As Newcastle fans, supporting the club takes its toll season after season. I always remember my dad saying that Newcastle United would one day be the death of him.

Following our abysmal run of form in November/December (nine games without a win) I found myself asking the question ‘why is being a Newcastle fan so hard?’

Put simply, being a Newcastle fan has been made infinitely harder under the incoherent, stomach-churning leadership of Mike Ashley. Ashley acquired 100% ownership of the club in July 2007, and it quickly became apparent that he had simply bought the club to increase the profitability of his own retail empire, especially Sports Direct.

Ashley’s drive for personal profit is clear in his use of advertising at St James Park. Not only has he plastered the stadium with S***** D***** branding and dominated over 50% of the advertising space there, in 2011 Ashley also renamed SJP the ‘S***** D***** Arena’.

Ashley’s attitude to club-ownership is also shown by his continued faith in a broken transfer policy which has left fans, players and managers disappointed countless times. Many would be quick to blame Lee Charnley for Newcastle’s transfer woes, however the fact that Rafa Benitez has (on multiple occasions) spoken out to the media about transfer promises made by Mike Ashley directly, and has not once mentioned Charnley, suggests to me that Ashley is the one pulling the strings.

Throughout his time at Newcastle, Ashley has essentially tried to turn us into a ‘selling club’ – buying relatively unknown players on the cheap, mainly from abroad, in the hope of selling them on for a vast profit. Then, more often than not, fans left waiting for any kind of decent replacement (Andy Carroll, Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba to name a few).

Under Ashley, Newcastle fans have experienced a repeating pattern of having their hopes raised, only to later be crushed by empty promises and a total unwillingness to follow through with actions to improve the stature of the club.

This pattern of hopes being lifted by empty promises, only to be crushed by a lack of action, has continued into Rafa Benitez’ time as manager. The appointment of Rafa was, to many, a sign of a turning point in Mike Ashley’s ownership; a huge name in management brought in.

Little did any of us know that it would take just a year for Ashley to backtrack on his promise of investment to make us a real Premier League force once again. The summer preceding our return to the top-flight saw us massively outspent by closest rivals, and our “big-money” signing for the season ahead was Jacob Murphy – a championship-level winger.

So, our hopes were raised with the signing of Rafa Benitez and the promise of investment, only for Ashley to backtrack once we had finally returned to the Premier League where Newcastle United belong.

Ultimately, I believe the constant ups and downs of hopes and expectations at Newcastle under Ashley has manifested itself on the pitch. You can feel an air of anxiety around St James Park as soon as we concede to any team. Newcastle fans can hardly be blamed, as they are very much aware of the lack of investment in the squad under Mike Ashley.

The statistics support this theory; the disparity between home and away form under Rafa Benitez seems to suggest that even he has not been able to remedy the anxiety around St James Park when another team is able to score or outperform us.

This season we are 19th in the Premier League for home form and 12th in the league for away, even in our championship-winning season last year we placed 4th for home form and 1st for away.

That being said, there is the potential for hope in the near future. A good string of results will hopefully be enough to keep us in the Premier League and there then could be a buyer willing to pay Ashley’s asking price.

The club finally having the potential to progress as a real Premier League force – ideally with Rafa at the helm.

As Newcastle fans, it really isn’t all that hard to stick with it, no matter what Mike Ashley throws our way.

Even with arguably the worst owner in football, there is absolutely no better feeling in the world than walking out onto the Gallowgate.

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  • Rich Lawson

    You’ve died Mr Ashley,go to the light.

    • NUFCLX

      I am getting on a bit, if anything happens in the near future I will try and drag him into the light with me.

      • Leazes.

        Could you get a move on.

        • NUFCLX

          I am doing my best but there is only so many snout and cans u can get thru in a day.

        • relaxed

          R.O.T.F.L.M.F.A.O.

        • Peaky Magpie

          🤣😂🤣😂

      • Rich Lawson

        You might have a job on there given his weight,probably better to push him down the stairs !

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I`m sick of hearing about potential. in fact my Dad`s sick of hearing about potential

    • Rich Lawson

      Isn’t it a type of pasta ?

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    First good to see the Blyth flag in the picture them lads been going for years.
    With regard to the transfer window it is hard for us to attract good players partly because we are not in Europe and secondly location . The game has moved on in the last ten years and not many clubs can compete at the top. I’m my opinion Ashley has steadied the ship and without him would have been in a worse position than Sunderland or Boro as quite frankly no one has wanted to buy the club in the last ten years. Also not to sure if Charnley is up to the job to be honest. If anyone does take us over the club is in excellent shape and there while there is going to be more T.V. money it still is not going to be easy. On Sunday leave the protest banners at home bring the good ones and support the team. All good flags welcome.

    • Paul Patterson

      ‘Steadied a ship’ that he has repeatedly crashed since taking on the captaincy.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Take a look at Sunderland the ship is sinking. Under Ashley we got back up first time and he did appoint for what most people think is a good manager but no credit from Paul to Mike for that.

        • Lakeland Mag

          A great manager, whom he has gone on to repeatedly and cynically undermine

          • Paul Patterson

            Every ‘decent’ thing Ashley can be perceived to have done has followed a mistake he has made and then repeated over again.

        • Paul Patterson

          I wouldn’t credit a mugger for hitting an old lady, stealing her purse and then ringing the police after running off . .

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            All Mike does is give thousands of people employment keeps Newcastle solvent. The only robber is Keegan walking out of the club three times under different owners and stealing two million off the club.

          • Paul Patterson

            A court would say otherwise . .

          • Mark Potter

            Which court? You mean the tribunal that found everyone involved, including Keegan, was not entirely truthful? He claimed a load of money, he got a fraction of it. Keegan hardly came out of it smelling of roses, except with those who couldn’t smell anything.

      • Jezza

        Ashley has indeed steadied the ship…..at the bottom of the sea.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      i suppose it`s got FA to do with an owner with no ambition & a club that continues to fight relegation year in year out.
      LUNATIC

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        There are ten or eleven clubs fighting relegation. Boro and Sunderland are down it’s nothing new for Newcastle United. Not so long ago we had seven seasons in the division below at least Ashley got us up first time on both occasions.

        • Lakeland Mag

          Having been responsible for us going down in the first place on both occasions

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            To be fair with players like Owen, Viduka and many other players on eighty thousand pounds a week the first time was not Ashley’s fault but the players .

          • Mark Potter

            And the two managers who couldn’t get them playing, and the goalie who walked out for the money he was offered at Man City, and some bad luck with injuries, and the idiot Barton.

          • Tomb

            Exactly we cant give him credit for getting two quick promotions after being at fault for the relegations in the first place either through bad appointments or a poor transfer policy. Two things he got right were appointing Hughton and Benitez

        • Kneebotherm8

          See what you mean…..Ashley gets us promoted and Benitez gets us relegated…….its obvious who floats your boat…….. Hughton performed a minor miracle getting us promoted after being [email protected] upon by the owner….

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            The fans did not want Hughton as manager they thought he was a joke they hated every manager bar Keegan and Rafa even got rid of Bobby Robson so do not give me that one.

          • Cockneytrev

            Why don’t you [email protected]@k 00f to where your from
            You Ashley hoop licker👅👅

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            At least that is two sentences you can string together instead of the usual one you are improving.

          • Cockneytrev

            Hoop licker👅👅
            Your not even a fan,,just sad mammys boy

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Mother died after a two victory over Chelsea but least she went out on a win.

          • Cockneytrev

            you’ve got me in floods of tears here,,
            you Ashley hoop licker👅👅

          • Kneebotherm8

            Thought Hughton was a joke???…..what a load of bsht you come out with…you’ll be telling me next Pardew was welcomed with open arms after we’d got shot of the joke Hughton…..what planet are you fckn on?

          • Cockneytrev

            He’s a troll,,

          • Kneebotherm8

            He’s a prck…

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Short memories when he was appointed fans were up in arms but nothing new there. Hindsight is a great thing. Just like when the fans got Bobby Robson the sack by walking out at the Wolves game.

          • Kneebotherm8

            The biggest joke was the man who replaced him…totally out of the blue sacking of Hughton by your iconic Ashley.

  • mactoon

    I can’t see how Ashley has steadied the ship given that we have had 2 relegations, are constantly battling against it and have had 10 different managers since 2007. We are still over £120 million in debt and our advertising income has all but been given away free to Sports Direct for the last 10 years.

  • kingfisher

    Surely no one can actually enjoy going to S.J.P. at the minute ? I don’t know how old you are Adam, but if you’ve supported Newcastle like I have for over 50 years, the hope and enjoyment gradually fades and gives way to cynicism, negativity and the utter belief that we will never win or achieve anything in the foreseeable future.

    When you look at the comments on this site, and others, they could have been written 30 years ago, as we always seem to have been in a state of constant turmoil, unrest and abject failure!
    I could think of a few ways to describe the last few seasons, but rest assured that your statement “there is absolutely no better feeling in the world than walking out onto the Gallowgate.” is not among them !

    • Proppaboots

      Good shout Kingfisher…..I only go because it’s what I’ve done for forty years,
      I get very little enjoyment even on the odd time we play well and win.
      Hope and the fear that if I give up my season ticket something may change and after all those years I will miss out on success are the only reason I turn up.
      Atmosphere is poor, team is poor, tactics are negative most of the time and we are happy just to accept a lot of that.
      I hated the summer months years ago with no football…….I love them now.

      • kingfisher

        Spot on boots.Going to S.J.P becomes a habit,and I fully understand why people still keep going because as you say, success may be just around the corner.
        I don’t know what the answer is, because M.A knows that no matter what he puts us through or how much damage he does,people will still turn up ! I suspect if everyone had to pay at the turnstile, the attendance would drop dramatically.

        Lets hope we avoid the drop and we get a buyer at seasons end, then we can all enjoy in the summer, and look forward to better times ahead. After winning the Championship last season and really looking forward to getting some good players in the summer and allowing ourselves to believe that finally we were going to push on,we once again were dissappointed,I hope this summer is different 🤞🤞🤞

      • mactoon

        I stopped going around 5 years ago because I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore, Ashley had shown me he wasn’t going to run Newcastle as a football club, I didn’t like what I saw and I decided I wasn’t going to give him another penny. He turned me from a supporter into an armchair fan.

        • Arty Hume

          The Keegan debacle did it for me and reinforced with the treatment of Shearer, how can we allow this to continue???

          • Mark Potter

            The treatment of Shearer? He made him manager and paid him a load of money to run the club for eight games. He even offered Shearer the role fulltime, despite how poor his record was during those eight games. Shearer chose to walk away, and go back to picking up a load of money with MOTD. Thankfully Chris Hughton stepped up, and showed Shearer how to manage a club.

          • FatParosite

            Yeah that’s what happened… He was NOT offered the job once we were relegated.

      • Arty Hume

        Self flagellation may well be an alternative to home games then???

    • Arty Hume

      Sadly I feel the same way mate, and it could all be so different with a decent owner, however we continually shoot ourselves in the foot by packing the ground out every other week, he thinks we love him……

      • kingfisher

        I said when the takeover was a possibility that we were at one of the most important crossroads in our history.Turn the right way and get an owner who is willing to invest properly in our future, and the outlook would be positive, and something to look forward to ,as opposed to turn the wrong way ( which it looks like we have done) and the takeover falls through and the future doesn’t bear thinking about!
        Is it too much to ask to go to the match every week and have a good time with your mates,family etc etc and actually enjoy the experience?

        When His Great Rotundness finally realizes that all we want is to be entertained and to have a fair crack of the whip and to be able to compete on a level playing field with most of the other Prem teams ,then that is when he will see what a fantastic opportunity he has let slip !

        • FatParosite

          We have made no turn. This was another ruse to titillate disgruntled fans.

  • GToon

    Since Mike Ashley took over our club has not improved in any single way shape or form.

    • Jezza

      Not only has the club not improved, it has got an awful lot worse in every possible way. Our playing squad is the weakest it has been in 40 years. After a run of 16 successive seasons in the Premiership, we have been relegated twice-soon to be three times-in the past 9 years. Our transfer record has remained unbroken for 13 long years. We have not got the transfer spending power of clubs like Brighton, Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Middlesborough, something that would have been unthinkable before Ashley took over. We have gone from a club that paid a world record transfer fee to sign the best player in England to a club that sells all its best players and replaces them with much cheaper and vastly inferior players. Our magnificient stadium has become sullied with huge garish advertising signs for a cheap tat sweatshop empire. 20 years ago we were beating Barcelona in the Champions League now beating Preston North End and Barnsley in the second division is as good as it gets.

      • mactoon

        And we have gone from being everyone’s second favourite team back in the Keegan days to a club people either hate or perceive to have whinging fans who should be grateful for what Ashley has given us.

        • Mark Potter

          Was that a whinge about people saying some fans whinge?

          • mactoon

            No.. an observation ;)

      • Leazes.

        Yet still Ashley has shops on Tyneside that people use.

        • FatParosite

          Worse than that… with all that evidence that Jazza lays out… supposed “fans” still go to the SJP.

      • Arty Hume

        Well said Jezza, in a nutshell!

    • Jezza

      I’ve just thought of the one thing that has actually improved. The ammount of money the club generates for its owner.

      • GToon

        And I wasn’t trying to be funny putting that statement down either. It’s true. I really can’t think of anything that’s got better. The previous owners gave us champions league footy, cup finals, a ground to be proud of, a team to be proud of and some unforgettable football. Apparently Ashley saved us from financial issues. To be honest I didn’t know anything about Newcastle’s finances until Ashley took over. Prior to that the football team took priority.

  • Down Under Mag

    One big thing for me is how much better off would we have been league wise if we had kept all the top players Ashley sold or refused to give equity for in a new contract? And the stupid thing is that we would probably be no worse off financially given the lost revenue from relegations, the fact we’ve wasted so much in terms of transfers and wages looking for that “cheap” replacement to make yet more money on and i’m also fairly sure that had we maintained some resemblance of success that we would be commanding more in terms of sponsor money too (well those that actually PAY that is…). Ashley has actually cost himself money by being such a skinflint and the club is suffering.

    • Tomb

      I think he just likes to show he is in control

  • Tomb

    I dont think its the anxiety at SJP that makes our home form worse than our away form its our style of play which is defend deep and counter attack which is suited to playing away