of him and that is a fact because when you do that you are giving him the green light to treat you like rubbish.
    What incentive does he have to leave this club when you are constantly lining his pockets with money ?
    It really is that simple because if people are not willing to act then stop moaning about him because you deserve it for facilitating him in the first place !

    I am sick and tired of the nostalgia stories about how my grandfather went and how I take my kids etc, Etc, Etc
    How Ashley is destroying my Saturday afternoon out with my pals, Family, Etc
    How I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t go and all the rest of it…
    The melodramatic stories come one after another but at the end of the day it is not going to make one bit of difference.

    You have the power to make a change and stand against this parasite but talk with not achieve anything.
    You have the power to walk away from the club because it is not your club anymore until he leaves it !
    It’s like the bloke who goes to the doctors and says : “Doctor, When I lift my arm above my head it hurts to which the doctor replies : “Well don’t do it” !

    If your not willing to act then shut up and keep handing your money over to him but don’t dare complain because it is your own fault !

    • Mitros gotta start

      B0ll0x….most of the stadium is made up of season ticket holders…the fat slug already has our money….he couldnt give a shyte if we dont turn up or not….in fact the season ticket money is a p155 in the pot compared to the tv money….and not showing up would probably line his pockets more as sky would have our games on all the time just to see the spectacle of a protest.

      • thewildchimp

        It isn’t really. If you have 10000 blokes paying, let’s say: 500 pounds per season, that’s easily 5 million. If you take the cheapest ticket, worth 27 and multiply it by 19, you get 513 pounds per season, somewhat similar. So, if we assume that we had no pricier tickets and that the average home attendance is 50k per game, we net Ashley 50k*27*19 ~25m pounds per season. That’s the lowest number right there and it’s probably 10m higher or better.

        So the fans really bring something to the club. If we were truly United, and had a leader who knows how to deal with these weasels, we could march in and say: “Listen, we bring more than 25m pounds per season to you. You can spend it on players and reinforce the team, thus increasing it’s value and securing the TV money next season, or we’ll stop coming and you can go relegated to the third division for all we care (it’s a bluff, ofc we care).” If Ashley calls it: nobody comes preseason, nobody comes season time. He’d cave in and spend come January. If nothing else, because his potential business partners would see what a cheap knut he is. You need to be firm with scoundrels. Soft people who want results without effort have no right to complain. However, I’ve found that most of the people around the world like to “go down with minimum resistance” and majority of the NUFC fans are no different.

        • Martin Rooney

          But i pay £21.47 permatch equivalent of £10.74 each for me and my son your knowledge of prices is way off

          • thewildchimp

            Well, obviously I can’t calculate discounts in, nor I know exactly how many people brings kids. Minimum average adult ticket was 25 vs. Watford, 27 in most cases. This was just a rough estimate. Season tickets bought by majority are just a bit under 500 pounds, so even if there are cheaper games – that’s what most of the blokes paid. So, yes, Ashley gets a lot of money from the fans. Can’t pay everything from that pot, but can still finance a single bloody decent player’s transfer fee per year. That’s my point.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        Here’s a novel idea : DONT GIVE HIM YOUR MONEY WHEN THE NOTICES FOR RENEWALS ARE SENT OUT !
        No one is forcing your arm up your back to buy one because of the concept of “Free Will.”
        Try it, You might even like it, But if you are willing to hand over money to him then you forfeit the right to moan and complain about him imo.

    • Martin Rooney

      Maybe just maybe the fans that go i.e. Those who are actually supporting the club mot merely fans of, maybe they are not as distressed as the keyboard warriors.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        I am in no way distressed and if you think someone is a “Keyboard Warrior” for telling people to stay away then you are some kind of “Snowflake” of the ridiculous P.C Brigade !

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    How’s about MAOC & nust raise £50m from fans and get on to pcp as a non dividend investor?

  • Rob

    What would work.

    Non renewal of season tickets, sky sport subscriptions reducing televised game income, boycott of sports direct stores, non purchase of merchandise.

    Likely result of above relegation.

    Likelihood of above happening. Unlikely fans enjoy watching and supporting their team through thin and thinner.

    Until Mike dies or gets the money he wants he’s not budging.

    • Martin Rooney

      Pie in the sky

  • ghostrider

    It’s easy for Ossie Ardiles deciding the club can go places with youth team selections whilst we slip perilously towards the old third division.

    Ossie Ardiles a world cup winner and a name to grab attention of players to come and yet we went with kids.

    After that is a different gravy but before and during that the fans were pacified almost to whimper. Resigned to just hoping things would change.

    The attendances plummeted but the club soldiered on regardless, because that’s what clubs do unless they go out of business, which will never happen under Ashley’s ownership.

    You have 3 doors to walk through.
    One is Ashley’s, one is a PCP type ownership and one is a Sheikh type.

    Fans go on about the club losing its identity.
    They mention all kinds of distant scenarios and old saying about what the club means to them.
    They literally cannot see around them to understand that those days are changed forever and football has been sold to the devil, never to return to even show a snippet of yesteryear, except for the old photos that come about from time to time to supposedly give the oldies a warm fluttery feeling.
    It means nothing to the young ones except dreary muddy looking farm filed masquerading as a football pitch.

    We worry about falling out of a league that 99 times out of 100 we spend struggling in and having our entire week destroyed with another defeat or dismal display against some team that we seem to have to lay down and taking a spanking for.

    We panic over losing a manager that’s being paid a kings Ransom to give us worse football than the most basic of manager has given us.
    We want to hound out an owner who (I admit) is a little bit stingy but keeps a strong club and also plays ball with the fans in terms of season tickets and such like and gambles a little which can fail but always goes all out to rectify the wrongs to get us back.

    The man knows that for us to compete higher up….and I mean in the top 6….he knows we have to follow the sickening route of inflated transfer fees just to coax a player to the north east and double inflate the wage just to keep that player from creating a stink to get a move to a sniffing club in the south.

    The thing is Ashley’s not prepared to take that gamble with the clubs money.
    Yes, the clubs money. the money that the club work with and from to pay bills and then build a squad with a manager that is picked to do it the best way possible and who is paid a fortune to see that it can be achieved.

    We naturally want better. We want more than what we get. Most other clubs through the leagues want more but they are generally have a bar set with little prospect of it being raised much but possibly lowered a lot.

    We all want better.
    We all want excitement and hope.
    We all want flirts with silverware like the Robson and Keegan time.
    We won’t get any of that unless we get a Sheikh type owner.
    We won’t get it under a PCP ownership.
    We won’t get it under Ashley.

    The issue is simple.
    Make your choice but do not ever make that choice by using nostalgia and your ideals of Newcastle United football club as any reasoning, because all those choices do not represent Newcastle United in that sense.

    The closest you get to that, is Ashley…..believe that or not.

    Why?
    Because there’s only Ashley out of that lot that would look after the paying fans pockets.
    The rest will make you pay more and more for whatever you get, regardless of how it pans out.

    Just remember that A sheikh cannot do anything legitimate for the club in terms of catapulting it into the dizzy heights without breaking rules. The very same rules that we are all whining about with the sugar daddy clubs.
    Guess what?
    A Sheikh renders us as nothing more than a soulless sugar daddy hobbyist club.
    Great to ride the rollercoaster but the death or Newcastle United as anything but a showbiz spectacle.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Wow, that’s good stuff. PCP’s business plan appears to be to give the club a kick start and let it create wealth, football doesn’t seem to work like that. A Sheikh is hard to find.

      • Martin Rooney

        Anyone thinking city Manu arsenal liverpool chelsea won’t won’t sell a sturridge Innacho etc etc to offer 45m for the next best thing we leicester spurs could offer forty for is deluded

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I’m not sure of your point there Martin. Are you saying Liverpool will be keen to offload these players, that is true. The problem is, I suspect – wages. Sturridge will want a regular game for 6 months before the World Cup but sadly, I think he’ll find it easier to go to Stoke than move house and come to us.

    • mentalman

      There’s not many fans mentioning the season ticket prices is there

      • ghostrider

        No because that means they have to say something good about Ashley and they are too frenzied in their hatred of him to ever do that.

    • DavyB

      Interesting response which is all well and good BUT you fail to mention the consistent asset stripping by Ashley. The mis-management by him and his succession of directors/chairmen. How can he claim that the club can spend what it generates when he is systematically ripping it off with his free advertising for Sports Direct? People aren’t stupid. We know he is under-selling NUFC. Money seems to be disappearing out of the coffers on a regular basis.

      • ghostrider

        Serious question.
        If money was disappearing out of the coffers as you say then can you tell me where from and how?
        Start with income and expenditure than add in TV money that we have had and not are due.
        Let’s see how it adds up.
        You must know because you’re mentioning his asset stripping and mis-managing.

        This advertising line is generally used as some kind of black mark against him but nobody seems interested in him putting in his own personal wealth as a loan WITHOUT adding interest to it.

        And people think a man that owns another business (football club) is not entitled to advertise his other business within it.

        It’s about getting real so let’s get real.
        Let’s say you have two businesses. You will naturally advertise one with the other.
        If anyone questions you and calls you a crook or a mis-manager, you’ll more than likely use a few choice words to tell them where to go.

        Now imagine if you told your wife that you have to use a large proportion of your personal wealth to loan one of your companies and you’re doing it with no interest to enable that company to work from within in a much easier way…only taking back your initial loan as and when the club can afford it.

        It’s all on you but the company is your company.
        If your customers start calling you a crook or a mis-manager, will you accept it as them knowing that you are or call them ungrateful?

        Something to think about.
        Things only become a big problem when they don’t work in the favour of those that never saw a problem earlier on.
        It’s like the friend who’s the joker of the pack and then falls out with some of the friends. Suddenly their jokes are not to be laughed at….more like, sneered at.
        The difference between a good person and a bad one is in the mass opinion growth of whether they are deemed good or bad.

        Ashley’s a black sheep and an ogre in a shirt to the devil in disguise until he bank rolls the club from his own pocket and takes any hit on the chin, then to do it all again, Ellis Short style.
        He’s then talked about in a pacified way until we end up with a team of can’t be bothered mercenaries that are all on sickening wages and who cannot be moved due to their wage demands.
        Basically a Sunderland scenario.

        The reason we are fighting as we are, albeit in a pauper type way for a club this size, is because of Mike Ashley’s stance on only taking a chance on what he has a contingency plan for.

        11 years at this club is not a man who’s trying to kill it or take its assets.
        He has one life and 11 years of it has been keeping this club alive and kicking.
        Granted it’s alive and kicking at the wrong end but that can be worked on and hoped for.
        Some clubs don’t have that.

        • DavyB

          See response above.

      • Martin Rooney

        Name one asset strip? He takes no wage he charges no interest he lowers prices. Doesn’t spend money our club doesn’t have allows managers to mismanage the spending on players. You can check the accounts for disappeared money, seriously do you think he would be bothered about two or three million?

        • DavyB

          See my response above.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        This is very interesting, money seems to be disappearing out of the coffers on a regular basis? When? no asset stripping, quite the opposite, when MA took over teh club’s balance sheet was £16m in deficit, it’s now £30m+ in the black.

        • DavyB

          So where is this £30m then? It would be very handy right now if it was available wouldn’t it? When I say asset strip, what I am getting at is he buys players who he knows will turn a profit. Not a problem if you look at it from a purely business sense BUT this is a football club. It’s sport – It’s about trying to win, not how many £££’s he can profit. Why not try to keep your best players and try to progress?
          All the bloke sees is £££s. Ok, he’s ‘loaned’ the club money – which he’ll get back in spades if he sells. How much has he cost Newcastle? How much did those 2 relegations cost? How much lost revenue from SD advertising have we lost? How much overseas revenue have we lost because he’s not interested in getting into Europe?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Well, if he sells for £250m he’s not getting it back in spades. He bought the club for £133m, he’s lent the club £144m (£111m from him & £33m from his company), the spade that you talk of appears to be more of a riddle.

            The £30m is the net asset value in the club. i.e. the stadium, the players, the acadamy, cash in the bank, stocks for the shops add them together and take out what is owed in transfers, the taxman and to Mike Ashley – there is a surplus of £30m. In 2007, we had the stadium and players as assets but but we owed all the stadium, owed loans, overdrawn, owed money on unpaid transfer fees for players etc, basically we owed £16m more than we had assets. Think of it that you have a house worth 200k, a car worth £5k but had a mortgage owing of £215k and car finance of £6k.

            You mention consistent asset stripping by Ashley, that’s not true, it has £46m mroe assets now than when he took it over.

            He can claim that the club can spend what it generates, the free advertising for Sports Direct is about £2-3m a year, he provides interest free loans, to but this in perspective, we paid out £8m in interest in 2007 on loans.

            You said money seems to be disappearing out of the coffers on a regular basis, it’s not. He can legitimately take £144m out of the club tax free, why would he do so in a secret fraudulent manner?

          • DavyB

            He’s not selling it for £250m though is he? He wants more. (£300-£350 according to rumour)The £30m was money in the bank not net assets. Stock in the shops has nothing to do with NUFC any more as he stripped that away from the clubs control (NUFC Direct which is part of Sports Direct) – If that’s not asset stripping, I don’t know what is! I think you have seriously underestimated the free advertising SD have received. I don’t think £2-3m is even half but even if we say £3m, that’s £33m lost revenue. You can bang on about interest free loans as much as you like but that was his fault for not doing due diligence. He could have carried on with the club in debt. IMO it was sustainable debt (much like your owning a house analogy – we could afford the repayments). It was his choice to pay it off. Why has the club had to suffer ever since because of his incompetence?
            Obviously you are an Ashley supporter so we will never see eye to eye on this. All I know is, the sooner he’s gone, the better!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The net assets in 2016 (the last accounts) was £31m, the cash in the bank was £2m. There is a stock holding the club have with sports direct, it’s not significant giving the fulfilment arrangements.

            The fulfilment and retail for Sports Direct is not asset stripping, it’s just a more efficient sales process. We actually made a loss on merchandise in one of the years pre-Ashley partly down toa terrible arrangement with Bruce Shepherd individually controlling the warehousing for the club. Once this contract (with Shepherd) ended, it was far better to use SD’s distribution & logistics rather than try and do this in-house.

            Comparitive clubs (such as Everton) have income from stadium advertising at £4m, SD take about 50% of the advertising space at SJP so £2-3m is about right.

            I will bang on about interest free loans because we paid out £8m a year in interest pre-Ashley so even if you were right with your advertising pricing, we’re £5m a year better off. He could have carried on with the club in some debt but that would still be leaving the club with an £8m interest bill. The club did not repay a penny of the stadium loan, it took a loan from MGM and overdraft was utilised to the max, it was not sustainable as it was coming up for repayment and we did not have the means.

            I’m not an Ashley supporter per se, i simply don’t see the point in blaming him for everything and certainly not making things up to be angry about. I admire him for his retail empire but he mucked up with KK. I think he thought after Big Sam that he really has to have control over the coaching team he thought it ridiculous that sacking Sam meant compensation, not only for Sam but every one of the very sizeable coaching team. You will note, subsequently, the coaching team and scouting have not been co-dependant until Benitez arrived.

            Do I want us to be taken over with someone with deep pockets? too right i do. I just think we need to be careful and don’t just blame everything on Ashley.

    • thewildchimp

      To be honest, I’d rather have Ashley than some wealthy Arab who has no more empty place to put yet another yacht or a plane so he now needs a football club. Silverware means nothing if it’s not displayed at St. James’ Park but Imam Jacub, or whatever pointless Arabic name they would “bestow” upon it. I don’t understand how Arsenal and ManC fans can be alright with it.
      I like it more to see oafish Mitro in a certain-goal chance squaring it for a tap-in, rather than some ‘world class’ ‘legend’ blasting it in selfishly for the 20th time, full of himself. Lads putting everything on the line for the shirt and not for their egos or bank accounts. That’s why Newcastle United is a great club and many secretly wish they have that. Silver gets patina, characters are timeless.

      • Lhc

        Well said

      • ghostrider

        We all know the league has become so lopsided and unfair, more so now and it’s always the same teams.
        People say Ashley has ruined the club but I happen to think opposite.
        he’s paying the price for being a bit too careful in terms of fans discontent and league status but it’s one hell of a balancing act when you’re up against clubs with owners who are (like you say) after a new toy.

        Where do we go if some flash Harry comes in and gives us a few sniffs of a potential go at something?
        We have to keep it up or the owner faces the fans wrath.
        Instead of them calling the owner a miser, they will call him a waster who’s built a team of mercenaries that just don’t care.

        People can argue it but that’s the nature of the beast.
        If I owned Newcastle United I’d do what Ashley is doing in some ways.

        • thewildchimp

          Yes, we are at that point that we aren’t highly regarded club or a bog ‘of no return’ so only a few see our club as a potential place to settle. To better players, it would only serve as a stepping stone. But it’s the general trend right now. You work until you find a better job with higher salary. You fill a vacant spot of some guy who went to a different firm and the gap behind you is filled by another one with similar values.

          I understand them to some extent.
          Vardy will never be as prased as Kane, because he stayed at Leicester and can’t have that goal-per-minute ratio – even though he’s miles better.

          I understand Mike’s problem. He was in dire straits two seasons ago, splashed some serious cash (but too late) and now thinks it can’t be done. But closing the shop like this is not the answer. Footballers are not sneakers: you can’t predict what effect they’ll have, but you still have to invest into them.
          On the other hand, we have Benitez who knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it (apart from home games) – but his ways disgust me. Yes, in big clubs you have a lot of people and only a chosen few can sniff some game time, but what I hate is the Spanish way of doing things and that’s: we hire a ton of players and use 1/4 of them, the rest will be lucky if they get loaned somewhere, otherwise they’ll be used as training partners, paid to never again play competitive football.

          Benitez maybe thinks he’s doing it for the fans and players but most of us don’t even like what he produces. The most common argument for Benitez is not “he does this and that” but “who else are we gonna hire”. He could lead us to win Champions’ League but is it really worth that much?

    • Tony Mann

      Like the Matrix – There are other doors. Key / door 4 leads to the championship (again) – Door 5 leads to league1.
      That is where your mate Ashley is taking us.

  • Chris

    I’m a 53 year old life-long NUFC-fan, highly articulate Director of an FT100 listed company and I only have one thing to say here….
    🎼 FAT COCKNEY BASTA&D – GET OUT OF OUR CLUB 🎼

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The problem with this article and many others is a lot of you fans started supporting the club when Keegan came either due to age or jumping on the band wagon. Try supporting a team in the second division for six seasons in a row where we were in the lower reaches of the league. I once went with thirty mates to games and one by one they deserted the cause till there was only me left with crowds dropping to seven thousand. You think this is bad this is nothing compared to the bad old days.
    Do you see Swansea or Southampton articles writing articles like this. What about our friends down the road in the relegation zone in the Championship. They might only have a hard core of twenty thousand but the ones that go support the team and that’s what is important. We do not want the supporters singing anti Newcastle songs so please stay away if you are not going to support the team.

    • mentalman

      thats the biggest issue people face when trying to think of what action to take, there are all sorts of things that could be done but a lot of them will spoil it for everyone else

  • mactoon

    I started going in the late 70’s, cancelled my season ticket in 2013 after we bought the 5 French players in January and Pardew said something along the lines of we have had to bring next summer’s spending forward in order to try and avoid relegation. I knew then Ashley was not going to properly invest in the club going forward so I decided he wouldn’t get another penny from me. He made me fall out of love with football, I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. The bottom line is Ashley needs to go if the club is to improve but in all his ownership I have never protested with a view to getting him out, it just wouldn’t work..

    If Ashley can’t find a buyer to match his valuation, no protest of any shape or form will change that, it would only serve to disrupt the team when we at in danger of relegation so I have no time for any ‘supporters organisation’ which suggests protesting.

    If they want to do something useful start a ‘buy your club back’ fund campaign. £500 per supporter to raise up to £50m and get in touch with Staveley and offer the money raised in order to increase her bid in exchange for shares for everyone who has contributed.

    • Michael Pattison

      Good idea

      • mactoon

        It would take 100,000 fans to pay £500 to achieve it. Imagine if the likes of sting, ant and dec, Brian johnston, Jimmy nail, shearer and all the other well off geordies got involved and bought into it. They would pay more than the minimum amount and they would raise the profile of the campaign. It would be a way for all the fans to actually make a change. I’ve contacted the ashley out people but unfortunately they haven’t replied. Maybe they just want to protest but do nothing substantial or positive about it

  • Martin Rooney

    Buy it from him

    • Michael Pattison

      its only $6,731 each – from 52,000 supporters.

  • DavyB

    I stopped going a few years back and won’t return until he’s gone. I also refuse to spend money in Sports Direct.

    • ghostrider

      Then never ever say you are a thick and thin fan. Fair weather is what you are.

  • Arty Hume

    Read most of the 48 comments this morning and have to say as supporters we are divided and therefore weak. If anything is to succeed WE need to be UNITED! However life has a cause and effect attribute to it and as far as I am concerned as supporters going to home games we are both cause and effect of our own downfall. I have posted numerous times that I no longer go to games after the KK issue which indicated to me just how this owner operates with not only personnel but with supporters and indeed the club. Over the years for me the situation has steadily got worse to the point all the asset stripping has come to a point where it can go no further as there are/is no other asset to strip. An old mining term ” The seam is mined out ” springs to mind, also on that theme as an ex-NCB worker if something was a problem in the industry we took a vote and acted on that vote, like the article. Now I have been in 3 strikes since starting as an electrician back in 1971, each with differing degrees’s of success, so for me the only clear action is strike ie stay away do not renew season tickets, IMHO it is just keeping M.A here and it is his justification for doing so. Yes it is painful, so were the strikes, it was real word stuff, when your livelihood depends on the action you take, not like this case where it is your leisure time with or without your friends. It still pains me that I cannot go to home games but I do so out of principle, there is no way I will line his pocket to screw the club. There has been a dynamic shift in the folk who attend home games ( from what I have seen on the T.V when I occasionally go to the pub to see how we are getting on ) there are a lot of females, young adults and children attending, maybe this is why the atmosphere is like that of the moon, as few know what it is like to see St.James park in full cry, it used to be deafening and teams actually feared coming on to the pitch, not now, is a place to grab 3 points from those mugs up the road. The media have cultivated an agenda which backs a failed owner and is prepared to spin out any old line which makes him look good and the club/supporters appear disloyal for being treated like $hyt#.
    History shows he only acts when faced with relegation, like now, but he knew about no takeover happening in December, so went on his hols, let us all stew, then on return announces there is someone who will pay £350m for the club, you couldn’t make it up, yet some still believed him. Problem is we all wish the best or hope for the best for the club, but like K.K told us, it will never happen under this owners tenure.
    I could go on but i’m sick of repeating, will close by saying the only way to be rid of this owner is to stay away. S.T owners will say but I have paid for my ticket, all I can say to that is more the fool you, the same thing has been happening for years and you accepted it and were obviously happy with it, your choice but if you renew or keep going, nothing will change, re cause and effect, you will be responsible for the direction the club takes.
    Stay away, please for the good of NUFC.

  • ghostrider

    This might appear silly but bear with me.
    Instead of people threatening to buoyuoaeucott (joke) the club or stand with Ashley out banners and all the rest.
    How about this.
    Stop giving Ashley grief all the time and start to accept him as part of the club and as a fan/supporter of the club and guess what?
    You just might get him to throw in a few presents every now and again.

    As much as the frenzied set of fans hate him and spew vile at him, the more he steps back from it.
    I would as well.
    All a certain section of fans do is hold a forever grudge and it’s got a lot more to do with hurting the club and giving it a bad image much more so than what people think Ashley’s motives are for supposedly trying to ruin it.

    It’s sickening man.

    So here’s what you do. Two scenarios for the club you supposedly love.

    1.Boycott everything. Don;t go, don;t buy SD good. Don;t buy NUFC goods or anything to do with Ashley.
    Do not subscribe to NUFC related internet stuff or whatever…..and so on. really wallop Mike where it apparently hurts him like crazy as you nasties feel the need to.

    Ok, what does that achieve?
    It would achieve savings for those who stick to their master plan and serves to give them a real miserable time of it all.

    What does it do to Ashley?
    It gives him the biggest advertisement space, ever and worldwide focus on him and the club which also includes SD, etc.
    A notoriety gained.

    What about the club?
    It slowly strangles the club you profess to love and support and be a fan of through THICK AND THIN.
    The usual bumph spewed out by those that tell all and sundry about how many years they went or loved or whatever but could not quite stomach it this time….because……because………oh, because Mike Ashley hurt one time messiah Keegans feelings.
    And it’s masquerading as him killing the club by not spending large sums on players that will be denied like crazy.

    So go ahead and do what you feel you want to do and see where your beloved Club goes.
    Just don’t be smug and laugh at Sunderland when you’re hell bent on attempting to put this club in the same position.

    It won’t hurt Ashley because Ashley will simply asset strip the club to ensure he doesn’t lose out and then he’ll run it as a pauper club in the lower reaches of the leagues or leave it to a select group to see that is ticks over in that state.
    The new fans will still enjoy their football in their 10,000, give or take but won’t have the Hatred attached. they will just enjoy as close as you can get to grass roots football.

    Not a bad thing the way this football lark is going on at the top.

    So go ahead and try and take Ashley out.
    You might manage it but it will only happen on his terms…..not your terms.

    OR.
    Get off Ashley’s back and stop the bile and hatred he has to endure whilst he attempting to hand over enough cash to give us a push.
    Cut him some slack and he just might add a few little prezzies into the mix that you don’t deserve but maybe he can forgive those who spew the bile.

  • ghostrider

    I have no superior attitude. I’m merely stating that everyone can make a choice when it all goes bad but they have no right to pretend they’re a thick and thin fan if they choose not to support the club when it goes through another patch of bad.
    I’ve heard so many people say they won’t go to any games or spend any money to support the club whilst Ashley is in charge.
    I make that 10 years with supporting the club.

    Nothing wrong with that if a fan wants to do that.
    Just don’t use the die hard nonsense and the thick and thin garbage when things look better.

    • DavyB

      Oh, thanks for allowing me to make my own decision. I’m feeling blessed. Keep lining fat Mike’s pockets and spouting your holier than thou BS.

      • ghostrider

        No problem.

  • Taz

    Just a thought, have the mag print out thousands of buy from JD Sports sheets that can be held up at a certain time when next on live tv. It would be another sports company that advertises for nothing in th ground, it would definitely get mentioned, the media would love it and no doubt pi$$ the fat man off at the same time, after all free advertising is his baby……