The opinion piece “The Newcastle United Negativity at the Mag Has to Stop” by Ram Kishore has received much comment and some criticism amongst Mag correspondents.

Debate is to the good but as a fellow supporter of some fifty years I think that Ram’s brave post was actually right.

This is not to exonerate Mike Ashley but to say that the pervasive negativism, which now seems to include criticism of transfer targets no one has yet to see play, creates its own momentum, and becomes self-perpetuating. Even before the season began there was, to my mind, unwarranted and often personal attacks in some quarters – I am only talking about a section of the fans here, those that are usually loudest on social media – on players that had stayed loyal to the club and got us promotion, many of whom were now being written off as not good enough without being given the time and chance to prove themselves.

Instead, aided and abetted by sections of the local press and ex-players, there was the usual clamouring for big name signings – at a time when there were few to be had and when the club’s recent record of signing big names and obtaining little in return, might have suggested caution. What seemed to have got lost in this furore was the old art of spotting and developing potential, and achieving team spirit and coherence. It was fair enough to want to some additional strengthening of the squad but not if this meant the repetitive and negative rubbishing of current players. In my opinion, this negativity and what could be argued was a lack of respect, transmitted itself to the players at the beginning of the season and only began to diminish after the transfer deadline passed – after which, for a while, results improved.

The origins of the negativity go a long way back, and, again in my view, are largely but not exclusively connected to the understandable unpopularity of Mike Ashley’s ownership. They also connect to socio-cultural changes in football and its supporters, the reconceptualisation of the sport as a monetised commodity and the supporter as a (frequently disgruntled and also entitled ) consumer of a product. These changes, which are also of course so evident in other aspects of contemporary life, have contributed to a toxic mindset where it is felt to be acceptable to launch highly personalised attacks on people over the social media, often in situations where there is little  opportunity to hear the other side of the story.

Newcastle United have some of the greatest, and most tolerant and fair minded, supporters in the world and all of us have every right to be able to express our opinion.

Although it could be argued that Mike Ashley has financially stabilised the club, he himself exemplifies many of the socio-cultural changes in football mentioned above, most of all the assertion of market and business’ values over those of tradition and the sport.

Do we know that a new owner would be different? Only that they would not be Mike Ashley. For most supporters, it seems, that would be enough. They may be right but in the meantime, it seems to me, some supporters, at least as evidenced on social media, are so consumed with a visceral hatred of all things Ashley that they have lost all sense of proportion, and have taken their eye off the football itself. Here I make what some might consider a naive point but still one, I think, worth making.

When I started as a kid watching Newcastle United under great old Sergeant Major Joe Harvey, all I was interested in was the football. It didn’t interest me who the owners or board were. I more or less took it as read that football boards and owners, the world over, with one or two exceptions, were pretty flawed.  I got joy from the game, and gallows humour from the crowd. That joy and that gallows humour are in danger of being totally lost today and the reasons for this go far beyond Mike Ashley.

Obviously in the real world these things, football and ownership, are linked. The problem now, though, is not that people want Ashley to sell up and for us to have new ownership and investment, it is that they appear to have become wedded to a position where, for emotional reasons, everything that is happening under Ashley’s ownership, everything that goes wrong on the football pitch, is attributed to what he is perceived as doing, or not doing. There is even, in some of the articles and correspondence, a sense that failure is willed and wished as proof positive of Ashley’s malignant impact.

newcastle united

The best comparison I can make is that those ardent “remainers” who are so opposed to “Brexit” that they appear to welcome, and by their actions and communications make more likely, an economic crisis that confirms their predictions. They may or may not be right to oppose Brexit but this position is a destructive, potentially self-fulfilling, one, and I worry, based on the evidence of the media, including the articles and correspondence of The Mag, that there is a parallel  tendency in sections – though I stress not all – of Newcastle United supporters, and that, as Ram says in the end, this is not helping anyone.

Nor does this mindset offer, as Ram also suggests, any insights into what might be going wrong in football terms. Yes we need some new players – who doesn’t? – but what kind of players and why?

Is need for new players the whole story?

Are we getting the best out of the squad we have got?

Are players reaching potential individually and collectively, and are players being given the chance to develop?

I respect Rafa Benitez and his achievements, and I find his interviews, on a range of subjects, highly impressive. At the same time I think that there are questions to be asked and that it as mistaken to get into the mindset that everything Rafa does is right, as it is to get into the mindset that everything Mike Ashley does is ipso facto wrong. To ask these questions isn’t, as some correspondents here seem to suggest, to disrespect Rafa, or to suggest his replacement, but to emphasise rather that support is always in the end for the club rather than for an individual. Everyone, no matter how respected,  should be subject to appraisal and question.  Unquestioning  trust, as sometimes advocated on these pages,  is not a healthy position to be in.

I will briefly put forward my own view, which of course is only one punter’s perspective and with which no doubt many will disagree. Debate, though, is a good thing and can lead to clarity. I think that the present squad is a lot better than it is being given credit for, though it also unquestionably needs strengthening in some key positions – as people have noted in attack but also, perhaps even more crucially, in attacking/creative midfield. I don’t think goalkeeper or wide positions is at all a priority, and I think the lack of opportunity given to Aarons, who, before his serious injury, looked a seriously good and exciting prospect is a great shame. People on these forums say he hasn’t moved forwards but if he isn’t given a run of games how would we ever know?

This brings me to my central concern, that whilst reinforcements are needed, the resources of the squad do not always seem to be maximised and some of the better players seem to be either temporarily or permanently frozen out of the picture.

I know it’s much talked about and may hopefully be reaching an end-game but the position of Mitrovic really bothers me. He divides opinion but it seems clear to me that he has potential, has shown he can cut it at international level, and really wants to play for the club. Why has he not been offered any opportunity this season? Perhaps it’s temperament but I don’t understand  how a player who  considered too poor or risky to start a single game is the same player that will not be sold on any grounds to relegation rivals – presumably because he might score goals/help them stay up. Correct me if I am wrong but is this not a logically inconsistent, mutually exclusive position?

There is a further thing troubling me about all this. What about natural justice? What must it feel like as player if your manager will neither play you nor sell you, all this in a season when you have what might be a once in a lifetime chance to play in the World Cup Finals? Under the circumstances, unless there is something else going on that we don’t know about, it seems to me that the “unsettled” Mitrovic as the sycophantic Chronicle puts it, far from being “temperamental” has been admirably restrained!

newcastle united

As I said, I like what I see of Rafa Benitez, and, like a lot of fans, I don’t like a lot of what I see of Mike Ashley’s regime. However, reality is complex and appearances can be deceptive; the pre-occupation with the faults of the  latter in these pages may be serving to get everyone away from questions that also need to be respectfully asked of the former. And the negativity of sections of the fans – and I stress that it is only sections – where justified criticism turns into an apparent embrace of failure  (for example of any new signings) and a wish to be proved right, creates the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For these reasons, and others, too lengthy to be gone into now, I think that Ram was absolutely right to raise the issue of the current “negativity” around Newcastle United.

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  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Some good points

  • Paul Patterson

    Good points, but the argument seems to not take into account two fractions- a) Idiots who haven’t a clue, who support Ashley through thick and thin despite the evidence batting them in the face and b) Trolls.

    • Wor Lass

      You forgot to mention Leazes and Moose!

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    Fair comment that RAFA isn’t perfect, but Ashley has inspired so many emotions in Toon fans, and it seems cyclic (a bit like our 3-4 yr relegation cycles). So we get to despair, finally hope and then get knocked back again, For some it is like the death of a friend, or a terminal illness.
    Here’s the 7 Stages of Grief model:
    SHOCK & DENIAL, NUMBED DISBELIEF…
    PAIN & GUILT …
    ANGER …
    DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS …
    UPWARD TURN …
    REBUILDING A NEW FUTURE …
    ACCEPTANCE & HOPE …

  • Martin Rooney

    We’ll said

  • Megatron1505

    As someone who works in employment law I find your mention of natural justice a little perplexing. To apply this principle you must be in possession of all the stated positions and circumstance of all involved parties.

    As you are not a member of the Newcastle United playing squad, management team or senior management I can only conclude that you don’t have these facts at your disposal but are simply applying a legal principle to your (admitted) unqualified opinion.

    I’ve said it many times regarding Mitrovic, but it’s an easy and lazy opinion to blame the manager when not in possession of the facts, which none of us are.

    • Davey drape

      i was told he sometimes misses training and add the fact we know he comes across as a liability sometimes for getting reds & letting the team down maybe 2 reasons at least why rafa doesn’t play him.

      • Mitros gotta start

        Yet Rafa himself says that mitrovic is one of the hardest trainers at the club…..dont let the facts get in the way of a good story though

        • Megatron1505

          Why would he say otherwise? If he wants to get decent money for him to reinvest in the squad it would be stupid to say otherwise would it not?

          Read Barry Fry’s book about when he sold a player with a drug habit after bigging him up the interested buying club. Not saying it’s anything like that with Mitrovic as, like everyone else, I don’t know.

          However, unlike you I won’t just blame the manager without knowing the facts.

        • Davey drape

          my info is common knowledge in certain club circles. i am certainly not going to make this up myself. i like Mitro seen him play for serbia twice v (ireland) in the last WC qualifiers & is a great prospect but something is not right at nufc with him & that is a FACT

          • Mitros gotta start

            So you are saying Rafa has been proved to be a liar yet again?

          • Davey drape

            you can still be the best trainer & miss the odd training session. at work i could be the best employee but it wouldn’t stop me taking a week off work pretending i was sick

      • Blackburn1066

        Number 3 is he will not do on the field of play what Raffa wants him to do.

    • Virsino

      Good point by both of you in a healthy debate. If I had to, I’d be siding with you, and as you have alluded to, Rafa may in fact be exercising his duty to act fairly in relation to Mitrovich (or not).

  • Davey drape

    Great read & very reasonable judgements but for me the Philosophy of our club starts at the top with the owner & when that is sorted we can look forward to a brighter future. behaviour breeds behaviour

  • East Durham Mag

    Don’t agree with you but you put it across very well.

  • JonMag

    good points, bad points, by the way look at the league table, it tells you all you need to know about the squad & 2 strikers that can only total a mere 6 goals each per season at this level & a defence that`s shipping to many goals. in my opinion the squad of 25 is short of 8 to 9 players, at least

  • StevieB

    You say the big name players we all wanted weren’t available ???
    Explain please

    • GToon

      Unfortunately they generally aren’t in January. Normally they are in the summer though and Uncle Mike was just about to back Rafa when the transfer window slammed shut. What a shame. So here we are scrapping around as per… who would have predicted that?

      • Jezza

        Other clubs around us seem to have been able to get the players they wanted. The problem we have had is not lack of availibility, it has been lack of willingness on the part of the owner.

  • TheFatController

    The analogy about wishing the worst from Brexit by remoaners rings true for Ashley’s sale of the club.

    Ashley apologists love to claim PCP didn’t have the money to invest in the club.
    Fine. If true, that means we have had no one who is serious bid for the club. In 10 years. That suggests financially we won’t be touched with an investor’s barge pole anytime soon

    Ashley himself says he won’t be putting any money in. And the debt has gone from £70m to £120m in his decade. And you say ‘financially stable’ ?

    If we can’t afford to buy the players to keep us up, where are the stable finances you talk of?

    And if we should talk about the football on the pitch in positive terms, here’s the two topics that are on the pitch this season:-

    – how soon we went out of both cups yet again – I’m still searching for any positives
    – how positive another relegation scrap is – it’s made a few of Aston villa’s past end of season games more exciting for them

    If it wasn’t for the bad luck we’ve had under Ashley, we’d have had no luck at all.

    • Clarko

      We are financially stable, the debt Newcastle have is to the owner, meaning we don’t really have debt.

      We can afford to buy players, we’ve bought six and loaned another with time and money to bring in more.

      Did you expect us to beat Chelsea?

      The bottom twelve clubs are in a relegation scrap, did you expect us to stroll all the way to 8th place?

      • Megatron1505

        Your first sentence is disingenuous rubbish and you know it.

        The club is for sale therefore the debt must be repaid, unless of course the club isn’t for sale then our benevolent owner should surely remove the debt which doesn’t exist, unless of course it does.

        • Clarko

          In the context of being “financially stable”, no it was not “rubbish”.

          That debt will be “paid back” if and when someone buys the club.

          • Megatron1505

            So we do have debt then, and it has been increased.

          • Clarko

            Yes, debt that will not be paid back by Newcastle.

          • Megatron1505

            So your statement about no debt was rubbish then.

            Newcastle United won’t pay it back unless our benevolent owner decides that it will, but he wouldn’t do that would he? He wouldn’t stifle commercial revenues would he? Say by not allowing the club to maximise advertising as a revenue stream.

          • Clarko

            Hey look at that, the inevitable change in subject to commercial revenues… I wonder why 🤔

            No, my statement was not rubbish as explained, Newcastle won’t pay back that debt, “meaning we don’t really have debt”.

            Have fun Megatron1505 👍🏿

          • Megatron1505

            No need to wonder, just connect the absolutely massive glowing dots.

            Unless of course you are purposely ignoring the obvious as it doesn’t suit your narrative, but you wouldn’t do that would you?

          • Clarko

            No Megatron1505, it’s because it’s just irrelevant.

            Have fun though 👍🏿

          • Megatron1505

            So increasing the debt whilst stifling the money which the club can generate itself is irrelevant?

            He could recoup payment by allowing the club to maximise revenue streams but instead he just cuts the money the club can make, this is irrelevant?

            Errrrr……ok.

          • Clarko

            Yes, all irrelevant to the conversation.

          • Megatron1505

            I guess we’re not having the same conversation then, weird existential moment.

          • Clarko

            Powerman3000:
            “You’re talking rubbish about the debt”

            Me:
            “No I’m not and here’s why”

            Powerman3000:
            “Commercial revenues, cry cry, blah blah”

            The conversation went something like that, go back and take a read.

          • Megatron1505

            Get back to those dots Clarko, you’ll find the path one day matey 👍

          • GToon

            What’s with the “have fun” and little hand. Are you trying to annoy him? The middle digit raised emoji would probably be a better choice.

          • Jezza

            Don’t feed the troll, lads.

          • GToon

            Why is Ashley wanting 300m for the club then? For the money he bought it for, the debt and a little bit of profit. How is the debt increasing if there isn’t a debt?

          • Down Under Mag

            The debt isn’t there in a traditional sense of owing an external company or a lending institution, but in terms of an amount that has been paid off and put against MASH, which is the company that owns the club. It’s a clever way of ensuring there are no interest repayments but that should any sale go through Ashley will not be out of pocket. Clever by the man, but let’s not create propaganda surrounding the lack of debt.

          • Clarko

            So nothing I said was wrong.

      • GToon

        What will our estimated income be at the end of next season? Approximately? For a financially stable club you would be able to give an approximate figure I would think.

  • Tony English

    One thing that is for sure, personal slurs regarding Ashley’s weight + place of birth + dubious parentage doesn’t help.

    It shifts the focus for shoddy pundits to ‘the fans hating cockneys’ from his actual track record as an owner, and I’m sure it has made him dig his heels in even more regarding the purse strings and the sale.

    The name calling needs to stop.

    • Megatron1505

      Yes but “you heartless businessman, get out of our club” doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?

      • Tony English

        If you want the press to look at our situation with balance, don’t feed them a lazy song that allows sections of the media to frame an argument in a lazy manner.

        Ashley is clearly a stubborn man who doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do, I think the more we needle him the more he’ll hang around and rub our noses in it.

        It’s totally counterproductive.

        • Megatron1505

          You’re right, maybe if we ask the nice man politely he will simply sod off.

  • GToon

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Unfortunately Ashley has done the same thing since he bought the club and we are experiencing the same results. For me it isn’t so much making a mistake, which everybody does, it’s not learning from those mistakes and then repeating them. I honestly can not think of one single way in which Ashley’s ownership has benefited our club. I totally refuse to accept the hypothetical “we were gonna do a Leeds/Portsmouth”. Ashley has not saved us. He has not given us financial stability as we have become a yo-yo club whose income is never stable from one season to the next.
    With regard to Rafa I think you are correct. He has made some mistakes, especially with Mitrovic. I also think his treatment of Colback is very poor. I don’t like the tactics either but at the same time I understand that this might be the best way to get results with the players at his disposal. Ashley has openly stated that he doesn’t understand football and yet refuses to accept the advice of a manager who clearly does.

    • Megatron1505

      There are 92 league clubs, of which the vast majority are not Portsmouth or Leeds or…….

      However this small minority are always the example used by apologists as an excuse for the neglect and insulting behaviour of the owner.

      • GToon

        Well in our case they are used as examples suggesting that if it wasn’t for Ashley we would have been in financial trouble and would have had to sell our players to survive. Luckily for us good old uncle Mike arrived to save the day and then …… sell our players. Hahaha.

      • Jezza

        The thing is Ashley most certainly WILL make us another Leeds or Portsmouth. That is exactly the way we are heading under his stewardship. Just give it a couple of years.

        • Youenaye…

          Hard not to feel a sense of dread after so many transfer windows closed with the curtain drawn the entire time.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results – does that include pasting the same rubbish on this forum every day?

      • GToon

        Probably. I post it. You reply. Bingo!

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Boom

        • Virsino

          That was top notch :)

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    I value difference and respect others opinion but don’t necessarily agree. Can’t you see what Ashley as his minions are doing?! Ashley is divisive and only interested in his ‘product’. The club is an advertisement for and he cares not a jot about Rafa or the fans.
    Anyone have a spare 7KW large scale outdoor building projector so we can highlight our dissent towards Ashley’s running of the club onto St James’ Park?! #AshleyOut

  • bob0411

    It’s all about trust at the end of the day. The vast majority of fans trust Rafa. Is he perfect? Of course not, he’s a human being and just as likely to make mistakes as any of us. However I do believe he has our best interests at heart. Contrast that with the constant and continuing abuse of trust by the owner, who has been proven in a court of law to be a consummate liar, for over a decade is what is putting fans backs up. There’s also the ‘black ops’ PR in use by Barnes/Bishop, the ‘Chief Exec’ in Charnley who’s been promoted in house beyond the level of his ability to act as Ashley’s whipping boy, and the general disrespect shown to the city itself. This isn’t negativity for negativity’s sake but an overall anger at the way we are being treated.

    • Down Under Mag

      All managers make mistakes. In both tactics and signings. Holding a player like Joselu against rafa isn’t fair when you consider how much he was allowed to spend. Or Slez as a failure…how many players did Fergie get wrong at Man utd in his time there? Didn’t a certain Veron cost a then world record fee and was totally abysmal? Did the board refuse Fergie any more funds or the fans hound him out on that back of it?

      There was talk that he shouldn’t have bought Murphy but perhaps that was a deal that needed to be done while they could and he is looking like a promising player for us…or maybe Rafa just thought he’s still have more to spend but Ashley backtracked. We don’t know but overall, given what he has had to work with I think he’s done a great job overall in rebuilding the club after the last relegation, the work just needs to continue but he isn’t being backed to do so.

      • Damon Horner

        I think you’re right between the both of you. Rafa will make mistakes but while things don’t feel sensible at boardroom level it’s hard to make him totally accountable at this stage.

  • Youenaye…

    it is quite obvious that the debt owed to Ashley is something he hopes to recoup with a good deal of further profit

    • Jezza

      He’s already more than recouped any debt with the profits he has steadily been taking out of the club since 2007.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        How? You are very stupid sometimes.

        • Clarko

          Sometimes?

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I was being polite. Jezza has athe ability of stating a complete lie and then getting irate when he’s called out.

          • Clarko

            Never has a truer comment been posted.

          • Guest 2

            By yourself, under you alter ego

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Seems someone has been deleting your posts, much as I disagree with folk, I don’t think voices should ever be muted.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I think someone is trying to stop debate here, both yours and my posts appears to be censored / blocked.

            I’ve changed my name to get around little matter, just change your profile name.

          • Clarko

            Same thing happened to my previous account last week, switched to this account and everything was instantly “detected as spam”, to stop it I just used a VPN extension for Chrome and that seems to do the trick.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Can you see my post on “mike-ashley-still-managing-fool-people-time-transfers-newcastle-united”?

          • Clarko

            I can see two posts from you on that article.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Okdoke, the name change seems to have worked.

          • Clarko

            I just tried the name change and my messages get instantly blocked without the use of a VPN meaning they have blocked my IP address.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Your name is still the same, you will need to change the name in the profile, no spaces, use underscore and make sure it’s saved.

          • Clarko

            I did, I tried a few names and commented on a random articles just as a test and they all got removed.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Which thread?

          • Clarko

            Extending his contract? Rafa Benitez warns Mike Ashley “We have to be on the same page” and Exclusive reports Newcastle could be set to sign Luan as alternative to Nicolai Jorgensen.

            I post, refresh the page and it tells me that they are “spam”, and they are removed, it’s instant so you’ll not see them.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I reckon you may have to register a new name. I’d actually got a little bored of the debate but I don’t like being bullied by censorship and got rather stubborn.

          • Clarko

            New accounts just get blocked, it must be an IP address block, the VPN works so it doesn’t matter anyways.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Stick to the VPN method, I’m not techy do I’d not know he was to do that. I use various tablets, phones, pc’s and even the car stereo is android so my IP address on one device may be blocked but I’d not really notice.

          • Clarko

            All your devices connected to your internet will have the same public IP address so you’re IP address isn’t blocked, which is strange as I don’t know why they would block my IP address but block your name. Maybe someone selectively removed your messages or other users flagged so of your messages and they then got removed.

            If ever your IP does get blocked just download a VPN, all you do is turn it on and you can post away, it just masks you IP address.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Some are work computers, some are mobile

          • Clarko

            You work IP address may be blocked, if you use data on your mobile I believe you are given a different IP address every time you disconnect and reconnect.

            You can test it, if you ever post a message that gets blocked check your IP address at whatismyip . com and make a note of it, then try posting from your phone using your data or your home connection while noting the IP addresses and figure out which one, if any, is blocked.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s rather amusing given the comments that are allowed to sail through from the simpletons who go along with the Mag’s agenda.

          • Clarko

            So under your old profile name every single post you made was getting censored? And when you changed your profile name you were able to post freely again?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The censorship only happened yesterday when I dared to call young Jezza out for fibbing.

            I’ve been blocked a few times and just amended the name slightly.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Like most, his starting position will be to recoup his money. The offer on the table dies not do that.

  • Down Under Mag

    I read the original article and thought it was a brave post and one well worth sharing in the hope of lifting some of the increasing negativity and in-fighting amongst the fans of this club.

    When the Mag changed from it’s original incarnation to a forum it was inevitably going to get it’s fair share of trolls and keyboard warriors but for the most part things are fairly civil between us all and tend to revolve around open comments of what people think is happening or what needs to change. As with most online prescence these days you will get the idiots who come on simply to get a kick out of winding people up because they have nothing better to do with their time than try to ruin other peoples enjoyment.

    However, if you go through a lot of the posts on this site, there may be an overall negative vibe but to be honest that reflects the state of affairs at the club. We do not have much say at the club (read none) and for most on here, the negative comments I feel are more a cathartic outpouring of frustration and a kind of group therapy to cope with what I think we will all agree is fast becoming a shadow of the club we all love.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Ram’s post was not ‘brave’; it was stupid and ignorant.

    • East Durham Mag

      It was absolutely naive at best and the usual suspects on here would have loved it.

  • Youenaye…

    What grinds against the supporter section that have any political consciousness whatsoever – and there are a great majority that do – is that we are being run by an unsavoury neo-liberal oligarch, straight out of the Thatcher textbook; accurately lampooned by Harry Enfield “loadsamoney” whose alterego was the embarassing but hilarious “buggerallmoney” who drank beer and smurked at least ten tabs at once and was THAT hard. VIZ magazine provided these successful comic sketch artists with their fodder. Now Newcastle have a Spurs fan who knows nothing about football or running a club and is in a constant win-win situation. We have been handed our heads or arses back to us on a silver platter by the very regime that put Newcastle and the North Easts into the dire straits it has been since March 1979. Ashley is a satanic icon of the times a humourless somewhat rotund uncaring businessman who doubtless obtained and continues amassing great wealth not just through zero hour contracts but with deals that no doubt attest to a fearless killing instinct as business is always paralled with war. Socio-or psychopath whatever fits, but the man reported as vomitting into a pub fireplace requires no sense of decency even if he had it. Who, after so long and so many humiliating incidents within and without the club with the supporters themselves in the Bigg Market or as an absent patron could possibly not consider the villain of the piece not to be Mike Ashley.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Please do not try and represent other Nufc fans as a bunch of workshy socialists.

      • Megatron1505

        Wow, he really didn’t even come close to doing that at all.

      • Youenaye…

        I said nothing of the kind bobbi. I talked of extremely amusing stereotypes that are wild exceptions but ones that have been encountered by those in the South and in the North East with regards to the two characters that Enfield drew on. The irony being that the genius of VIZ is famously from Newcastle. Their legacy is legion. Who said anything about workshy? Strange assumptions there. As for socialist, I think there are many NUFC supporters that would be quite happy or at least not insulted by the word. Who are the other NUFC fans bobbi? You and whose toon army? There will be a great deal of UKIP Brexiteers in the stands are there could well be Corbyn voters with a somewhat different perspective. So try to read a bit closer before making wild assumptions. Ooooh bobbi pretty funny…..

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman


          What grinds against the supporter section that have any political consciousness whatsoever – and there are a great majority that do – is that we are being run by an unsavoury neo-liberal oligarch, straight out of the Thatcher textbook;”

          That suggests the majority reject neo liberalism, I for one do not. Self reliance and taking responsibility is important for me and if fans took this attitude, we’d put our money where our moth is and invest in the club rather than moan that someone else isn’t spending enough if their money.

          • Youenaye…

            I got that Bobbi baby just saw your profile pic. I don’t include you in that comment at all. But rest assured that I said nothing about workshy but I am not a fan of the neo-liberal. I talked of political consciousness and you talk of neo-liberal as your position – that is not what I meant by politically conscious. Neo-liberal is fundamentally no politics but a return to 19th century social Darwinism with the haves berating the have nots for not having anything. So put your money where your neo-liberal mouth is and buy the club for us bobbi and does us paternalistically proud. Ask around when next at SJP to find out if there are any people there with a political consciousness. Perhaps they can’t afford a seat.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            No, it’s not the haves berating the have nots. Yes, it’s by-passing politics but it’s about self reliance and not expecting the state to hand life on a plate.

            As for buying the club, I want the 150,000 Nufc fanatics to put £2,000 in, then we can say we deserve a say and not just blame the bloke who took a punt on the club.

          • Youenaye…

            Cheers Bobbi for standing up for what you think – seriously I’d love to have that 2,000 quid deal experiment happen. But I just don’t think that people are always in the position that you may be in to have the confidence or wherewithall to not be ground down by neo liberalism. To organise all those people with their investment and run it well would be breathtakingly complex nonetheless.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            It would not be experimental, it would be ownership. Some will put more in, some less but an average of £2k across 150,000 fans.

            Back to Jezza s claim, no money has been taken, there is enough to get upset about with Mike Ashley but pulling money out / profiteering in not one.

    • Guest 2

      Hang on mate, I detest the fat bas….. but what’s politics got to do with anything? If we got taken over by moneybags and did a City you wouldn’t give a hoot about Thatcherism, Left/Right or anything else.

  • Youenaye…

    Yeah Jezza I don’t doubt he has recouped a hundredfold in all ways possible profile, advertising, monies and pure spite. The latter most definitively plays a great role. It would be hard to counter that with all the evidence amassed over the years.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Apart from it not being true. Nothing has been taken from the club.

      • cmrowley

        Any idea how much the club makes on a shirt? Any idea how much sports direct makes? Or MASH as owner of the badge?

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          I know we make more than we did in 2007.

          • cmrowley

            More revenue overall than 2007? From merchandise?
            You know that MA makes money from the club through merchandising yet say he takes nothing from the club.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The club made a loss on merchandise in 2007, it also made a loss a year or two earlier.

            Revenue may be higher but the costs were higher still. You can still find the story of Bruce Shepherd and his arrangements with merchandise distribution. Read them and come back to me.

          • cmrowley

            Dear me. The mental gymnastics some will go through….

            We’ve gone from MA has taken nothing from the club to… profit and loss on 2007 revenue and Bruce Shepherds merchandise distribution arrangements…

            All to deflect and present a non denial denial.

            Disingenuous is the politest thing I can say.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Well, you need to see the full picture. Ashley hasn’t taken money out of the club, the merchandise is far more profitable than he inherited. What’s your beef?

      • GToon

        Hope certainly has.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          You can have that, intangibles are difficult to prove

      • Youenaye…

        Good to know bobbi I stand corrected if you are right. But profile, advertising and so on are indubitable. However you are a strange apologist for the man which is slightly intriguing.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          Do you really think he wants profile? Advertising is worth very little £2-3m in comparison to lost interest of £8m.

          If you can find anything that backs up Jezza’s stupid post, I’ll take my hat off to you. All I can see is a small repayment of the relegation loan of 2010 but it’s otherwise been one way traffic.

        • Guest 2

          Where you been?
          Fleckman has more alter ego’s on here than Batman! He failed A level accountancy but believes he’s the natural successor to Charnley.
          Yeah, he aims high, but mingles low. Way way low.

          • Youenaye…

            Hiya yeah first day out….

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Apart from it not being true. Nothing has been taken from the club but for the 2010 relegation loan was repaid in 2011-12 .

      Unfortunately Jezza has a tendency of making things up, this is a perfect example.

  • goggsy

    The accusation that the real Newcastle United supporters,that have been going to the match for decades,that happen to expect only bad things for our club whilst this man is at the helm,are actualy enjoying the absolute national laughing stock that we have become,is absolutely preposterous. Unlike the trolls/bots,we couldn’t care less about being proved right,it’s simply using the Knowledge you’ve acquired to make an educated guess as to what you think is likely to happen in the future. E.g. in January anybody could hazard a decent guess that by the 31st our squad has a far greater chance of being depleted than it does of being improved,going off our record over the last 10 years in January.
    The real supporters want what is best for the club,yes football has become inherently boring and that isn’t his fault,but no ones saying it is.Football has changed and in General is absolute dross that is only going to get worse with or without that man at our club. At the same time having a regime that we believe wants the best for our club and appreciates it’s potential,as the manager appears to,would go a long way to appeasing supporters in spite of the boring nature of what was once called the beautiful game.

    • Guest 2

      Rafa’s boring football is designed to keep the club in the PL through a better goal difference than those around us. He’s wise enough to appreciate it is likely to come down to that.
      He can’t compete on a football basis The reasons for that are common sense to anyone with more than one brain cell.
      The Trolls on here and even this half hearted pseudo psychological article just show why we continue to be called deluded.
      A certain percentage of support/commentors/writers are undoubtedly suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

      • Youenaye…

        Yes, I agree it is survival football and that is the reality of the game with the field tipped steeply toward the big money clubs. Rafa is bound to make mistakes and it is simply unrealistic to expect entertainment. Safety first and hopefully we don’t become a Stoke. Many of us thought Rafa would have walked long ago when not given funds going back two transfer windows. Since the second coming of Keegan he has been the best appointment by far and one we all felt was beyond belief and geordie fans had every right to think that Ashley had suddenly had his Road to Damascus moment and was finally going to blend business plans with footballing ambitions for the club.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    There were two thousand seven hundred fans their today and what struck me were the number of women, families people of lets say fans from different countries who were supporting Newcastle United I was very proud. However there were forty to fifty fans singing anti Ashley songs a fight at half time . The Mag and George from the Times hate Newcastle United bit ninety nine per cent of the fans there today were first class god bless.

    • Guest 2

      We all you hate you more, take a bow

    • Dillon Tovak

      Other than the fight I back all of the things you’ve listed, including the anti Ashley song though, good on you for feeling pride of the variation of our fan base.

  • Dillon Tovak

    I did a fine art degree and because your dissertation could be about ANYTHING. My title was “In a post capitalist society can Premier League football clubs maintain a balance between entertainment and corporate interest?”
    It was inspired by our disgusting owner.
    The answer is unfortunately no, unless teams like FC Manchester inspire other fan led clubs, stick to their guns and take over the whole English game.
    Swansea are about as good as it gets in the top tier and Germany have a decent system of giving the fans a 50%+1 voting right on club matters.
    Ironically NFL is actually quite socialist, with the whole reverse draft thing. But the whole of Europe would have to adapt their college system so it’s not a model we can replicate.

    • Youenaye…

      Always amusing to read post capitalist society – so capitalism is in the past like WW2 and so on? Surely Feudal Capitalist Society would suit your thesis better. The post terms are, by definition, passé… But yeah pretty much agree with all you said. Cheers.

      • Dillon Tovak

        I originally wrote capitalist but my dissertation tutor said that wouldn’t be technically correct. I took her word for it and thought nothing more, it’s something to do with a second wave 😂

        • Youenaye…

          Yeah they really confuse as much as they can. Like all that post modern, post structuralist etc just like the feminism now, post Weinstein is “third” wave – ha ha ha. The profit motive is behind all that as well as football. Ahem, capitalism is it and it is far more than technically correct. Just they don’t like you stepping out of the rules of their discourse.

  • Danimal

    Saying everything Ashley does is bad and everything Rafa does is good would be wrong. Yes, Rafa does make the odd mistake.

    • Guest 2

      Meanwhile at Ashley manor (otherwise known as Shirebrook) …..

      • Danimal

        Just to clarify, everything Ashley does is bad. A totally unsuitable figurehead for our great club.

  • Guest 2

    Reasoned debate? Ok.
    1. “the usual clamoring for big name signings – at a time when there were few to be had and when the club’s recent record of signing big names and obtaining little in return, might have suggested caution.”
    Recent record? It’s now 12 years since the club has spent more than 16 million on a player – despite tv revenue multiplying disproportionately. What’s recent about that?
    2. TV revenue I mention because in over a decade of Ashley ownership this so called great financial savior of a businessman has completely failed to increase any other form of revenue for the club. A businessman who neglects to create commercial revenue for his business – while profiting from club assets for himself, no less.
    3. Lack of respect – has indeed been shown, but to a Manager we could have only dreamed of coming here. Clearly he was sold a proposition which once again did not materialise. The team he built to win promotion, won promotion. It was never going to compete for PL survival and Rafa knew it. He told his employers that fact and yet again nothing was done.
    4. Comparing a multi billionaire owner to any NUFC ‘board’ prior to H&S is disingenuous. We invariably suffered from under investment during all those years and had a right to negativity resulting from it.
    5. ‘Socio-cultural issues’? Our owner closed a company simply to avoid legitimate trading bills (owed to Diesel) and threw his workforce onto the dole with no notice and days before a Xmas. He bought the foreclosed company back, debt free and simply carried on under a new name. The rest of his behaviour is public knowledge and more a reflection of him than any societal failing of club supporters or his critics.
    5. “What’s going wrong in football terms”? You really have to ask such a question? A club owner who allowed no one to be signed for 18 months. KK, Wise, Jimenez, Llambias, Kinnear, Pardew, McClaren, Carver… We have a 2nd string 5 million quid striker. Fairly self evident
    6. If Ashley got the debt thing right (debatable) – what else has he got right?

    Happy to debate such points any day of the week. This article reads like it was written by a Millennial, a confrontation avoid-er, not a so called 50+ years supporter.

    • TheFatController

      What’s debatable about the debt is this:-

      – Hall and Shepherd were criticised for the £70m debt by Ashley apologists

      They claim Ashley runs a tight ship and has costs under control

      – the debt is now £120m, we can’t compete apparently and with 4 days of the window to go have a spend of
      minus £20m across the last 3 windows, plus as you say all revenue streams bar tv are down.

      Yet people like you and me have to listen to apologists tell us that Ashley has the finances of the club under control ….?

      £50m additional debt, a rubbish squad, a manager being forced to walk out, pundits claiming we look like relegation fodder. How’s all that making us financially sound under the cost-control austerity of Ashley…?

      • Guest 2

        Actually mate it’s 144 million, before he ‘loans’ the club any more in this window (yeah, right!) St James Holdings loans the money – that’s Ashley.
        St James Holdings loaned the club 29 million – in order to repay Ashley’s personal contribution following relegation 1.
        Whatever Fleckman, Clarko and Monkseaton say – the facts are facts. He’s been repaid 29 million and that amount has been added to club debt as further loans.
        When he finally ships out he’ll get the same money back again.

        And the ground mortgage under H&S was 47 million – repayable by 2016. Do the maths!

        • Clarko

          Can you link me information on the £28.8m loan being repaid to Ashley from the first relegation?

          To my knowledge after that £28.8m loan the total sat at £139.8m (up from £111.0m), he loaned the club a further £0.2m taking the total to £140.0m before taking a repayment of £11.0m taking the loan down to the £129.0m we have today (that’s without counting the £33.0m he loaned the club in December 2016 as those accounts have yet to be released).

          • TheFatController

            So, those figures prove that Ashley hasn’t got the finances under control, he is just controlling the spiralling debt (within the context of football’s booming economy) using his own money.

            He has a plan to recoup it through a sale. That presumes somebody wants to buy it.

            And if PCP werent serious, as an Ashley source suggested (‘time wasters’) there are no serious bidders, nor are there likely to be.

            How will we ever be able to spend on players when the debts are spiralling towards over £150m and we make a few million profit every year if lucky?

          • Clarko

            That comment is all over the place dude.

            We are in debt to Ashley, and that debt has only “spiralled” because Newcastle were relegated.

            The profit we make is dependant on player transfers and remaining in the Premier League.

            We can spend as much as Ashley (and FFP) allows us to spend.

          • Guest 2

            We were relegated twice as a result of his ownership and the decisions he has implemented on and in the club. Increased debt is down to him.

            The profit we make is largely dependent on TV revenue – which he decreased due to relegation’s. His player policy has meant we barely ever make signings good enough to bring a profit. The highest value sale in over a decade was for a player he inherited – Carroll.

            FFP is a mugs excuse. One certain way around any restriction is to make use of commercial revenue (own revenue) which is not counted – yet the owner has failed to grow that beyond the level it was when he arrived 11 years ago.

            The club could spend 23 million more than revenue earned – if the owner/related parties wished to do so . NUFC minimum revenue from tv alone this season will be 100 million.

          • Clarko

            Dude, again, you’re looking for an argument. I’m not looking to argue. Everything I said was factual.

            The profit we make is dependent on staying in the Premier League and player transfers.

            We can spend as much as FFP allows us to spend, it’s not an excuse, I’m not excusing anyone, it’s just a rule.

          • Guest 2

            I’m not American so don’t call me Dude. I’m not looking for an argument either. Just presenting facts in the way you keep refusing to do.

          • Clarko

            Again, everything I said was factual, you just have to turn everything into a “lets trash Ashley” argument.

          • Guest 2

            Er, the facts trash Ashley.

          • Clarko

            Sure they do.

          • Guest 2

            Who’s being argumentative then? The facts of Ashleys ownership are self evident to anyone who has an ounce of reasoning in their skull. Clearly you ain’t happy unless you are winding people up. Jog on, sonny.

          • Clarko

            You are being argumentative. You don’t know how to read or process the information that you’re reading , you’re just hell-bent on letting everyone know that Ashley is bad regardless of the conversation.

            @disqus_uILzpdxhMC:disqus was asking about the debt, the sale and how that impacts transfers, I answered. You then reply to me, restate information that is already present in my comment, the comment that you’re responding to and then go off on about commercial revenue, Andy Carroll and how relegation was Ashley’s fault, it’s all irrelevant.

            You’re informed, but you don’t know how and when to use that information, in the end you just come across as being stupid and angry all of the time.

          • Clarko

            You are being argumentative. You don’t know how to read or process the information that you’re reading , you’re just hell-bent on letting everyone know that Ashley is bad regardless of the conversation.

            TheFatController was asking about the debt, the sale and how that impacts transfers, I answered. You then reply to me, restate information that is already present in my comment, the comment that you’re responding to and then go off on about commercial revenue, Andy Carroll and how relegation was Ashley’s fault, it’s all irrelevant.

            You’re informed, but you don’t know how and when to use that information, in the end you just come across as being a stupid, angry person.

          • Guest 2

            You brought up FFP. Commercial revenue is therefore 100% relevant – so is the fact that Ashley has failed (or rather not even tried) to develop that.

            Relegation’s are not irrelevant to increased/increasing debt either.

            I know perfectly well how to comprehend and make use of the information – particularly when it comes to countering apologists like yourself.

          • Clarko

            “You brought up FFP. Commercial revenue is therefore 100% relevant – so is the fact that Ashley has failed (or rather not even tried) to develop that”. Again, lack of comprehension, me mentioning FFP does not make an explanation or commercial revenue relevant, nobody was asking for or debating FFP or commercial revenue.

            “Relegation’s are not irrelevant to increased/increasing debt either”. Relegations are absolutley relevant to debt, but a whole story of how Ashley destroyed the club and how that lead to the relegations is not.

            “I know perfectly well how to comprehend and make use of the information”. You don’t because FFP, commercial revenue and relegation blame was irrelevant to the discussion, there wasn’t even a discussion for them to be relevant to.

            This has become incredibly pedantic, so have fun obsessing, getting frustrated and blaming everything that happens to Newcastle on Mike Ashley.

          • Guest 2

            You really are a [email protected] I’ll leave you in your little fantasy world where apparently nothing at NUFC is the owners fault.
            Blocked your nonsense too so don’t bother .

          • Clarko

            There it is, the “you’re right, I look stupid, I have nothing to say so I’ll call you a name and block you” comment.

            Have fun dude.

          • Guest 2

            11 mil repaid to him (2012) after relegation 1, leaving 129 mil total debt.
            33 million secure loan December ’16 (St James Holdings) of which 18 million went personally to Ashley – all 29 million from relegation 1 therefore repaid (111 mil left).
            111 million + 33 million = 144 million.
            Those facts can be found in the ‘Trading Performance’ and ‘Post Balance Sheet events’ section of Newcastle United’s 2016 accounts, submitted Apr 2017

          • Clarko

            Got it, thanks.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Slightly disingenuous, the additional £15m made available to the club via sjh on the same interest free terms. Sjh is owned by MA.

            It’s not as if he’s starved the club of money .

  • Alex

    Using big words, and having the ability to write with very good grammar, doesn’t alter the fact that, by and large, the article is a pile of schyte.

  • Desree

    Enough is enough. In the past Pardew, McLaren, Kinnear were all foils for the shambolic running of the club.

    No academy, no players coming through, no investment. Paying the bills and cost of doing business is NOT investment. Giving the club a loan is NOT investment.

    Expectations are not being met, Ashley had an opportunity to get out. He is not interested in investing only taking.

    • Virsino

      …ya missed out the next “is enough”..I had it singing in my head

      Enough, is enough, is enough
      I can’t go on, I can’t go on no more no
      Enough, is enough, is enough
      I want him out, I want him out that door now

      Even Donna Summer knew it.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      So you don’t want the owner to lend the club money or borrow it? How do you propose magic investment?

      I’m all for a partial floatation if shares but the last time we tried that, the fans failed the club.

  • TC Toon Army

    I knew brexit would come up sooner or later.

  • skarabrae

    If the club was run positively, then the opinions on here would be positive! The club is being raped & ran into the ground at all levels.. so I’m afraid that’s negative.,.& it all boils down to one person!!!

    • TheFatController

      Yes, that’s the fact of it.

      Of course, Ashley apologists would say we’re choosing to ignore his many good points. Choosing to be negative when there’s so much to be positive about (?)

      Well they would say that wouldn’t they…

      • ghostrider

        There’s a lot going for this club that some won’t have shortly.

        • TheFatController

          Nope, there’s not. We’ll be relegated and £140m in debt with no players to sell, fewer season tickets, revenue down, no manager willing to take the job that could actually do it well.

          Who will have that scenario? Who would have it worse ? Harltepool? Sunderland ? Wow, that’s good.

          • Mark Potter

            There are many things wrong with Ashley. The problem is that you allow those things to be all consuming, and lose all perspective. To the point where it appears you, and others, actively want the manager to leave, you want the club to be relegated, and you want the club to have debts that it can’t pay. Which of course means bankruptcy and dropping a division. Then who will buy NUFC? Not Lady Staveley.

            The hatred and demonizing of Ashley has reached a point where otherwise sensible people have lost all sense. People who are articulate and educated, who have jobs and families, and seem to care about their communities, drop to the lowest common denominator as they vie with each other to say the most outlandish things. They declare that Ashley is evil because he defiled the name of a club legend (by changing the name of a pub for gods sake!), yet they say the most evil things about Moncur and Beardsley, even wishing them dead. All of the ills of the world are piled on Ashley’s door, like Satan being blamed for every disease and natural disaster.

            Yet we raise our eyes a touch to glance outside of the Newcastle bubble and we see a club which is doing far worse than ever Newcastle have done at any time of Ashley’s reign. We see clubs a little further afield, like Boro, where they have a local owner, who really cares about the club, and has spent a considerable fortune of his own money on them. Yet they were relegated with one or two points different to us, and then spent something like 8 out of 9 years outside the Prem. How they would love to be in our situation, in the Prem and outside of the bottom three. Even if It’s only one point.

            And then just a little further down the A1 we have Leeds.
            Bankruptcy and a mad owner, who was banned from running his own club for a time. Outside the “elite” now for 15 years, a generation may grow up without ever seeing Prem football at Elland Road. That great club, with so much history and fanatical support.

            What I can’t understand that people are so adamant that we must get relegated, when we are one of 6 or 7 clubs in danger. With months to play. Do we not trust our world class manager to keep the team playing? We not only have that single point we have a much better goal difference than some others around us. So far the team and manager have ensured that we don’t keep getting hammered. Nearly every game we remained in up to the end with a chance, and at virtually no time have they dropped their heads and let the opposition run riot. It’s not pretty to watch. But It’s not pretty to hear the whining of people who have let their heads dropped, who have thrown in the towel, and who do assume that we will be relegated whatever we do. But what is worse is those who won’t support the TEAM, because they want to score points against the owner. Most don’t go to games anyway, but they constantly encourage others not to go. It will send a message to Ashley, they say. True, but it also sends a message to potential investors, to players who consider signing, to the manager and the current players. And of course to the media who absolutely love the club in crisis headlines.

            Rafa spoke to Sturridge personally, as he did with Tammy Abrahams. Either neither them are trustworthy people, outside influence made them basically lie to Rafa’s face that they would sign. Or they read that the world class manager that spoke to them is about to walk out, or about to be sacked? Either he isn’t a big draw, or they didn’t think he would be around very long. Who can blame them? There are still supporters who criticise him and don’t understand why he even signed a contract with the club in the first place.

            You and many others on this forum told us that Rafa would leave in the summer. And the bookies made him favourite to be the first managerial casualty of the season. Months later and he’s still here. Yet just about every other manager in the bottom half of the table has gone. Our manager is still here, he believes in himself, his team and the club to battle right to the last minute of the last game of the season. Why don’t you give him your support?

            It’s not an either/or situation. You don’t have to love Ashley. You can wish someone would offer the money and he would leave. Though you should be realistic that this may not actually solve all of the problems. But don’t turn against the club. Mutually Assured Destruction is not a way forward.

            Ashley isnt the club. One day he will be gone, but Geordies will still be Geordies, and we only have one team we can support. Our home team, our home town.

    • ghostrider

      No it’s not being raped at all.

      • skarabrae

        Sorry, but your a fool.

        • ghostrider

          No need to apologise. You’re entitled to your opinion.

  • ghostrider

    One of the best articles I’ve read on here and there”s been some really good ones.

    • Charlie Dickens

      Aye, balanced, looks at things from both sides, none of this black and white, good vs. evil, primitive rubbish we normally have to endure. It’s like a proper adult capable of cognitive resonance wrote it rather than some drunken student who hasn’t been laid in a while.

  • kingfisher

    With reference to the original post about negativity by Ram Kis8hore,fair play to him for supporting N.U.F.C. from India.However with the greatest of respect, I refuse to be criticised by someone who has only supported us for a short period of time and who lives thousands of miles away.
    I’ve supported Newcastle United for over 50 years now and have had good times and bad times, but until he’s walked a mile in my shoes, he couldn’t possibly understand the abject failure and total loss of hope that comes with those 50 years of support.
    As they say: it’s the hope that kills you, and what upsets me (and a lot of fans) the most is the potential we have had for years and never realising that potential!

    We have a history of failing when it matters, after doing the hard work,losing cup finals, and more importantly losing a 12 point lead for the Premier League title.If we had won the title,where would we be now,only the Football Gods could tell us.But Ram will never know the absolute bitter, terrrible dissapointment of that season,and I think for many of us,that feeling of being built up,to allow ourselves the luxury to believe that at last we were actually going to win something, only to be then let down when it mattered, just about sums up what being a Newcastle United supporter is all about !.

  • magpiefifer

    Sorry Ian, but I cannot agree with your comments.
    There are many on here who do see that Rafa isn’t perfect, and are not afraid to say so.
    However, when it comes to Ashley – how can anyone blame the negativity on loyal fans who have had to suffer the utter contempt that our club owner has thrown at us!?
    I have been a Toon supporter for 65 years and have been through so many ups and downs – mostly downs! – but I have never felt as depressed and negative about NUFC as I have in Ashley’s ‘reign’.
    There isn’t,and never has been, a connection with the fans, and he has no respect for the supporters or the city,and now can’t even be bothered attending SJP on a regular basis!
    I (reluctantly) gave up my season ticket a few years ago but try and take in away matches where possible,but the loyalty factor to the club – and Rafa – will keep the ground full.However,relegation, and Rafa walking, would be the turning point for many fans – as well as the end of NUFC in the top flight for a long time.
    So, yes there is much negativity on this site,but in Ashley’s case it is both understandable and justified!